Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commission Eyes Zoning Plan Changes for Tulsa's Pearl District

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commission Eyes Zoning Plan Changes for Tulsa's Pearl District

Article excerpt

The Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission may implement an alternative approach to the controversial form-based codes experiment in north Tulsa's Pearl District.

The current plan, which brought a vocal mix of support and protest from 24 presenters during the commission's April 4 meeting, would take a half-mile square neighborhood just east of downtown and replace its traditional zoning procedures with new codes supporting more pedestrian friendly neighborhoods.

Although existing properties would be protected, many business owners have questioned the change, fearing any subsequent improvements to nonconforming properties would face cost- prohibitive problems meeting the new code. They also hold reservations about potential restrictions placed on parking in the codes' focus on street-front activity.

Rather than debating and possibly approving or killing the existing plan during Wednesday's scheduled 1:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall, the commission's staff has asked the panel to consider a revised regulating plan it prepared for this zoning experiment, along with recommendations to address nonconformities, optional code and a transition period.

That would require the commission to postpone making a final decision Wednesday until its July 11 meeting, the staff said in a note attached to the meeting agenda.

The staff also proposed the panel schedule two more public information meetings to explain the revised regulatory plan. The meetings could be held as early as June 12 and 18, according to the note. The staff proposed the meetings be held at the Central Center in Centennial Park, which neighbors the proposed code zone.

The planning commission requested the staff analysis during its May 16 work session.

From that meeting, staff discerned that, although a commission consensus supported form-based codes in principle, the proposed regulating plan "seemed un-approvable" in its present form, according to the agenda note. …

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