Time to Shine
With the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission having finally approved the update to the city's comprehensive plan earlier this month, Pearl District Association members are moving ahead with plans to present their form-based codes pilot program to that body as quickly as possible.
PDA board member Jamie Jamieson, who serves as the chairman of the committee who put the plan together, said his group had hoped to have its pilot program before the TMAPC early this year but decided to wait until after the Planning Commission had taken action on the PLANiTULSA document. The form-based codes pilot project -- a means of regulating development to achieve a specific urban form, representing a departure from traditional zoning -- is a natural extension of what the comprehensive plan update espouses, he said, especially with its emphasis on small area plans that will help guide development in specific districts.
"One of the first priorities (of the comprehensive plan update) is the updating of zoning codes, and form-based codes are a clear demonstration of the kind of policies PLANiTULSA is talking about," he said.
Jamieson said District 4 City Councilor Maria Barnes is sponsoring the formed-based codes proposal, adding that PDA officials would be urging the TMAPC to approve the plan quickly. He noted representatives of his neighborhood began seeking permission to implement the program in 2001, though it was not until 2006 that PDA members voted to move forward with the plan. The plan has been in development ever since.
"We think it's our turn in line," he said.
Jamieson said PDA officials, along with representatives of the city's Planning Department and the Indian Nations Council of Governments, were scheduled to present the pilot program to a council committee two weeks ago, and he hoped the plan would earn the approval of the Planning Commission by early fall. It would then need to go before the council for final approval.
The pilot project is part of a larger effort to revitalize the entire near-downtown neighborhood, which is anchored by Centennial Park. Pearl District officials are promoting a plan to build two small lakes in the area as flood-control projects, along with a canal down the middle of 6th St. that would attract pedestrians to a mix of coffee houses, restaurants, bars and retail establishments. The form-based codes project is considered an integral part of that plan, as is the adoption of the PLANiTULSA recommendations.
"The Pearl District is a good example of how a small area plan can work," he said.
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