The river project review process that was skipped this time

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I made reference in this week's UTW column to the review process to which "The Channels" proposal (12-mile-long lake, islands in the river, removal of the west bank between 11th and 21st) was subjected last fall, a process that was skipped for the many projects in next Tuesday's sales tax vote that are not in the Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan (ARCMP).

Last fall when The Channels were proposed, officials set up a three-month-long process to study the proposal and consider whether it should be incorporated into the ARCMP. It was described as "an expeditious but rigid technical review."

There were several technical committees examining the impact of The Channels proposal on the ecosystem, including stormwater drainage and endangered species. In the course of the process, many new concerns came to light, issues that might have been lost in a rush to the ballot.

A fifty-member advisory committee would have decided whether to recommend The Channels for incorporation into the ARCMP. Then the matter would have been considered by the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, the Tulsa County Commission, and the Tulsa City Council, as an amendment to the ARCMP and the Comprehensive Plan.

All of these steps had to be completed before the County Commission would submit a tax package for The Channels for voter approval.

INCOG had had a timeline for the review process on its website, but it's long since disappeared. I had transcribed the Channels timeline into an entry, however, so that people could look at the timeline without having to download and open a PDF.

It transpired that the timeline wasn't adequate. Advisory committees wanted questions answered, and the process of answering them took too long to meet the planned November 1 date for a TMAPC public hearing on the project.

Still, it's noteworthy and praiseworthy that there was a formal review process, and the parties involved took it seriously enough to give the process the time it required. I still don't understand why this process was skipped this time around.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 6, 2007 9:04 PM.

A correction regarding the "downtown connector" was the previous entry in this blog.

Fred Perry on the proper use of public money for river development is the next entry in this blog.

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