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Author Topic: Forest Orchard / Pearl District Corridor  (Read 16775 times)
DTowner
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« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2019, 08:51:42 am »

Note in that layout on the right side it says "Connection to Future Park" where existing homes are. They plan to level several entire blocks to create a massive flood-control pond there. They also have yet another one planned for the blocks east of 75, north of 6th street and West of Peoria. So they want to just keep demolishing everything... It's like "Urban Renewal" in the 60s all over again.

The main Pearl Pond is seemingly necessary for flood mitigation (I haven't seen that report) but the one by the highway is a $20 million project that will slightly reduce chance of flooding for 29 low-value properties and 1 expensive property that could have its own mitigation for far cheaper. The plan is to fund it by selling million dollar water front lots to developers!

Don't worry, it will all make sense when that canal is built down the middle of 6th Street.
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« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2019, 10:30:31 am »

Note in that layout on the right side it says "Connection to Future Park" where existing homes are. They plan to level several entire blocks to create a massive flood-control pond there. They also have yet another one planned for the blocks east of 75, north of 6th street and West of Peoria. So they want to just keep demolishing everything... It's like "Urban Renewal" in the 60s all over again.

The main Pearl Pond is seemingly necessary for flood mitigation (I haven't seen that report) but the one by the highway is a $20 million project that will slightly reduce chance of flooding for 29 low-value properties and 1 expensive property that could have its own mitigation for far cheaper. The plan is to fund it by selling million dollar water front lots to developers!

Is that still the plan?  The Pearl is a much different place than it was when that plan was first developed.  Seems like they should be rethinking the flood control plan for this area.
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TulsaGoldenHurriCAN
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« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2019, 12:37:49 pm »

Is that still the plan?  The Pearl is a much different place than it was when that plan was first developed.  Seems like they should be rethinking the flood control plan for this area.

Yes, it is still on their future plans and on their latest map:
http://www.tulsadevelopmentauthority.org/wp-content/uploads/extra/pearl_map.pdf

The smaller west pond will cost an estimated $20 million so the larger one will likely be ~$40-$50 million because it is close to triple the size and is an an area much more densely filled with houses and will require much more infrastructure and changes.

The canal is wishful thinking but would be neat if done well like the Pearl District association proposed. Realistically, we will likely get a large pond with moderate park amenities. Will lose some priceless Victorian and craftsman style houses, but will also clean up a lot of blight, but will be a huge hit on density in that area unless they build multi units all around it. Those residents need somewhere to live.
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TulsaGoldenHurriCAN
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« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2019, 12:41:54 pm »

From a map, it looks like a there is a lot of open space around each of the five buildings, which could account for the high mowing bill (although the picture accompanying the article does not indicate it was being mowed very often).  That may also explain why the economics of rehabbing the existing buildings won’t work.
 
It wasn’t clear from the article, but was this put out to bid, or did the group negotiating with TDA have an exclusive deal?  If it was just an exclusive for this one group, it is unclear how the TDA can determine it is not economically feasible to redevelopment the existing buildings.  Given the prior use, I can see why it could be very expensive to rehab these buildings into apartments, but the TDA hasn't exactly earned a lot of blanket trust on these matters over the years.


TDA owns the property (purchased from City of Tulsa a few years ago).  They were getting bids from anyone and looks like just Group M and a couple others worked on the bid to help TDA decide.

On the TDA's Pearl Map, it marks most of the Laura Dester site as a flood water retaining zone including 2 buildings. That might be a big part of why it's not feasible. Look for these buildings to be demolished and remain empty for decades until the big east pond is built.
http://www.tulsadevelopmentauthority.org/wp-content/uploads/extra/pearl_map.pdf

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« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2019, 01:09:11 pm »

Anyone know what timeline the city has to make these improvements?  It would seem that these are pretty important for the neighborhood to grow outside of the 6th St corridor and the Central Park development. 

I’d put this pretty high up on the city’s priority list because of its location, existing and planned improvements and ties into the big current push to revitalize 11th/Route 66 and the neighborhoods between downtown and TU.
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TulsaGoldenHurriCAN
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« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2019, 12:38:34 pm »

There's a meeting at City Hall today at 5pm about this plan to use imminent domain to build a pond so they can have high-dollar water-front redevelopment:

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National advocacy group joins 'Save the Pearl' effort to oppose city use of eminent domain for retention pond
A national law firm and advocacy group is in town to urge the city of Tulsa to halt its plan to use eminent domain to build a detention pond in the Pearl District near downtown.

The Institute for Justice’s Chad Reese plans to address the topic with city councilors Wednesday at their regularly scheduled 5 p.m. meeting.

“I just want to share some of the stories that we have heard about the Pearl District, the position of the Institute for Justice on the issue, and why the Save the Pearl coalition feels that eminent domain in the Pearl District is not an appropriate use of the city of Tulsa’s eminent domain power,” he said.


The city was in the process of acquiring 45 properties near VFW Post 577 and the Indian Health Care Center Resource Center on Sixth Street in preparation for construction of the Elm Creek West Pond before the project was put on hold after some affected property owners objected to the city’s use of eminent domain.

Reese is the activism policy manager for the Institute for Justice. He said the Arlington, Virginia-based organization works around the country to protect homeowners whose property is being taken by cities and states for economic development purposes that are not a true public use.

“So our view is that eminent domain should always be a last resort for a true public use,” Reese said. “And it seemed clear from the city’s various planning documents over the years that the real goal of the Elm Creek Basin redevelopment plans and the Pearl District redevelopment plans are to further economic development.

“The view of the Institute for Justice and, in fact, the Oklahoma Supreme Court is that, in the state of Oklahoma, economic redevelopment does not qualify as a true public use.

The Elm Creek Master Plan initially envisioned one large detention pond at Centennial Park on Sixth Street, but the plan was scrapped in favor of three smaller ones.

The city completed construction of the Centennial Park detention pond years ago. In addition to the Elm Creek West Pond, the city has plans to construct Elm Creek East Pond between Seventh and Eighth streets from Quincy to Troost avenues.

City officials say the detention ponds will reduce the flood plain area from 21st Street and Boulder Avenue all the way up to Centennial Park, and then east along Sixth Street to the 800 block of Rockford Avenue.

Mayoral Chief of Staff Jack Blair said Wednesday that the concerns raised by the Institute for Justice and the Save the Pearl coalition reflects a misunderstanding of city processes and the long history of Elm Creek Master Plan.

“The drainage plan was developed in direct response to the devastating floods of the mid-1980s,” Blair said. “We have always tried to realize ancillary benefits from flood control projects, such as in the Mingo Creek basin. Ancillary benefits do not diminish the underlying flood control purpose.”


  Blair noted that the West Pond project was an integral component of the neighborhood-led Sixth Street Infill Plan.

“The Sixth Street Plan, adopted more than 15 years ago, recognized that the risk of flooding is a continuous threat to the health, safety, and property of a large number of Tulsans,” Blair said. “Nevertheless, we continue to evaluate all options, and all eminent domain proceedings have been stopped indefinitely.”

Tara Dawson was among a handful of Pearl District property owners who dropped by Cirque Wednesday morning to grab a red “Save the Pearl” T-shirt and discuss the project with Reese.

Dawson and her husband, John Dawson, own a property the city had initiated condemnation proceedings on.

She said they were not informed by the previous owner of the property that the city had begun the process of purchasing the property.

“All the (city’s) project plans say a tad bit about flood mitigation but a whole lot more about redevelopment and revitalization,” she said. “So our constitutionality of home ownership is in jeopardy here, I feel like.

“They are using this as a guise to use eminent domain where it shouldn’t be used.”

Reese said he is encouraged by the fact that everyone involved seems willing to come to the table to discuss the matter. He would like to see the City Council rescind the condemnation it has approved on the Dawson’s property and reverse their votes on the Elm Creek Basin and Pearl District plans.

His hope, Reese said, is that the city would rethink the plans “in a way that doesn’t require the use of eminent domain.”

He did not rule out possible legal action against the city.

“We are a national law firm that litigates eminent domain all across the country,” Reese said. “So we are prepared, if necessary."
https://www.tulsaworld.com/news/national-advocacy-group-joins-save-the-pearl-effort-to-oppose/article_7fe6fb58-28f6-5db6-902c-7092508fee88.html

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TulsaGoldenHurriCAN
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« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2019, 12:43:46 pm »

Of the 49 properties the new West Pond claims to save from 1 in 200 to 1 in 300 year flood zone, 15 of those properties will be demolished. So that is actually 34 properties that will go from 1 in 200 year zone to 1 in 300 year zone for a cost of $25-$30 million dollars (and that is according to City of Tulsa's own flood map that neither FEMA nor the National Flood Insurance Program maps agree with; a map which has not been updated to consider the newer expanded west pond and expanded drain facilities).

It would be far cheaper to just repair those buildings in a flood event and far far cheaper to build flood mitigation devices to save the most valuable building affected, First National Bank, which has an empty first floor and car garage that might be affected in a worst case scenario.

None of these buildings have any history of flood damage and all have zero claims for flooding and are ineligible for flood insurance as the flood risk is insignificant, less than 300 year chance on any of them.
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DTowner
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« Reply #37 on: December 18, 2019, 04:51:34 pm »

I think this detention pound is of dubious value, but hasn’t it been in the plan for nearly a decade (speaking of plan, what ever happened to that canal down 6th street?)?  Why did everyone wait to get concerned only after the city bought up many of the effected properties?
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DowntownDan
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« Reply #38 on: December 19, 2019, 08:37:55 am »

I remember reading about the pond at least a decade ago, why has it taken so long? It sounds like the biggest pushback was from people who bought houses and invested some money into fixing them up only to be told they were being condemned. I assume they didn't know about the plan. But in general, it seems to me that if eminent domain is involved, you should move quickly. If you tell homeowners that they are going to be condemned and it doesn't happen for 10+ years, what are they supposed to do?They can't move until they get compensated for the structure, they can't sell it if everyone knows its going to be demolished. That type of limbo is hugely unfair. I thought it was a good plan, but you can't sit on something that involves eminent domain for a decade and expect no pushback.
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TulsaGoldenHurriCAN
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« Reply #39 on: December 19, 2019, 09:21:48 am »

I remember reading about the pond at least a decade ago, why has it taken so long? It sounds like the biggest pushback was from people who bought houses and invested some money into fixing them up only to be told they were being condemned. I assume they didn't know about the plan. But in general, it seems to me that if eminent domain is involved, you should move quickly. If you tell homeowners that they are going to be condemned and it doesn't happen for 10+ years, what are they supposed to do?They can't move until they get compensated for the structure, they can't sell it if everyone knows its going to be demolished. That type of limbo is hugely unfair. I thought it was a good plan, but you can't sit on something that involves eminent domain for a decade and expect no pushback.

The plans go back to the 90s, and as you stated that huge delay is a big part of the problem. It is like "de facto" condemnation of the neighborhood. It has been going on so long, the new home buyers had no idea that it was still going on and especially that it was even a likelihood in the foreseeable future.

The biggest legal issue is that the flood benefits from this are dubious and that the city's literature on this project have repeatedly called it an "economic development" project since its inception (which is an unconstitutional reason for eminent domain per the Oklahoma constitution). For years they said they planned to sell the water front lots to big developers to pay for the project. The judge presiding over the imminent domain case is none other than former mayor LaFortune whose administration came up with this plan. Now his nephew is the mayor and he has been completely silent on this whole matter and has ducked out of every counsel meeting or public meeting where it is brought up.

The city and engineers on this project have done some major back peddling in recent months, but the writing seems on the wall for them: long costly legal battle or simple vote to end this plan.

Even if they "win" the eminent domain legal challenge, virtually all remaining home owners will fight against this and make it very difficult for the city. And if it ever ends up being economic in nature (e.g. like the "Central Park Townhomes" at the original pond across the street), that will be grounds for a class-action law suit. So the city can lie all they want and claim it is all about flooding (even though there's a dozen options far cheaper than paying $25-$30 MILLION to benefit just 34 low-value properties), but if their actions ever go against that, and they will if they proceed with the plan, they'll be opening the city to a massive liability.
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« Reply #40 on: December 19, 2019, 09:49:44 am »

And if anyone has the question: What other options does the city have for flood mitigation? The first and most obvious answer is "expand the existing pond":

https://www.google.com/maps/search/pearl+tulsa/@36.1512399,-95.9779196,418m/data=!3m1!1e3

This option was considered but at the cost of several million at the time, it was considered "too expensive" and not beneficial enough when compared to a new pond with many new waterfront properties. When you must legally exclude the benefits of the waterfront properties, and consider the $25-$30 million plus the societal cost of destroying existing structures and kicking families out of their homes with no alternative equivalent housing, the price of expanding the existing pond are far cheaper.

Notice how much flat land there is at the existing pond. If it is redesigned to be like the proposed north pond design, with drastic drop-off around the edge and railing, it would massively increase the available water storage area. The city owns along Highway 75 from 6th to 8th and from Hwy 75 to Peoria. Currently, including the embankments going up to street elevation, the pond only takes up less than half of the total area the city owns. A redesigned pond with sheer edges could potentially double capacity.

The pond is about ready for a facelift anyways as it has been around over a decade and has not been maintained well. The paths are full of debris and the waterfall looks a bit dilapidated due to lack of maintenance. The current design was great for making the paths a nice walk, but the reality of it is that it's created perfect alcoves for homeless to sleep out of sight all along the bottom level and it is usually full of them. A new pond would just double the shore line of available areas. A bigger pond with drastic embankments would reduce those types of areas and would not require doubling of the shore line.
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« Reply #41 on: December 19, 2019, 10:13:04 am »

This image shows the bounds of city property between 6th and 8th and between Hwy 75 and Peoria:


The city actually owns more nearby land, but this shows the area the city can expand the existing pond to without changing other infrastructure outside the bounds of existing roads and paths. Currently the pond and embankment uses just 39.6% of the available land (excluding the Community Center and parking lot).

You could redesign the existing footprint and increase capacity and increase it much more if you utilize 60-80% of the available area. If flooding is the primary concern, and $25-$30 million is the budget, they need to look at redesigning this pond first which would likely save the tax payers millions.
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« Reply #42 on: December 19, 2019, 10:46:01 am »

Compare that to the proposed design for the north west pond and its drastic drop-offs, which allow sidewalks right up to the edge and drastically reduce the required area for the pond vs the current south pond design:


This compares the existing pond size vs the new pond:


The new pond is almost twice the footprint, but less water storage and less flooding mitigation. The hydrologists and engineers should mimic adding the same capacity to the existing pond and see how far they have to push the boundaries.

Then, if absolutely necessary, they could add a smaller detention pond where there are currently empty lots. They could use existing lots they own plus empty lots around there and they would have 80% of the area existing south pond:


Those 2 options are far better than spending $35-$30 million acquiring 45 properties using eminent domain, demolishing 15 structures and building a massive pond that will drastically diminish the available developable land area east of downtown (thus creating almost a "monopoly" of land for the city/developers there).
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« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2019, 06:04:35 pm »

For decades I had always wished I had the money to buy property around where the new pond was to go.  Could have built a nice little streetscape and had the city spend oodles of money to make the landscaping, sidewalks, lighting, and view nice for my development.  Glad I didn't at this point lol. 

Sad thing is how people who bought during this time right where this pond was supposed to eventually go, didn't seem to know about that potentiality. 

I would have been pissed if I had of bought property knowing about the development, and then had that hoped for investment scuttled because of people who were ignorant of what was going on.
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« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2019, 12:27:08 am »

For decades I had always wished I had the money to buy property around where the new pond was to go.  Could have built a nice little streetscape and had the city spend oodles of money to make the landscaping, sidewalks, lighting, and view nice for my development.  Glad I didn't at this point lol. 

Sad thing is how people who bought during this time right where this pond was supposed to eventually go, didn't seem to know about that potentiality. 

I would have been pissed if I had of bought property knowing about the development, and then had that hoped for investment scuttled because of people who were ignorant of what was going on.

That theoretical you are mentioning is not possible because the city plans to condemn and use emminent domain against anyone who won’t sell at their insultingly low offers. Anyone who bought land around there to “develop” after the pond is built has certainly not read the city’s plans. There is no way to buy up properties around the pond footprint because the city plans to buy all of them and the Indian clinic owns the others. After this the coty willl have a virtual monopoly on developable land east of downtown.

But glad that someone is thinking of the poor multi-million-dollar developers! Poor guys will be pissed if this unconstitutional development is stopped! We need more people thinking of the billionaires and politicians. No one considers how their bottom dollar will be affected by all of these greedy middle class homeowners trying to remain in their homes rather than take $50k which won’t even cover the down payment on another equivalent house.
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