Code Vote Postponed. The long-awaited approval of Tulsa's first form-based code was delayed again on Feb. 16 when members of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission voted to postpone their vote on the issue until their March 2 meeting, giving the commission staff time to address some minor problems in the plan's language.
"We had some things that came up, and our staff recommended to us that we delay the vote on this until we get those minor technicalities cleared up so we can send something on to the City Council that's clear and concise," TMAPC Chairman Bill Leighty said.
Duane Cuthbertson, the Board of Adjustment planner for the city and county of Tulsa, said Commissioner Michelle Cantrell had identified a couple of elements in the plan she wanted to see clarified before the commission took a vote. He described those proposed changes as procedural and said the public hearing portion of the process has been closed, meaning there likely won't be much debate on the plan before commissioners vote on it next month.
At that meeting, commissioners will vote on the form-based code for the Pearl District, a neighborhood bordering the eastern edge of downtown that residents are hoping to reinvent as a walkable, sustainable community. The code itself differs from traditional zoning in that it does not rely on a separation of uses for its organization principle, Cuthbertson has said. Instead, it uses physical form to foster predictable built results and a high-quality public realm.
Commissioners also would vote on a regulating plan that would apply the code to a small portion of the Pearl District that includes mostly Oaklawn Cemetery, the Village at Central Park housing development and Central Park.
"The code is the requirements themselves and the frontages we want to see," said Jamie Jamieson, who chaired the Pearl District Association committee that helped put the plan together. "The regulating plan applies that code to a specific geographical area. Without the regulating plan, (the code) won't apply to anywhere."
If those changes are approved by the commission on March 2, a regulating plan applying the form-based code to the whole of the Pearl District would be brought up for a vote later, Cuthbertson said. That move is likely to be more contentious, Jameson said, indicating that he expects that representatives of Hillcrest Medical Center at 1120 S. Utica Ave. on the border of the Pearl District will seek an exemption from the broader regulating plan -- something the neighborhood association will resist, he said.
"We see no reason to exclude any entity," he said.
Cuthbertson said he didn't know when that vote on the broader regulating plan might take place, although it won't come on March 2.
"It'll have to come after we get the code in place," he said. "We have to get the initial area effective, and all of this is subject to (city) council approval. I don't want to be presumptuous and assume they're going to adopt it."
Parks Recommendations Forthcoming. A group of five citizens committees charged with examining various areas of operations for Tulsa Parks has finished its work and issued a series of recommendations that likely will be presented by the third week in March, according to park director Lucy Dolman.
She said city officials have taken the recommendations from the committees -- which examined such areas as trails, finance, marketing, facilities and programs -- and are compiling them in a formal document. When that process is completed, those findings will be presented to the Park Board, she said.
Dolman declined to describe the nature of any of the recommendations, though she said there weren't really any surprises. She said she hopes the document is finished and presented to the Park Board by March 21 so that the momentum of the process is not stalled.
"I think everybody who was involved is interested in continuing to meet on a regular basis until we get this wrapped up," she said.
The five committees likely would be combined into one committee that would oversee the completion of the process, she said.
New Community Center. A groundbreaking ceremony for a new community center in west Tulsa will be held at 2pm on Monday, Feb. 28.
The event will be held at 5610 S. 41st West Avenue. The planned $7 million community center, an undertaking of the nonprofit Greater Cornerstone Community Development Project, will feature a number of services badly needed in the struggling district, according to the Rev. Willard Jones, executive director of the organization. Such groups as Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Goodwill Industries, Campfire USA, the state Department of Human Services, Family and Children's Services, A Pocket Full of Hope, the Association Centers for Therapy and an Oklahoma State University Bedlam Clinic will operate out of the facility, he said.
Supporters of the project raised the entire $7 million to fund its construction and endowment over the past few years, completing their work in late November.
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