"People from Cherry Street, Brookside and Downtown, Whittier Square to the Pearl District are pushing for good urban infill in the core that is pedestrian and transit friendly. The large numbers of citizens who participated in the new Comprehensive Plan also expressed their desire to have pedestrian friendly urban infill in the core. All over the country there has been a growing desire by more and more people to live in vibrant, lively, "urban village" type neighborhoods. You read about it in national magazines and papers, hear about it in the news and on TV, etc. We all know what they are trying to do in the Pearl and how so many are working to bring new pedestrian friendly businesses and life to the 6th street corridor.
How on earth it was that this dental office came in and rather than simply built their office up to the sidewalk with parking behind, instead built a typical suburban development, I don't know. We cherish areas like Brookside and Cherry Street and want to see those areas grow, and to see more of them. Developers like the ones who built the new Gengis Grill there went out of their way to fight to build their development in a pedestrian friendly manner. Yet some still, just don't seem to get it or care?
This dental office example is exactly why imo we need the Form Based codes in at least this tiny area of the city. We have about 200 square miles of area in this city full of suburban style development potential, where it's obvious you can build that way, AND where its wanted. We have some great suburban neighborhoods and areas that we can rightly be proud of. But what we DON'T have are any high quality urban style neighborhoods that we can be proud of and in which those people who want that lifestyle can choose to live. It used to be legal to build urban neighborhoods and areas in Tulsa, but now with minimum parking requirements forced on most areas of the city, mixed use structures (housing above shops or cafe's)illegal (except in downtown) new accessory dwelling units to add density illegal, and so on... it's almost impossible to create good urban living for those who want it in Tulsa. The core neighborhoods and old "main street" type areas are the logical place to begin re-allowing and rebuilding this type of live/work/play pedestrian/transit friendly neighborhoods. If you think its difficult here in the core, it would be far more difficult in other areas of the city. Do we as a city only want to offer suburban style areas and living? Or do we also want to quit losing, and having difficulty attracting, those who want to live an urban lifestlye?
Once a "form" whether it be car oriented or pedestrian oriented gets established, it wants to grow. ONCE its established and IF its made legal. The dental office is again a prime example of how car oriented design wants to encroach into an area that so many wish to see become more, not less, pedestrian friendly. This area once was more pedestrian friendly and was serviced by trolley. The times and "fashion" changed, zoning was changed making the old "main street" type devlopments illegal, and though people are pushing to bring that classic development model back to the core of our city, this tiny, less than 1%, area of the city, without Form Based Codes in place the over 200 square miles of car oriented form will continue to try to over run it and destroy those efforts. Do we want urban living options or not? We can't JUST have downtown within the IDL, and the citizens of Tulsa have said as much.
Look at what QT did in Brookside. The Brookside Plan has been around for a long time. It is even being folded into the new Comprehensive Plan. It too, like these form based codes, expressly wants new structures built up to the sidewalk and it wants to preserve old buildings (especially the historic Streamline Art Deco ones) and wishes to enhance the pedestrian friendly nature of the area. Lots of people and businesses worked long and hard on this plan with plenty of give and take negotiating. But QT basically said "we don't care" what they want, or what the citizens said they wanted in the comprehensive plan, and then they bulldozed older buildings and expanded their car oriented form.
Form Based Codes are thus one proven way of "establishing a beachhead" of urban neighborhood/urban village type development that can then maintain itself and even grow. FINALLY allowing Tulsa the ability to offer that lifestyle option, and not just in a mediocre way but be able to offer superb, high quality, attractive, competitive with our peer cities, urban living."