NORMAN — City council members say work on an ordinance setting guidelines for high-density developments will be put on hold until a “vision” study is completed of Campus Corner, downtown and the corridor that connects them.
The council was set Tuesday to consider a request for a change in land use and rezoning on Campus Corner to allow for a high-density project, but the requests were withdrawn by developers earlier in the day.
The withdrawal came on the heels of an announcement from officials with the Norman Economic Development Coalition that they were placing “on hold” plans to sell property at 710 Asp Ave. to Mark Risser and the B3 Development Group. The purchase of the site was a key element in plans to build a high-rise apartment building at Asp and Buchanan Street.
Norman Economic Development Coalition board members issued a statement that the sale was being delayed “until a well defined vision and comprehensive plan have been developed for the Campus Corner and downtown Norman areas.”
Mayor Cindy Rosenthal lauded the coalition's decision “to embrace an envisioning process” for what residents want Campus Corner and downtown Norman to look like.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren pledged support for the study through OU's Institute for Quality Communities.
“I am in strong agreement with the action taken by the NEDC to encourage a more comprehensive approach to the issue of high-density housing by having a study made of the core corridor area from Campus Corner to Main Street,” Boren said.
Acting on single projects “in an ad hoc fashion” would make it more difficult to create the type of city everyone wants, he said.
Risser's proposal has been on the council's agenda numerous times in the past few months, only to be postponed each time while a committee worked to develop an ordinance that would set guidelines for high-density developments.
Drafting such an ordinance should not be done in a rush, Boren said.
“There are times it is better to be thorough than it is to be hasty,” he said.
Rosenthal said it was time “to take a deep breath” and put the ordinance work aside “while this vision is being developed in a holistic and broad-based effort through the community.”
I am in strong agreement with the action taken by the NEDC to encourage a more comprehensive approach to the issue of high-density housing by having a study made of the core corridor area from Campus Corner to Main Street.”
University of Oklahoma president