Tulsa Zoning: November 2004 Archives

BoA appeals are pricey


Tulsa City Councilor Chris Medlock has started a blog at medblogged.blogspot.com, and he's got comments up about the Whirled's response to Councilor Jim Mautino's proposal about Board of Adjustment appeals, and about the controversial reappointments to the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority.

Medlock is not convinced that Mautino's proposal is the right way to go, but he thinks the Whirled is arrogant for dismissing the reality of problems with the BoA process:

Concerned that change that they didn't initiate might actually occur in our city, the [Whirled editorial] board is actually making the case that the citizens of Tulsa have a fitting appeal option when they feel they have gotten a raw deal from the Tulsa Board of Adjustment. In fact, their exact quote is that "Citizens who are unhappy with Board of Adjustment decisions have a fair and appropriate appeals mechanism available now..."

"Appeals mechanism" is a very pleasant and succinct way to say, "hire an expensive attorney, take out a second mortgage, or if you're lucky get the neighborhood to have a big yard sale and silent auction so that you can cough up the $10,000 to $20,000 it takes to prevent $10,000 to $20,000 of impact to your property value." ...

BoA decisions impact property value -- approving an application may mean that neighboring properties lose value, while denying an application may mean that the applicant's land is worth less. The problem is that the remedy for this loss of value may be as expensive as the loss itself. And if property owners don't appeal a bad decision, because of the expense, the bad decision sets precedent for future decisions which will affect property owners in other parts of town. The cost of an appeal blocks frivolous appeals, but it also blocks appeals that should be heard.

That is the problem that Councilor Mautino is trying to address. If the Whirled editorial board were open-minded, they would look at this proposal and say, "An elected official is bringing this proposal forward. We see problems with the proposal, but there must be some reason, some problem, some grievance that is prompting this proposal. Let's seek to understand what the root problem is, beneath the symptoms, and propose a better way to address it."

Instead, the arrogant out-of-hand rejection of the concerns of the public by the Whirled, the Tulsa Metro Chamber, the Homebuilders Association, and the rest of the Cockroach Caucus, on many local issues, is leading to the public's rejection of the Cockroach Caucus. The public is concluding that this bunch isn't interested in their concerns, that this bunch won't work in a cooperative fashion, and therefore increasingly the public doesn't care what the Cockroach Caucus has to say about an issue.

You don't have to agree -- at least listen and respond with respect.

About this Archive

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

Tulsa Zoning: August 2004 is the previous archive.

Tulsa Zoning: December 2004 is the next archive.

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