Urban Tulsa Weekly: January 2011 Archives

Thanks to Urban Tulsa Weekly staff for their kind words in naming me once again to the paper's annual "Hot 100" list. I'm pleased, too, to see great Tulsans like restaurant entrepreneur Blake Ewing, developer/urbanist Jamie Jamieson, and architect Shelby Navarro on the list. Tulsa city planner Theron Warlick is the second name on the list, a well-deserved honor for his hard work and leadership with PLANiTULSA (which has its own spot on the list). Theron would make a great city planning director, don't you think?

Speaking of the city planning director position and the development of a new zoning code consistent with the PLANiTULSA comprehensive land use plan, UTW's Mike Easterling has a story about the disagreement at City Hall over how to fund these needs.The mayor wants to use one-time money, the Council wants a stable funding source to pay for a permanent position.

Also in the current issue, soon-to-be-former planning commissioner Elizabeth Wright talked to Mike Easterling about her term on the TMAPC, possibilities for the future and why she thinks she rubbed some people the wrong way:

As for the perception that she had become a bit of a lightning rod for controversy as a planning commissioner -- a job not generally regarded as a high-profile position in local political circles -- Wright acknowledged that her style may have ruffled some feathers.

"If anything, I'm more blunt than anything else ... I think there are times that we come across as being rude, and we're not trying to be rude," she said, recalling a Planning Commission case in which a developer appearing before that body became upset with her because of her questions over the project's lighting. Wright said she regards asking such questions as part of her job and said many developers simply aren't used to having to go into such detail.

"There were some developers that were accustomed to doing business the way it had always been done," she said. "They were used to not having someone question what they were doing or saying, and not putting together the pieces to what they were doing....

"Things don't have to be done the same old way every time," she said, explaining that storm water runoff on development projects -- and its impact on surrounding properties -- is one such issue that has been ignored or neglected by the TMAPC for far too long.

"The Planning Commission should stand up and be responsible and quit passing the buck," she said.

Wright's willingness to speak up on such issues is a big part of what has earned her the resentment of some members of the development community. To an extent, she regards that as a natural product of the changing atmosphere in Tulsa.

"We're in a shift, so, yes, it's going to be abrasive," she said. "When you're going through times of change, some people want it, some people don't, and there are going to be clashes."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Urban Tulsa Weekly category from January 2011.

Urban Tulsa Weekly: January 2010 is the previous archive.

Urban Tulsa Weekly: June 2011 is the next archive.

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