More Pearl. A Feb. 6 public forum will be held to discuss a newly revised plan to implement a form-based code to guide future development in the Pearl District.
The slimmed down plan will be presented at 6pm at 650 S. Peoria Ave. in the conference room of the Family and Children's Services building.
Small Plan Pain. Call it Round One.
While not as bruising as a boxing match, there were plenty of disagreements aired at a Jan. 22 public meeting focused on the draft of a small-area plan for the West Highlands/Tulsa Hills neighborhood.
Another meeting is scheduled for this month, but had not yet been announced at press time.
The small-area planning process is designed to let citizens work with city planners to devise guidelines for future development. For the West Highlands/Tulsa Hills neighborhood, the process began early last year.
But some questioned the preliminary plan details presented by planners at the meeting.
"I'm wondering if you guys listened to anything that we've said for the last year," said Kay Price.
About 35 people attended the meeting held at the Zarrow Regional Library, with the plan focused on the area bounded by West 61st Street and West 91st Street, as well as South 33rd West Avenue to the west and a portion of Elwood Avenue to the east.
Some of the residents in attendance, like Price, in recent weeks have voiced strong objections to the Tulsa City Council about a proposal to build a large apartment complex near the northeast corner West 71st Street and South Union Avenue.
Citizens have cited concerns about crime and traffic, as well as a desire to keep a rural feel to portions of the neighborhood.
Councilors voted in December to table the developer's proposal until the completion of the small-area plan for the neighborhood. They voted despite the developer, Arkansas-based Lindsey Management, earlier winning unanimous approval from the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, an advisory body.
"All I see is a push for more multifamily" housing, Price told Steve Sherman, the city planner who led the Zarrow library meeting.
The draft language in the plan actually notes neighborhood opposition to more apartments, but what upset Price was a reference by Sherman to "balancing" West Highlands/Tulsa Hills with the PlaniTulsa comprehensive plan for the city.
PlaniTulsa generally calls for a future where Tulsa has "a broader range of apartments and condominiums in downtown, along corridors, and in new neighborhoods and centers."
"I thought this was West Tulsa, Tulsa Hills' vision, not PlaniTulsa's vision. ... Which one is it, is it our plan or is it PlaniTulsa's plan?" Price said.
Sherman replied that he would work to adjust the language of the document to address her concerns, but it was just one complaint about the process voiced by some in the room.
"I've been in that neighborhood for 15 years. It's a close-knit neighborhood, I know all my neighbors. Nobody knows what's going on here," said Jerry McCoy, a resident who lives in the northeast part of the area potentially affected by the plan.
Sherman explained that there was no money to pay for mass mailings to notify residents of the planning process. Instead volunteers and public notices have helped get the word out about community meetings.
Seated at the back of the room were two men in suits, representing Lindsey Management.
Kim Fugitt, the project architect, confirmed in an interview after the meeting that the developer plans on continuing to pursue construction of an apartment complex at the site near West 71st Street and South Union Avenue.
Bridenstine: Back Off Debt Ceiling. Tulsa's new congressman, U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, voted no on a recent bill to raise the nation's debt ceiling through May 19. The measure, which passed with bipartisan support, enables the United States to pay its bills for the next few months, contingent on both houses of Congress passing a budget.
Bridenstine said in a press release that he voted no in part because the measure does not require any spending cuts and puts no requirements on what the budget Congress is to pass must look like.
More concerning for Bridenstine, however, is the fact that the measure essentially leave the country without a debt limit for the next few months. "A suspension of the debt ceiling is more alarming than an increase. The bill as presented leaves no statutory limit on federal debt," he said, adding that the Obama administration could conceivably take advantage of the situation.
Bridenstine also made waves recently when he voted against funding to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. This prompted John Olson, Bridenstine's 2012 opponent, to write an open letter repudiating the vote to N.J. Governor Chris Christie, which UTW published Jan. 17.
Invitation to Gun Manufacturer. When New York passed a strict gun control law this month, Okla. Rep. Dan Kirby had an idea.
"I was just reading about the backlash from an Ilion, N.Y., Remington gun factory," he said in a press release. "I wanted to get the word out that many Oklahoma lawmakers would welcome gun manufacturing jobs in our state and would like an opportunity to talk to Remington about our incentive programs and friendly business climate."
Kirby, whose district includes part of east Tulsa, views an invitation to gun manufacturing as a potential boon for business. "Support for Second Amendment rights is bipartisan and overwhelming," he said. "Really, I think most Oklahomans would be proud to welcome gun manufacturers to the state."
Women and Drug Court. In 1996, Tulsa County began operating a drug court to handle cases related to some drug crimes. Four years later, the county added a similar DUI court focused on the crime of driving under the influence.
The goal with each is to provide "court-supervised, comprehensive treatment for nonviolent offenders," according to a study done by Oklahoma State University researchers who recently examined the role of gender in these types of programs.
OSU Associate Professor Bin Liang and Assistant Professor Michael A. Long had their study, "Testing the Gender Effect in Drug and Alcohol Treatment: Women's Participation in Tulsa County Drug and DUI Programs," published last month in the Journal of Drug Issues.
The researchers concluded that while too few women participate in DUI court to draw many conclusions, differences related to gender could be found in those who participate in drug court.
Women in drug court tend to be older, unemployed, and divorced, the researchers found. Compared to men they are more likely to have children, the study notes.
This could lead to some changes in treatment, the researchers conclude.
"As the data show, women in drug court are more likely to be divorced and have more children than their male counterparts, which translates to more familial duties for them as well as a need for treatment that focuses on the needs of themselves and their children," the study states.
Researchers also found that almost all the women in drug court had health problems, so "substance abuse treatment should, where possible, not only assist women in getting off drugs but also help them with their other health problems," the authors wrote, adding that "women's treatment programs could focus more heavily on psychiatric counseling and explaining the process of getting low-cost prescriptions for medications that treat mental health problems."
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