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Norman City Council rejects high-density housing proposal

Norman City Council members have voted against creating a special planning district to accommodate a developer's plans for a high-rise apartment building near Campus Corner.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Modified: October 24, 2012 at 11:49 pm •  Published: October 25, 2012

To approve Elsey's request would be “putting the horse before the cart,” Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said. “We've got a land-use change suggested with no zoning request accompanying it so we can see what we would be getting. It's like being asked to write a blank check.”

Resident Cheryl Clayton said the mass and size of the building being proposed is out of proportion to its Campus Corner surroundings and would have an adverse effect on traffic, as well as aesthetics.

Elsey said he has built similar high-rise apartment buildings near Kansas State University in Manhattan and Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, and such projects are in demand because of growing student populations.

Rosenthal said Elsey's pictures “don't resemble anything like we talked about” in a series of public meetings held in June on high-density developments. At those meetings, residents looked at designs that incorporated unusual architectural elements and often featured high-rise apartments combined with retail establishments.

Councilman Jim Griffith said he was “excited” about the possibilities of mixed-use, high-density developments but couldn't support giving Elsey's project the go-ahead until guidelines for such projects are in place. He said Elsey could resubmit his project for approval later.

by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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