Tulsa Zoning: May 2004 Archives

Broken Arrow to rezone?


The City of Broken Arrow has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the "analysis/update/modification" of its zoning ordinance. This is a great opportunity for Broken Arrow to address its continued rapid growth in a way that serves the interests of homeowners, business owners, and developers alike.

The current zoning ordinance was passed in 1989 and is described as "Euclidean", which means it follows the pattern set early in the last century by Euclid, Ohio, of defined zones which segregate uses. Broken Arrow has 25 zoning districts, plus the Planned Unit Development overlay. This approach to land use regulation has fallen from favor in recent years, as it discourages the creation of walkable communities, discourages creative mixed-use developments, and typically ignores issues of scale and design which have a greater impact on compatibility between adjoining uses. In short, Euclidean zoning, as typically applied, is a tool that is inadequate to the task of creating livable communities. It "protects" property owners against land uses that pose no real dangers, while allowing land use practices that degrade adjacent property values and quality of life.

There are a number of innovative land use planning firms, like Duany Plater-Zyberk, who specialize in helping cities rewrite their land use regulations to be more effective at achieving each city's desired future. Let's hope some of them go after this contract. Tulsa's leaders should keep a close eye on this.

The RFP includes some interesting background info on Broken Arrow's development. Within its fenceline, BA has nearly as many square miles in Wagoner County as in Tulsa County (51 vs. 53). And the RFP mentions that BA was little more than a small town surrounded by ranches until the Broken Arrow Expressway was built -- an early example of tax dollars subsidizing suburban sprawl.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Zoning category from May 2004.

Tulsa Zoning: April 2004 is the previous archive.

Tulsa Zoning: August 2004 is the next archive.

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