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August 14, 2018, 08:54:39 pm
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Author Topic: Proposed ordinance - downtown demos and surface parking  (Read 9099 times)
PonderInc
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« on: September 09, 2013, 03:23:21 pm »

For those of you who are excited that Tulsa has finally recognized the value of the built environment downtown (hey, 50 years too late, but still a good thing...) you might want to review and consider supporting a proposed new ordinance that covers downtown demos and surface lots.

Proposed ordinance
http://www.tmapc.org/Documents/Surface%20Parking%20Lot-Demo%20of%20Bldgs%20Ordinance.pdf

And here's a memo that talks about the development/background of the proposed ordinance:
http://www.tmapc.org/Documents/Agendas/Building%20Demolition%20and%20Surface%20Parking.pdf

TMAPC will consider the ordinance on Sept 18th.  After that, it would go to the City Council.
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sgrizzle
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 05:41:00 pm »

City of Tulsa is requesting input as well:
http://www.peakdemocracy.com/portals/121/Forum_355/Issue_1429
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carltonplace
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2013, 02:10:54 pm »

Great idea.
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saintnicster
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2013, 08:07:56 am »

http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/Surface_parking_lot_limits_rejected_by_planning_commission/20130919_11_A11_TheTul627793

Surface parking lot limits rejected by planning commission
Quote
The Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission voted 10-1 Wednesday not to recommend approval of a proposed ordinance change that would restrict new surface parking lots within the Inner Dispersal Loop and put in place new requirements for the demolition of structures within the area.

The item now goes to the City Council for its consideration.

Commissioner Bill Leighty, the lone dissenter, said he wasn't "terribly shocked" by his colleagues' votes.

The Planning Commission repeatedly has "been in denial of the comprehensive plan that we have and refused to listen to engaged citizens who have spent a lot of time trying to help determine the development standards that we want to see in our city going forward," he said.

Planning Director Dawn Warrick told commissioners the proposed change was consistent with the goal of a walkable downtown envisioned in the city's comprehensive development plan and the downtown master plan.

But about a dozen downtown property owners stood to oppose the proposal, saying it amounted to the city's taking of property without compensation, would increase the cost of doing business - or halt it altogether - and was a solution looking for a problem.

"You are imposing handcuffs on people who are doing good," Michael Sager said.

Under the proposal, a property owner wishing to turn downtown land into a surface parking lot would need approval from the Board of Adjustment. Surface parking lots within the IDL, which defines downtown, would be allowed only as an accessory use of the property and would have to be on the same property as the principal use.

At present, a property owner is not required to explain why a structure is being demolished.

The proposed ordinance change would allow demolition when a building is determined to be unsafe or the property owner can show the city that he has a construction permit and zoning approval to replace the demolished structure with a new building.

Otherwise, Board of Adjustment approval would be required before a demolition could take place.

To receive such approval, the property owner would have to show that the structure is of "no viable economic use" and that the owner has made all reasonable efforts to sell or lease the property to turn a profit.

Developer Chris Bumgarner criticized the city for not consulting IDL property owners when creating the proposal.

"Can you imagine if you tried to do something like this, if you tried to take someone's rights in a neighborhood - in a historic neighborhood? You would never hear the end of it," Bumgarner said.

The city sent out nearly 700 notices to IDL property owners and other affected parties informing them of Wednesday's meeting.

City councilors approved a temporary ban on demolishing downtown buildings for surface parking lots last year. The moratorium expired Sept. 1.

City Councilor Blake Ewing told commissioners the council pursued the ordinance change to help create the density and walkability in the city's core called for in the city's comprehensive plan and the Downtown Master Plan.

He reminded downtown property owners that the only right the proposal would take away is the "right to demolish your property without a plan for its future development."

The city, in fact, does have the authority to restrict property uses because the law recognizes that how a property owner uses his land affects his neighbors' land.

"Already in downtown - I hate to break this to the downtown property owners - you are not allowed to build a pig farm in downtown," Ewing said. "You are not allowed to build a refinery in downtown. You are not allowed to do all kinds of things with your property."

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Hoss
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2013, 08:22:35 am »


And Michael Sager crawls out from under his rock....
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2013, 08:56:28 am »

Favorite Quote:
Quote
"Can you imagine if you tried to do something like this, if you tried to take someone's rights in a neighborhood - in a historic neighborhood? You would never hear the end of it," Bumgarner said.

Uh..historic neighborhoods are generally quite strict in what you can and cannot do to your property.
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Townsend
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2013, 09:17:40 am »

Favorite Quote:
Uh..historic neighborhoods are generally quite strict in what you can and cannot do to your property.

It's crazy he's bringing up historic neighborhoods considering the bank at 15th and Utica.
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sgrizzle
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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2013, 09:52:17 am »

Quote
"Can you imagine if you tried to do something like this, if you tried to take someone's rights in a neighborhood - in a historic neighborhood? You would never hear the end of it," Bumgarner said.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIQ1TLvQViY[/youtube]
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swake
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2013, 10:32:10 am »

It's crazy he's bringing up historic neighborhoods considering the bank at 15th and Utica.

Isn't he also responsible for the empty field there at the BA and Utica?
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Townsend
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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2013, 11:06:44 am »

Isn't he also responsible for the empty field there at the BA and Utica?

That is a Field of Bumgarner.  I'm guessing the high-rise that was said to be its future has been put on permanent hold or was never a real plan.
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swake
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2013, 11:56:02 am »

That is a Field of Bumgarner.  I'm guessing the high-rise that was said to be its future has been put on permanent hold or was never a real plan.

It would be interesting (sad) to see how many Parking Lots of Bumgarner there are on the south side of downtown. I would be good money it should be called Bumgarner's Crater. There should be a historical plaque erected for it.
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PonderInc
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2013, 04:46:08 pm »

So after the TMAPC rolled over on this issue, it goes on to the City Council...

The only way that this ordinance has a chance is if downtown property owners and downtown business owners who support it show up in mass. 
 
Right now, you will have the very loud, angry voices of a handful of property owners who will scream about their property rights being ripped away via the existence of zoning.
 
My experience on this issue has been that if you do not own property downtown, specifically a LOT of property downtown, you have no voice and no right to an opinion.  So if we want people to take this issue seriously, it needs to come from downtown businesses and property owners.  And we need to reach out specifically to small businessmen who do not rely on property that is owned by opponents to this ordinance.  I think there are people out there who agree with all or part of the ordinance, but aren't going to risk losing their lease b/c they fear pissing off their landlord/slumlord.
 
So which property owners and downtown business owners out there support this? Where are the other downtown stakeholders who care about preserving what's left of downtown?
 
This really affects the entrepreneurs in the "outlying" areas.  Ask yourself why the Fur Shop/Plan B/Utopia never made it, and the answer is lack of connectivity/synergy with adjacent buildings.  It's too late for that property b/c the damage is done (until someone has the capital to build something new on the adjacent empty lots), but there are still a lot of places where little guys could get a toehold if nobody tears down any more quality buildings.  (Assuming the slumlords would rent them.)
 
The fact that the TMAPC didn't even split the issue and consider the parking by right/exception and landscaping requirements for surface lots separate from the demolition issue, shows how completely inadequate they are.  They are impotent against the forces protecting the status quo.  Even after all these years, I'm amazed at their timidity and inadequacy for Tulsa's needs.
 
At a minimum  they should have considered a baby step: make surface lots a use by exception, structured parking a use by right and require landscaping of surface lots.  The opponents that I've heard have not even touched on this.  They acted like the entire ordinance was the Communist Manifesto, but aside from saying it represented the End of Western Civilization, I didn't hear a single argument about the parts unrelated to demolitions.  They drowned the baby in the bathwater and threw them out the window without even considering any compromise. 

I get really tired of people screaming about their property rights, when zoning exists everywhere.  Demo reviews of historic buildings are quite common.  And they exist in all the great cities that people love and respect and eagerly visit.

Then there's Tulsa. Which never fails to capitulate to the fear that some developer will "walk away" if the slightest thing is asked of them. 

"You better sleep with them all, honey, and give them everything they want, or you'll never get a date to the prom...."
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Conan71
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2013, 09:10:06 pm »

When they quit stacking the deck at Tampax er TAMPAC with lackies friendly to developers and property hoarders speculating on future property values, this trend will finally come to an end.

Tulsa is only 1/2 a step ahead of Sapulpa or Kellyville when it comes to planning and code enforcement.  In some ways, towns like Sapulpa actually do a better job at managing their historic CBD properties.
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2013, 02:50:57 pm »

Really big players have swung this issue away from the public good. This ordinance would have saved Tulsa's oldest firestation from OSU flattening it and leaving a vacant lot...surrounded by other vacant lots.....because they had plans to build on it in the future. Plans that likely will never materialize.

It takes a village mentality to flatten a city.
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onward...through the fog
sgrizzle
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« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2013, 11:20:20 am »

With the DCC in pole position on the "Asphalt Jungle 500" it will be hard to rally any contingent of business owners. One of the poster children of downtown property rehab, Libby Auld, was reportedly one of the people against is. Not sure who else.

City council should continue the interim until a suitable solution is available. Here are some options:
1. Set stadium trust assessment rates to be based on the highest square footage of the property in the last 5 years. This way tearing down the building nets no savings for 5 years.
2. Set the stadium trust assessment rate for surface parking to be 10x sqft of surface parking Where surface parking is primary use on that lot.
3. Any buildings that are contributing assets to a historical district (which covers a large part of Boston and Main for example) must have their demolition permit approved by City council.
4. TMAPC term limits
5. Replace TMAPC with TPC
6. Explain to TMAPC/TPC board members that their job is to review and approve the planning decisions made by the staff of their representative municipalities. To contradict what the Tulsa Planning department proposes regularly and often suggests that either the planning department or TMAPC has no idea what they're doing. I've met the people from the planning department, and they aren't idiots.
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