Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Developer Hints of Legal Action after Repeated City Inaction

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Developer Hints of Legal Action after Repeated City Inaction

Article excerpt

The Oklahoma City Council voted Wednesday to defer for the sixth time a rezoning request for a proposed residential development.

However, the attorney for the developer told the council that "the decision making is over," hinting that legal action would soon be taken in the matter.

The council voted to again address a request to rezone 2700 S. Morgan Road from Agricultural and Planned Unit Development to R-1 Single Family Residential on Feb. 18. A dispute over the exterior building materials to be used on the homes has followed the request since it was first introduced Oct. 1.

The applicant, Vero Investments, is facing the same dispute on another of its proposed developments -- the Marbleleaf addition on NW 150th St.reet. Richard and Vernon McKown are brothers and partners in Vero Investments. Brothers Vernon and Gene McKown own Ideal Homes, which is the builder for the proposed developments.

Neighbors of the proposed addition, many of whom paid more than $200,000 for their homes, appeared at previous council meetings and at Tuesday's meeting to protest Ideal Homes' exterior materials. The residents had requested the developer use brick instead of vinyl siding, which would better blend with the neighborhood. The developer, represented by attorney Dennis Box, said brick would greatly increase the cost of the homes.

The council repeatedly deferred the item with the hope that the parties involved would reach an agreement. Box said his client had offered to work with attorney Eric Groves' clients on a PUD agreement, but as of last Friday, there was still no agreement made. Therefore, Box said his client withdrew the offer and decided to pursue single family zoning.

Though Guy Liebmann, Ward 8 councilman, objected to the fact that the offer for a PUD agreement was withdrawn, the Mayor Kirk Humphreys said there is a time element to be considered in any business dealing.

"After several months, if they don't accept the offer, the offer's gone," he said.

Box stressed the difference between standards and zoning. The proposed development complies with the city's building standards, Box said. The city should instead focus whether or not R-1 zoning would be appropriate for the area.

Council members discussed at length the possibility of changing the city's code to require a better quality of homes throughout the city. Another possibility would be to require a "step down" policy, which would prohibit a new development of significantly lower- priced homes to move in right next to a development of high-priced homes. However, such an ordinance would take several months to develop, council advised. Humphreys questioned whether such an action would result in "more government or less government."

"Most of all, it's a question of exterior building materials," Groves told the council. …

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