Edmond Planners Overhaul City Zoning Ordinances

Article excerpt

City of Edmond officials are in the midst of a major undertaking in working to completely overhaul the city's zoning ordinances.

According to a source closely involved in the reworking of Title 22 of Edmond's Municipal Code, one of the primary reasons the city has decided to revisit its zoning ordinances is in response to the tremendous amount of residential and commercial growth that has transpired within the suburb over the past 20 years. Furthermore, because it has been many years since the city updated Title 22, city officials felt it was also important to revisit its ordinances in order to keep up with the changing nature of businesses in today's marketplace.

In an effort to seek a more expert analysis of what the new zoning ordinances should look like, the city hired Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Duncan Associates to draft the updated Title 22 ordinance. The firm is described as one of the nation's leading urban planners, serving 135 public clients in 34 states.

According to company officials, the firm specializes in drafting development regulations and preparing infrastructure financing studies. Most recently, Duncan Associates completed work on drafting principles for Chicago's new zoning ordinance.

Earlier this year, Duncan Associates completed a 248-page comment draft of the updated Title 22 for Edmond planning officials to begin reviewing and making changes.

To seek public input on the proposed zoning changes, Ward 3 Councilman Charles Lamb and the Title 22 Revisions Steering Committee made the Title 22 draft available for public view on the city's Web site on Feb. 9. Lamb explains that the draft is in the midst of a 60-day comment period that will expire April 8.

While officials from both the city manager's and planning department's offices were unavailable to comment on the Title 22 changes, Lamb describes the new Title 22 in a letter on the city's Web site as being a major change from the current Title 22 ordinance in organization and format. He also stresses that the draft is not a final draft, but a public discussion comment draft.

There are some proposed changes in standards, especially in the Site Plan Review where graphics are incorporated to assist in communicating the requirements, says Lamb.

Once the comment period ends on April 8, the steering committee will meet and make changes to the draft based on the comments of the public. Lamb is encouraging all citizens interested in commenting on Title 22 to put them in writing and be as specific as possible.

This will enable the committee to have constructive discussions and will facilitate an understanding of the suggestions and help make the needed amendments, continues Lamb in the letter.

Once final revisions have been made, then a final draft will be made available for at least a 30-day period followed by the process of public hearings and then finally adoption of the ordinance by the city.

Marc Weinmeister, president of CommercialOKC Real Estate who has reviewed the document on behalf of several commercial real estate professionals and submitted his comments to the city's planning staff, praises Lamb's efforts in seeking the public's comment on the zoning changes so those who might be affected can make their voice heard.

There is not any sense that anyone is trying to sneak anything through here, he explains. It is really a confluence of where we are in development. Everyone is talking about what they think is important. …