Tulsa Zoning: November 2005 Archives

Today the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (TMAPC) is to consider recommending to the City Council the adoption of the 6th Street Infill Plan as part of the Comprehensive Plan. The TMAPC meets in the City Council chamber at 1:30 p.m. today.

The 6th Street Task Force has been working on this plan for over five years, and they're looking for support today. Prominent zoning attorney Charles Norman is leading a last-minute effort, just discovered on Tuesday, to get the TMAPC to delay approving the plan. If you can be at the meeting and speak in support of approving the neighborhood task force's efforts, it would be a big help. Here's an action alert about the meeting from TulsaNow president Rebecca Bryant. TulsaNow's website also has a 10 MB PDF version of the 84-page 6th Street Infill Plan available for download.

The task force brought together residents, business owners, and other neighborhood leaders to create a vision for how the area should redevelop. Here's the group's vision statement:

To reinvent the art of city life in Tulsa. To develop from the grass-roots an urban neighborhood that is diverse, intriguing and charming; that adapts to the new realities of the 21st Century and has the character, humanity and convenience of the best, traditional cities; that offers a radical and attractive alternative to suburban living; where it is possible to work, play and shop without recourse to a car; where neighbors work to foster good schools and safe, attractive streets and civic spaces; and where a vibrant, civic environment is matched by enlightened public policies. To do all this before it is too late.

That's the sort of neighborhood I had in mind when I wrote, in my Urban Tulsa Weekly column on walkability and disability:

Most of Tulsa is designed for the private automobile, but there ought to be at least a part of our city where those who can’t drive, those who’d rather not drive, and those who’d like to get by with just one car can still lead an independent existence. At least one section of our city ought to be truly urban.

The first infill plan adopted was for Brookside (subject of my Urban Tulsa Weekly column a few weeks ago). Brookside was already attracting interest for infill development long before its infill task force was convened. The 6th Street corridor is a very different neighborhood. It is bounded by expressways on the north and west and split by the MKT railroad tracks. My great-grandmother lived at 1202 E. 1st St. in the 1940s; Paul Harvey grew up on 5th Place in the 1910s and 1920s. Some of the once-residential area near the expressways has redeveloped as light industrial, and along the railroad tracks it's been industrial for much longer, but some of those older sites are now vacant. There are stormwater flooding problems -- Elm Creek is one of the last creek basins in the city that hasn't had any improvements.

There are plenty of positive developments. The Village at Central Park -- the neotraditional townhouse development west of Peoria on 8th -- is coming along nicely. There will soon be a new senior citizen center in Centennial Park, next to a new, beautifully landscaped lake, which will help the stormwater problem. A 75-year-old apartment building has been converted into a boutique hotel called the Hotel Savoy. Family and Children's Services has a beautiful new red brick central office building right next to the Village at Central Park. The American Lung Association of Oklahoma is in the process of restoring the Fire Alarm Building -- an art deco gem -- for their headquarters. (You can see restoration photos here.)

These pioneers, along with homeowners, small businessmen, churches, and other institutions in the area are hoping for high-quality redevelopment that will create a walkable neighborhood.

Mr. Norman, I am told, is representing the Indian Health Center at 6th and Peoria. They want to close a street west of their property, and for that reason they want to delay approval of the plan; the task force report favors maintaining the street grid.

I hope the TMAPC will ignore the last-minute attempt to derail this five-year effort. If you care about quality redevelopment in Tulsa's core, I hope you'll be there in support of the plan.

UPDATE: The plan was approved unanimously. Tulsa Topics was on the scene, and Bobby has a summary.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Zoning category from November 2005.

Tulsa Zoning: October 2005 is the previous archive.

Tulsa Zoning: December 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]