Who's anti-development?


One of the baseless charges tossed at Tulsa City Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock during last year's recall attempt was that the two were anti-growth and anti-development. The reality is that both are boosters of quality new development in the two underdeveloped sections of the city that they represent -- far east and west Tulsa respectively. What has put them at odds with the development lobby is that Medlock and Mautino believe the City ought to prioritize its resources and infrastructure to encourage new development within Tulsa's city limits.

Both councilors have worked with developers to encourage and facilitate new developments in their districts. Medlock helped shepherd Tulsa Hills, a major retail development at 71st and US 75. Mautino has worked with developers interested in the I-44 corridor for mixed use projects and other locations around east Tulsa that would be prime locations for new housing.

What Mautino and his constituents don't want is to turn east Tulsa into a dumping ground for all the uses that aren't wanted in other parts of the city or metro area. As a neighborhood activist, he made some enemies by insisting that the concrete batch plant on 11th Street west of 145th abide by the rules for screening and stormwater management. East Tulsa has a dramatic north-south ridge with views of the city to the west and the Verdigris River valley to the east. There are hills and streams and woods, and historic Route 66 runs through the middle of it. The four-mile-long section of I-44 where it is joined with US 412 is the busiest segment of highway in the State of Oklahoma, and with some infrastructure improvements it would be an excellent location for retail.

Unfortunately, the area has been overlooked for most of the 40 years it has been within the city limits of Tulsa. Most areas still do not have water or sewer service, making development even more risky and expensive. Worse, the negative perception of Tulsa Public Schools and East Central High School in particular are deterrents to new housing developments. To my knowledge, the last subdivision built in that part of the city was Indian Hills (legally Rolling Hills IV) in the mid-70s.

Recently, a new 400-home subdivision proposed for the southeast corner 11th and 161st East Avenue fell through apparently because of financial demands made of the developer by the head of the City of Tulsa Public Works Department. The developer was just seeking a sewer connection to make the development feasible. At this point, I am going to hand you off to Tultellitarian, writing at MeeCiteeWurkor's site, who has a detailed summary of the situation, what happened, and who seems to be at fault for losing a development that would have been good for the City of Tulsa and Tulsa Public Schools.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 3, 2006 9:18 PM.

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