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Author Topic: Should Tulsa have a City Planning Department?  (Read 6177 times)
pmcalk
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« on: August 05, 2008, 07:23:23 pm »

Before another topic is completely highjacked, I thought I would start this one.  This could have just as easily gone under politics, if the moderators are so inclined to move it.  

What are people's thoughts?  Should the city stick with a metropolitan planning commission, or move to a city one?  What are the pros and cons?
« Last Edit: August 05, 2008, 07:26:51 pm by pmcalk » Logged

 
booWorld
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2008, 08:40:10 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by pmcalk

Before another topic is completely highjacked, I thought I would start this one.  This could have just as easily gone under politics, if the moderators are so inclined to move it.  

What are people's thoughts?  Should the city stick with a metropolitan planning commission, or move to a city one?  What are the pros and cons?



I think Double A did start a topic on this subject in the Politics forum, but anyway, here are a few of my thoughts:

First I have to admit that I'm not very informed about the issue.  In another thread, you mentioned a state law or laws which regulate how commissioners could be appointed, where they could live, the length of their terms, etc.  What is the state law or laws, and what are the parameters?  How much discretion would be left to the City?

I like the suggestions made by Double A about having geographic representation from the various districts of Tulsa.  I think the terms of the commissioners ought to be relatively short.  It might be a good idea to have staggered terms so there would be at least some experienced commissioners serving at any time, but I can also see the benefits of having the slate of commissioners wiped clean and completely replaced all at once if the citizens of Tulsa became particularly disgusted with their behavior.

Also, it might be a good idea to set a limit on the number of consecutive and/or total terms any single commissioner could serve.  

I would like to see most of the commissioners elected by district or appointed by the elected official from each district.  I don't think the mayor should be appointing all of the commissioners.

More importantly, and not get this topic immediately off-track, the City's planning commission should rely on the City's planning department staff, not on INCOG's land planning services.
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booWorld
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2008, 08:50:13 pm »

Never mind about the statute, pmcalk.  I just now found your reply on another thread...


quote:
Originally posted by pmcalk

quote:
Originally posted by booWorld

quote:
Originally posted by pmcalk

Actually, if the city decides to move to a City Planning Commission, state law would require that one person be appointed from each district.  However, the appointments would still be made by the mayor, not city council, and unlike the current set up, those appointments would not need city council approval.  The commissioners would also serve 6 years instead of 3.





Which state law or laws require all of that?  Any why?



Title 11, Section 47-103 sets the make up of any city planning commission for cities with populations over 200,000.
quote:

The city planning commission shall consist of nine (9) members to be appointed by the mayor, if the mayor be an elective officer, otherwise by such officer as the council may designate as the appointing power in the ordinance creating the commission. In a municipality which is divided into wards or other subdivisions for the election of members of the council, one member shall be appointed to the planning commission from each of the wards or subdivisions. All members of the commission shall serve as such without compensation, and the members shall hold no other municipal office, except that one member may be a member of the zoning board of adjustment or appeals. The term of each member shall be six (6) years or until his successor is appointed and qualified; except that when the commission is first appointed, the respective terms of three of the members shall be three (3), four (4) and five (5) years. Members may be removed by the mayor, after a public hearing, for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office. The mayor shall file a written statement of reasons for the removal. Vacancies occurring otherwise than through the expiration of term shall be filled for the unexpired term by the mayor or by the appointing power designated by the council in municipalities in which the mayor is not an elective officer.




I'll be the first to admit I am no expert, but I do believe this would be the section the city would have to abide by.  I don't know the reason why it is required.

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pmcalk
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2008, 09:16:41 pm »

As AA points out in the other thread, Tulsa is a charter city. I simply do not know if that means the city can create it's own structure.  I believe that it would depend upon whether the creation of a zoning board was consider a local matter, or a state one.  Individual zoning decisions are definitely a local matter, being an exercise of local police power.  However, the ability to zone property at all, regardless of any charter, would not be permissible absent a state enabling act.  I also believe that it might require a charter amendment, since our charter is silent as to any planning commission.

Sorry--didn't know there was already a thread started.
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Double A
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2008, 12:31:22 am »

Remember the F & M Bank controversy where the neighbors turned in a valid zoning protest petition only to have a judge throw it out, even though others had previously been validated and enforced and it was an existing state law, ruling that as as a charter city our charter supercedes state law. This led to a charter amendment going on the ballot that was ultimately approved by voters to add a zoning protest petition provision to the charter.

Here's what the Oklahoma Courts of Civil Appeals had to say on the issue of zoning and the charter:

The ruling by the Court of Civil Appeals states that the city's zoning authority arises from its charter, which provides for the adoption of a new ordinance by a simple majority of the council.
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pmcalk
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2008, 10:22:08 am »

As I said, I am no expert.  The fact that the Charter reserves for the city the power to zone may mean you could create the board through a zoning ordinance, as is done with the BOA.  But then our charter says that all appointments to ABCs are by the mayor--the charter takes precedence over ordinances.  So appointments by the city council would require a change in the charter.

My point was simply that being a charter city doesn't mean that the city automatically trumps the state when it comes to planning and zoning.  Like the F&M bank controversy, individual zoning decisions certainly are local matters, and how those decisions are reached are matters of local concern.  But, again, the ability to zone at all is provided through the state's enabling act, and if the state revoked its enabling statute, the city would have no authority to zone, regardless of any charter.  That doesn't mean that, once given that power, the city cannot dictate how it is used.  But even there, the state can sometimes trump the city.  Remember when Councilor Mautino wanted to have BOA decisions go to the City Council, before court?  You may not agree, but the legal opinion at that time was that state law prohibited that.
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PonderInc
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2008, 04:18:29 pm »

I think everyone's hung up on geographical distribution, but that's only a single facet of what's important.

I'm thinking more in terms of representing: architects, landscape designers, neighborhood associations, urban planners, etc.  Why not make the appointments reflect these skillsets?

You could require geographical distribution, and just get a bunch of developers or commercial property managers on the commission.
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Double A
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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2008, 05:32:06 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by PonderInc

I think everyone's hung up on geographical distribution, but that's only a single facet of what's important.

I'm thinking more in terms of representing: architects, landscape designers, neighborhood associations, urban planners, etc.  Why not make the appointments reflect these skillsets?

You could require geographical distribution, and just get a bunch of developers or commercial property managers on the commission.



Geographic distribution is the most important important facet for me, so that there is a defined district that a planning commissioner represents and is accountable for. I see only minimal importance in appointments reflecting skillsets, we have competent city planning dept as well as many other resources already in place for commissioners to draw upon for advice and expertise within those skillsets.   I share your concerns about appointing a bunch of developers, etc. who monopolize the commission(which is pretty much what we have now with INCOG and the TMAPC), that's why I support making these positions elected. I think it would bring more transparency and accountability to the planning process in Tulsa. Then again, I'm that crazy guy who thinks the finalized version of the Comp plan update should go to a public vote for final approval & adoption. That's just Kraaazzzy!
« Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 05:34:09 pm by Double A » Logged

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inteller
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2008, 10:06:12 am »

quote:
Originally posted by PonderInc

I think everyone's hung up on geographical distribution, but that's only a single facet of what's important.

I'm thinking more in terms of representing: architects, landscape designers, neighborhood associations, urban planners, etc.  Why not make the appointments reflect these skillsets?

You could require geographical distribution, and just get a bunch of developers or commercial property managers on the commission.



no, you can require geographic distribution, and also limit certain backgrounds.  Don't sit there and think they have to be mutually exclusive.  each nomineee needs to be vetted against a set of pre determined criteria.  the extreme lack of common sense, cronyism, and incest on TMAPC (sans Liz Wright) screams the need for this.  TMAPC needs to be disbanded, INCOG needs to fade into oblivion, and Tulsa needs to start looking out for itself.  The county can keep TMAPC if they want and move them to the fairgrounds, where they can talk about the handful of unincorporated issues that come before the TMAPC.  Bixby, BA, et al all have their own planning commissions and look out for themselves.  It is time for Tulsa to do the same.  We need to have developers coming before a commission with humility and modesty, not the aire of arrogance and presumption that they do now.

I can support election of these people, though I would want a vote with no party affiliation....kinda like judges.  i could also support appointment from each city councilor if it was divided up by district.  This would make the councilor directly responsible for his component on the commission.  That way if a councilor ran on a strong neighborhoods platform, then appointed a developer crony, voters could vote him out of office.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2008, 10:11:40 am by inteller » Logged
deinstein
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2008, 11:28:08 pm »

Absolutely. No question.

Get an urban planning program at OSU-Tulsa while you're at it.
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AVERAGE JOE
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2008, 11:35:18 am »

quote:
Originally posted by deinstein

Absolutely. No question.

Get an urban planning program at OSU-Tulsa while you're at it.


Anything wrong with the one at OU-Tulsa?
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Double A
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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2008, 08:56:47 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by AVERAGE JOE

quote:
Originally posted by deinstein

Absolutely. No question.

Get an urban planning program at OSU-Tulsa while you're at it.


Anything wrong with the one at OU-Tulsa?



That's what I was wondering, I coulda sworn they have one.[Wink]

There's only one problem I see with the current city planning department and that is da Mare has too much influence and authority over them.
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inteller
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« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2008, 07:11:28 am »

quote:
Originally posted by Double A

quote:
Originally posted by AVERAGE JOE

quote:
Originally posted by deinstein

Absolutely. No question.

Get an urban planning program at OSU-Tulsa while you're at it.


Anything wrong with the one at OU-Tulsa?



That's what I was wondering, I coulda sworn they have one.[Wink]

There's only one problem I see with the current city planning department and that is da Mare has too much influence and authority over them.



all the more reason to go to a city manager form of government.
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Double A
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2008, 06:11:40 pm »

City run zoning spawns questions

A possible third option, the City Attorney's Office says, is a different configuration under the corporate powers enumerated in the city's revised charter.

Looks like I was right about the flexibility we have as a charter city

Who would staff it?

This much is known: Nothing keeps the city from retaining INCOG, which provides planning for all its member cities.


Just like I said before


It provides the equivalent of 9.5 full-time employees to TMAPC.

The Planning Department could also be tapped.

What would it cost?

There is no simple formula to determine this, but the Planning Commission's fiscal year 2008 budget was $842,316, of which the city paid $384,015 and the county paid $458,301.

However, the city and county recoup some of that through application fees, which are split evenly. In 2008, for example, each received $110,312.



TMAPC facts


Established: 1953

Members: 11 — six appointed by the mayor; three appointed by the County Commission; with two ex-officio members, one appointed by the mayor and one appointed by the County Commission chairman, to represent the city and county.

Terms: 3 years

Responsibilities: TMAPC issues zoning recommendations. The City Council or the County Commission has the final say on such issues. The Planning Commission also adopts subdivision regulations that are then certified by either the City Council or the County Commission. The Planning Commission is responsible for adopting the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which then needs the approval of the City Council and the County Commission.

Current composition: Eight of the nine regular members live in Tulsa.


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deinstein
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« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2008, 10:37:15 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by AVERAGE JOE

quote:
Originally posted by deinstein

Absolutely. No question.

Get an urban planning program at OSU-Tulsa while you're at it.


Anything wrong with the one at OU-Tulsa?



That's a landscape architecture program.
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