Council to consider Bomasada in Brookside

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Thursday night the Tulsa City Council will consider a rezoning application for a block-sized, four-story apartment building at 39th and Rockford, in the area designated as residential in the Brookside Infill Plan, which has been incorporated into the City's Comprehensive Plan.

(This should be a link to the Council's "backup packet" for the Bomasada rezoning, but it's not. This is the second time a link from the Council's online agenda has led to the wrong material on this particular item -- it happened when the zoning request appeared before the Council Urban and Economic Development Committee. We need legislation that gives online public information the same importance as info posted on the bulletin board outside City Hall or in the legal notices in the paper. If the complete information isn't posted, the agenda item can't move ahead.. As it is, it's too easy to conveniently make a mistake and avoid making public info as available as it should be.)

My "op/ed extra" column this week in Urban Tulsa Weekly was about the proposed apartment superblock, which is a test of the Council's willingness to adhere to the Brookside plan and the credibility of all citizen participation in land-use planning, a salient question as we approach citywide planning workshops in September for our new Comprehensive Plan:

Whether you live in Brookside or not, all Tulsa property owners have a stake in the outcome, as it will show whether this City Council will stick with or set aside the development standards that were negotiated by homeowners, business owners, and developers and formally adopted by the city. Consistent application of the rules is the issue at hand....

In conducting in-depth interviews for Tulsa's new comprehensive planning effort, the public opinion research firm Collective Strength found a recurring theme: "Fatalism about lack of zoning and code enforcement and special favors for the wealthy." Approval of this development would only reinforce that well-founded cynicism and would undermine optimism that a new comprehensive plan would be fairly applied to all.

Brookside plan participants put in a great deal of time and effort. To set the product of that effort aside will chill enthusiasm for participating in future planning efforts. If all that negotiation and compromise comes to nothing, if the developer is always going to get his way, why bother?...

The ripples from their decision will extend far beyond Brookside. The new comprehensive planning effort, PLANiTULSA, will have its first public workshops in September.

If the council shows respect for the Brookside planning process by voting down the Bomasada development, it will signal to the public that they can have a positive and long-lasting impact by participating in PLANiTULSA.

If they set the Brookside plan aside for the developers, it will feed public cynicism about public land use planning and discourage participation from the very activists who have the most insight to contribute to the new plan.

Choose wisely, Councilors.

Brookside neighborhood advocate Laura Collins sets out the sound planning case against the Bomasada development. (I've added emphasis here and there.)

TO THE COUNCIL: The Village of Brookside Neighbors immediately surrounding 39th and Rockford, as well as Brooksiders in the area and other citizens of Tulsa who are friends of Brookside and have an interest in the precedent this proposal presents are in support of redevelopment as long as it is appropriate to the individual neighborhood. The Brookside Infill Task Force Redevelopment Restrictions specify the scale, rhythm, height and (width) open space requirements for redevelopment. We welcome Bomasada to present a design of dwelling which is compatible with these guidelines. Some would like to portray us as "anti-progress" or "against development". Nothing could be further from the truth. We have watched the subject property continue to decline under the ownership of Perry Properties and have wondered why the city, if feeling now that it is such a "blight" -- as was described by Roy Johnson and at least two of the TMAPC panelists during the May 21st hearing ----- which lasted nearly 10 hours!

POINTS OF CONCERN AND FACT:

  • The neighborhood infill restriction on height, for example is 35 feet. Bomasada asked for and recieved a variance on height of 48 feet, with a maximum of 49' 4" additional height in order to 'screen A/C units on roof". On the Rockford side, which they claim will be 35 feet, they were granted a setback variance of 16 feet (from the street) and an additional 3' 8" in height -- again for hiding the A/C units on roof. Why such a difference in additional height the two requests? Is the setback measured from the curb or the centerline? This would make the building way too close to the homes across the street. What is the city average or guideline for setbacks? How can a building this mammoth in scale look 'in scale' with the homes near it so close to the street?
  • Additionally, the Brookside Infill Plan clearly states that "monolithic forms that dominate area or disrupt vision should be avoided". This particular design chosen for Brookside is a clear example of everything the task force was attempting to prevent from being placed in Brookside . Again, how can this type of design look as though it is harmoniously 'in scale' with the one story homes across the street from it to the east?

1. Bomasada has numerous design models to choose from.... Our neighborhood association and petition group were not asked which design we felt fit our neighborhood. Bomasada V.P. chose it for us. It does not conform to the Infill Task Force Plan's restrictions on: Density, Scale, Open Space or Height. Most notably, it is a solid 'wall' of construction with very little if any visual break and negative space or green space as seen from the renderings provided us by the developer.

2. The infrastructure will not support this development without improvements. Will the city do this work now / during the development's construction or after the development has been in place? What is the cost to the city?

3. Are sidewalks planned around the perimeter of the property by the developer? Or are we really going to let them off the hook with a nominal waiver fee and make the city do it ten years from now? The neighbors do not want to wait 5-10 years for a sidewalk to be REPLACED.

4. Parking for the apartment -- for guests. At last hearing, they are providing 25-57 guest parking spaces for a 240 one and two bedroom apartments on three heavily traveled streets. Will parking be allowed on 39th or Rockford for guests? We hope not, as it will not be conducive to pedestrian safety.

5. Traffic study was not completed. How can we build without a plan for impact on neighboring streets and residential safety? Children walk to school (Eliot) and catch buses there -- while Rockford is already a busy street when school is open. What precautions will the city take to ensure the safety of neighborhood children? 4-way stops? Traffic signal at 41st and Rockford? Speed humps on Rockford? 39th? More police to catch speeders and stop sign runners?

6. Flood plain and environmental impact. Can we count on the city and the developer to avoid any increased stress on our storm water and sewer systems? Are they separate or combined systems?

7. Pedestrian-friendly access on and off the apartment property for the tenants into the Old Village Shopping Center? If not, why not? These are young professionals you are marketing to. Many of them will no doubt have bicycles and want this amenity.

8. We are generally disappointed with the lack of communication and respect shown us by the developer. Our inputwas really not sought out. There was never a specific meeting held for neighbors within 300 feet of the property by either the developer or the BNA. We therefore had to seek information, call for meetings, canvasse the area alone and in the end, we are portrayed by those in favor of this project (some members of the Brookside business community) as "anti-development" -- which couldn't be farther from the truth.

9. We look forward to redevelopment of this property. It obviously has not been properly maintained by the owner (Perry Properties) and the city was either unaware of the situation or never took any strong stand on enforcing the improvement of the property which the city now refers to as 'blight' at 39th and Rockford.

We have said all along ---- we look for a development from Bomasada that compliments our neighborhood design and is built within the zoning guidelines, taking into account safety and user-friendly priniciples and amenities for both the future enclave tenants and the surrounding homeowners and neighbors. All parties involved in the decision making process --- including our city leaders --- should feel a shared ownership of the neighborhood improvement project and forge a future partnership in goodwill, respect and teamwork ... embracing a shared vision for this amazing and very liveable section of the City of Tulsa.

We ask that our concerns for safety and the quality of life for our neighborhood residents already living in Brookside are remembered as you do the work of deciding to approve or disapprove, and work out the details of this new development positioned in one of Tulsa's most desirable and historic areas.

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3 Comments

Paul said:

"If the complete information isn't posted [online], the agenda item can't move ahead..."

I think that's a great idea, especially for any zoning case which has neighborhood opposition.

On Tuesday, I attended a couple of PLANiTULSA presentations by planner John Fregonese and architect Gary Reddick, who are both from Portland. Reddick emphasized how strong neighborhood groups are in Portland. He said that if a developer shows up with facade elevations at a planning hearing before meeting with the neighbors, then the project was dead meat. If the locals feel as though they've been excluded from the review a proposed development, then the project is doomed -- the Portland planning authorities will not approve it.

Paul Tay said:

People on the EAST side of Rockford will get SHADE from the afternoon sun.

I'd PAY for THAT.

Herb Beattie should have shaken down Bomasada for the dog park. THAT would have been a NO brainer.

jetan said:

This is, of course, total bullshit from "our" city council. Back when the now-defunct Albertson's came in to Brookside over loud neighborhood objections, we attempted to make the point that the apartments now referred to as a neighborhood "blight" were among the only affordable apartments for the lower economic class to be found in midtown Tulsa....one man's blight is another person's home, after all. I live two blocks away from the "blight" and the resident's there cause little problem for anyone.... we are more likely to be troubled by the occasional news anchor crashing his car into our lawns when leaving one of the nightclubs on Peoria.

Brookside has always thrived on a nice mix of small businesses, funky bungalows, and a very, um, eclectic group of inhabitants. All that is, in part, why we rate #74 on the list of America's 400 most walkable locations. We should not be a nauseating blend of overpriced and overwrought condos and trendy fly-by-night eateries. Brookside has made a lot of money for Tulsa over the years....we don't need a pack of developers and their Council poodles to screw the neighborhood up. Once you wreck a neighborhood, it ain't coming back

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 16, 2008 10:27 PM.

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