Mayor calls for river corridor zoning, not an authority

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Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor wants to focus on design regulations for development in the river corridor, not on creation of a new river authority:

"We have this wonderful asset and right now anyone can develop anything on it," she said. "If I want to put a mini-storage warehouse on it, I can."

Taylor has directed the city's Planning Commission to establish a study committee that could recommend the zoning guidelines.

Taylor said the goal of river corridor zoning is to provide compatibility guidelines that enhance commercial development.

"We don't need an authority for private development to occur," she said.

(I assume they mean the city's Planning Division, not Commission. The city doesn't have its own planning commission. That role is filled by the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, and Mayor Taylor doesn't have the power to direct the TMAPC to do anything. Anyway, the city's planners are better suited to developing good design requirements, having already handled the same task on several small-area infill development plans. UPDATE: I've learned that the request was indeed sent to the TMAPC.)

There's a graphic with the story that shows that the City of Tulsa has 17 miles of river frontage out of the 26-mile length of the river in Tulsa County. That's one good reason why the City of Tulsa shouldn't cede authority over commercial development to a County Commission-controlled authority.

Taylor seems support design regulations for the river corridor, but then she doesn't seem to want to fully embrace the idea.

In Tulsa, she said, the process for developing guidelines would include public input on whether the city should have zoning restrictions on the river.

"The citizens have to decide whether we want gas stations on the river," she said.

In late 2005, plans for a Kum & Go convenience store on Riverside Parkway prompted the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission to look at its options as it considers future Arkansas River development cases.

The store's location, with its back facing the riverfront, drew some criticism from elected officials, but there was nothing anyone could do to stop it, control its design or its position in relation to the river.

With this statement she almost seems to be giving herself an out, in case there's some backlash from developers. Wouldn't it be nice if the Mayor actually took the lead and expended some political capital in arguing for the importance of special regulations for development along the river?

You can read my column from last August about the importance of design guidelines for the river and other strategic areas here.

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5 Comments

Paul Tay said:

Mommy's hedging bets.

Anne said:

I sent the city a letter year before last detailing our dismay over the bad planning on the Tulsa side of the river, kumngo, kings, johnnies, robins, and the rest of those box places.

The city could have required that certain standards of design be met. They didn't bother. They went for the quick money.

This is a bit off topic - I was curious if car washes in Tulsa were required to handle the soapy water they create in a certain way? Where does it go?

Bob said:

Paying a visit to the new King's Landing at 96th and South Riverside, or the Kum & Go at 101st and Riverside, you'd have to come away with the impression that the builders/developers didn't realize there was even a River Running Through It.

Both buildings face AWAY from the River. The only parts of the buildings that get a view of the River are the trash containers and electric and gas meters sitting in the back of the buildings. Only the Wine Bar at King's Landing has even a partial view of the River along the North end of their establishment.

The two buildings should be dubbed:

Dumb and Dumber.

These two new facilities are the obvious POSTER BOY for BAD DEVELOPMENT along the river.

Maybe there should be more RESTRICTIVE rules for new commercial/retail development along the River, if the same blockheads that built the two aforementioned wrong-facing facilities try to ever build again along the River.

Anne said:

I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, who WERE those blockheads? It is insulting to those of us who live in this community.

Joe Pester said:

Hey with all of this rain and the Corp of Engineers releasing water from Keystone Dam, it would be a great idea to put more in the middle of the river. Maybe the river will then reroute itself right through Kathy Taylor's office in City Hall. That maybe why they want to move City Hall.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 25, 2007 12:47 PM.

A couple of Jane Jacobs quotes was the previous entry in this blog.

Fairgrounds annexation FAQ: Does the City pay its fair share for use of the county jail? is the next entry in this blog.

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