POSTED ON JANUARY 23, 2013:
Staying "rural" in Tulsa
Adding trees and landscape design to future multifamily developments may be helpful in keeping a part of southwestern Tulsa distinct from the asphalt and concrete of other parts of the city.
But will that be enough to satisfy the goals of a new small-area plan for the West Highlands/Tulsa Hills neighborhood -- or the area's residents?
Just weeks after an outcry by residents against a proposed apartment complex, city officials on Jan. 17 released a draft of a small-area plan calling for "design solutions that maintain the 'rural' character of the area". Perhaps best known for a large retail corridor constructed about five years ago, the neighborhood's boundaries include West 61st Street and West 91st Street, to the north and south, respectively. South 33rd West Avenue forms a western boundary, while a jagged eastern boundary includes Elwood Avenue.
The "design solutions" called for by the plan include "maintaining tree cover" as well as "maintaining significant amounts of open space, through clustering, land banking, conservation easements, or other strategies."
However, Lindsey Management, the Arkansas-based developer interested in building a large complex northeast of West 71st Street and South Union Avenue, still found resistance from residents even after presenting a design that included extensive tree cover and large "green belt" setbacks from public roads.
Residents expressed concern about traffic and crime should such a large complex be built.
Before the apartment proposal, the city began working with area residents in March to draft the small-area plan, holding a series of public meetings.
The draft plan notes that "perhaps the most frequent statement which came out of public involvement was opposition to any new multifamily construction."
The plan includes some thoughts on how such construction might be made more palatable to the community. It notes that "one product of the visioning effort is a frontage or alternative access road along" U.S. Highway 75, thus drawing "traffic away from Union Avenue, relieving congestion and providing apartment residents direct access" to the highway.
The plan goes on to state that "concentrating multifamily housing" along U.S. Highway 75 would "mitigate traffic and noise issues for those living in the quieter areas further from the highway." Lastly, the plan notes that "smaller scale multifamily, such as townhomes or duplexes, would better integrate into the existing neighborhoods than, for example, monolithic brick structures."
The draft plan is at planitulsa.org/smallareaplans/tulsahills.
Online Ticket Payments Fixed
An online system to pay court tickets now is back up and running.
City spokeswoman Michelle Allen confirmed that the E-Payment system for paying tickets was fixed Jan. 10. It had not been working since mid-September.
The online payment system, first started by the city in 2008, allows people to pay traffic tickets and other fines related to infractions handled by Tulsa Municipal Court.
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