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Author Topic: Neighborhood Conservation Districts - Thoughts?  (Read 21762 times)
booWorld
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« Reply #60 on: March 11, 2008, 04:46:15 pm »

NCDs would serve as restrictive covenants.  I don't think any owner who doesn't want to be included should be forced into a NCD.

Actually, I think unanimous consent would speed passage because it would make the process voluntary and squelch almost all arguments against the ordinance, at least in terms of limiting fairness or property rights.

100% agreement would speed the process of establishing NCDs, also.  If everyone in an area wanted it, then drawing the boundaries and setting the guidelines ought to be quick and simple.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2008, 07:29:18 pm by booWorld » Logged
booWorld
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« Reply #61 on: March 12, 2008, 12:10:12 am »

quote:
Originally posted by PonderInc

quote:
Originally posted by booWorld

Proposed revision to draft:
Change Section 1071 E to:
E.  Initiation of NCD Guidelines and Zoning Map Amendments.
Notwithstanding any contrary provisions of Chapter 17 of this Code, an application for the adoption of NCD Guidelines, and for a zoning map amendment to recognize an NCD, may be initiated only by a petition signed by one hundred percent (100%) of the number of owners of property contained within a proposed NCD.  

This is silly.  So if 299 out of 300 residents vote to implement an NCD, you are suggesting that it should NOT happen?

No matter how good an idea is, it will never be approved unanimously by any diverse, sentient population.  It's a fatuous standard.

In city governement, I can't think of any time that a 100% vote for approval is required.  I am fine with a 60-65% requirement, to prove that a neighborhood truly supports the concept, but 100% is impractical.  (Or is this being suggested as an underhanded way to defeat the implementation of any NCD?)



I had to consult my dictionary before responding (to look up "sentient" and "fatuous").

quote:
So if 299 out of 300 residents vote to implement an NCD, you are suggesting that it should NOT happen?


No, what I'm suggesting is that 299 owners (not residents) ought to be the initiators of the proposal, not the City Council, not TMAPC staff, not the City of Tulsa's Planning Department, not 50% of the residents.  There ought to be a simple process for this to happen with minimal court battles and long public hearings.

Example:

Applicants approach the TMAPC:  "We want to establish a NCD."
TMAPC staff:  "Great.  Here is the standard petition form required to initiate the process.  Draw up your proposed boundaries and NCD Guidelines.  Ask the City's Planning Department to assist, if you wish.  Have all property owners within the proposed NCD sign the petition, and then submit the documentation to the TMAPC."

All property owners agree on the boundaries, which would be incredibly easy to establish by consensus.  All property owners agree on the NCD Guidelines, since the Guidelines would be self-imposed.

This method will get neighbors working together to establish something they themselves want to do with their property.  The methods proposed in the draft ordinance would more likely cause dissension and animosity amongst neighbors.  

quote:
No matter how good an idea is, it will never be approved unanimously by any diverse, sentient population.  It's a fatuous standard.


NCD Guidelines really aren't about diversity.  They are about unity or unifying characteristics.  NCD Guidelines are about minimizing and regulating diversity, at least in terms of buildings.  In a way, NCD Guidelines will serve as substitutes for restrictive covenants.  In a new development, potential buyers can go in with eyes wide open - if they think the covenants for the development are a bad idea, they can look for real estate elsewhere.  Any NCD Guidelines imposed unwillingly on existing property owners would not be fair, while self-imposed Guidelines would be about as fair as fair can be.  There might be someone who will want to argue about any type of zoning change, but if a change is requested by the owners themselves for a more restrictive set of rules, then the request should meet with very little opposition.  I think some neighborhoods are ready to establish NCDs right now.  Owners would be motivated to work very quickly to establish NCDs by unanimous agreement, especially in places threatened with tear-downs and McMansions.  Consensus is an obtainable standard for neighborhoods with truly distinct and unifying characteristics.  

quote:
In city governement, I can't think of any time that a 100% vote for approval is required.  I am fine with a 60-65% requirement, to prove that a neighborhood truly supports the concept, but 100% is impractical.  (Or is this being suggested as an underhanded way to defeat the implementation of any NCD?)



I'm not suggesting a 100% vote of approval.  I'm suggesting that 100% of the owners of a proposed NCD initiate the process.  Read the complaints posted after the Tulsa World articles.  Many or most of the opponents are complaining about another layer of restrictions being placed on property without the consent of the owners.  The World articles have not been fair, and they have not been accurate.  But there is a clear opinion about property rights here, no matter how muddied the "facts" about NCDs have become.  The NCD approval process is outlined in Chapter 17 of the Zoning Code.  I think my proposed revision concerning the initiation of the process will go a long way toward getting some mechanism in place for those neighborhoods which want to conserve their character.  Having the City Council or the TMAPC or 50% of the residents of a neighborhood or the City's Planning Department initiate the NCD process is a bad idea.  The concept of NCDs for older Tulsa neighborhoods has been proposed, kicked around, and tabled for at least a decade.  Making the revision I suggested would speed its acceptance by the City Council because it would put the prime responsibility for NCDs exactly where it ought to be:  with the neighborhoods themselves.

Ponder what I'm suggesting.  I'm talking about a way to facilitate passage of a good level of protection before something better but more time-consuming (such as form based codes) can be adopted.  We can continue to bicker about 299/300 versus 300/300 for another decade, but meanwhile the bulldozers are roaming Midtown....

The argument about private property rights and restrictions is not going away.  Neither is the threat of more incompatible infill.
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Steve
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« Reply #62 on: March 12, 2008, 09:53:17 pm »

From an owner-occupied point of view, when one buys a home in a long-established Tulsa subdivision, they should buy it because they love the history/architecture of the neighborhood.  Investors should also repect the desires of the owner-occupied homes and preserve the overall feel of the neighborhood.

Conservation districts or form-based zoning codes are absolutely necessary to preserve the historic look and feel of established Tulsa subdivisions.  Be it Maple Ridge, Ranch Acres, or Lortondale, Tulsa would have much to lose if developers are given carte blanche to tear down and rebuild.  Much is at stake here, and I agree with Councilor Barnes' efforts for conservation districts.
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booWorld
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« Reply #63 on: March 12, 2008, 10:11:39 pm »

^ Your neighbors really ought to pick up the trash in their yards and along their curbs instead of waiting for you to do it for them.  But they don't.

NCDs could help neighborhoods where property owners want to help themselves.  I think total agreement amongst all property owners should be a requirement for the initiation of any NCD.
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Kiah
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« Reply #64 on: March 13, 2008, 05:54:47 am »

quote:
Originally posted by booWorld

I think total agreement amongst all property owners should be a requirement for the initiation of any NCD.



What about the fact that older neighborhoods (as distinct from newer subdivisions) have passed through several generations and have much less uniform ownership patterns - more family trusts, abstentee owners with rental units, institutional owners, etc.?  It seems that waiting around for a contract to be spontaneously negotiated among a few hundred property owners, in these older neighborhoods, is the functional equivalent of doing nothing.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2008, 05:57:24 am by Kiah » Logged

 
booWorld
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« Reply #65 on: March 13, 2008, 07:07:31 am »

quote:
Originally posted by Kiah

It seems that waiting around for a contract to be spontaneously negotiated among a few hundred property owners, in these older neighborhoods, is the functional equivalent of doing nothing.



I disagree.  Many neighborhoods are primed and ready for this.  The process should be made simple and clear.  Expecting the Planning Commission and INCOG staff to initiate the process will be, in the short term, the functional equivalent of doing nothing.  NCDs aren't a new idea.  It's been shelved by local officials for nearly 10 years.

The rough draft would allow a minimum of 30 property owners to establish a neighborhood CD.  It does not require hundreds of owners.  Personally, I think the threshold ought to be less than 30 so the owners along a street such as 38th just west of Lewis could establish an NCD if they chose to do so.  

Make it a process in which the owners themselves can draw the boundaries and set the guidelines, and be assured that motivated neighborhoods will act quickly.  This needs to be a grassroots zoning overlay process.  The draft ordinance stipulates that the City's Planning Department shall assist neighborhoods with their applications and guidelines.

I'll be proposing some more revisions to the draft to speed the process, not hinder it.  Think about loopholes.  Think about worst case scenarios.  Think about why the opposition hates the proposed ordinance.  Think about a balance of private property rights and community objectives.  Think about development pressures over time.
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akupetsky
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« Reply #66 on: March 13, 2008, 08:04:13 am »

Booworld, while I don't disagree with your sentiments, I don't believe what you are saying is legal.  No rezoning ever requires 100% approval of property owners--whether downzoning, upzoning, even applying hp zoning.  Zoning is a legislative act, and ultimately City Council is the legislative body.  Requiring 100% approval of a group of homeowners would require City Council to abdicate their role as legislator to those homeowners.  I don't think it would meet the "arbitrary" standard.  

Our City Charter sets up the standards for all zoning code protests.  If 20% of the property owners object, a supermajority of the City Council is required.  As you may note, the City Charter doesn't say that 20% absolutely defeats a rezoning, because, again, that would usurp the City Council's legislative role.  But, in practical terms, 20% will stop a rezoning.

To raise that level (from 80 to 100% approval)for any new zoning would probably require a new charter amendment.  That's not to say that one or two vocal opponents can't stop a rezoning, though.
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booWorld
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« Reply #67 on: March 13, 2008, 12:21:04 pm »

^ Assuming that's correct, then I'd like to see a charter amendment to allow for consensus to begin the NCD process.  Notice that I'm not suggesting that it take 100% approval beyond the initial application.  But I do think the creation of any NCD should originate with the actual property owners themselves.  The City Council should not be initiating requests for NCDs.  Neither should the Planning Commission, INCOG staff, nor the City's Planning Department.

The draft has some more problems, but I'll get to those later.

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booWorld
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« Reply #68 on: March 13, 2008, 12:43:33 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by akupetsky

No rezoning ever requires 100% approval of property owners--whether downzoning, upzoning, even applying hp zoning.  Zoning is a legislative act, and ultimately City Council is the legislative body.  Requiring 100% approval of a group of homeowners would require City Council to abdicate their role as legislator to those homeowners.  I don't think it would meet the "arbitrary" standard.



Ideally, for this type of overlay zoning, the request ought to originate from 100% of the property owners.  Some of the most contentious Council meetings revolve around zoning issues.  For repeal of NCDs, I agree with you.  But how would the City Council be abdicating its role as legislator?  NCDs are supposed to be based on what neighborhoods want to do.  They ought to originate with property owners who are motivated enough to set them up.  

A neighborhood could request an NCD, and then the Council could vote against it.  Are you saying that the City Council, by State law or by City Charter, would have to retain the right to establish NCDs?
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Kiah
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« Reply #69 on: March 13, 2008, 04:14:17 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by booWorld

Are you saying that the City Council, by State law or by City Charter, would have to retain the right to establish NCDs?



Ultimately, yes.  The Charter says that the Council is the legislative body of the City of Tulsa -- the only entity empowered to enact ordinances.  Neighborhood conservation districts are simply zoning ordinances.

This Council and all subsequent Councils would retain the right to create NCDs, sua sponte, or repeal and replace the zoning code in its entirety for that matter, with 0% resident consent.  Absent a Charter change, that function and discretion can't be taken away by an ordinance of a previous Council.
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booWorld
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« Reply #70 on: March 13, 2008, 10:13:13 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by Kiah

This Council and all subsequent Councils would retain the right to create NCDs, sua sponte, or repeal and replace the zoning code in its entirety for that matter, with 0% resident consent.  Absent a Charter change, that function and discretion can't be taken away by an ordinance of a previous Council.



I'm not versed in the law, but that makes sense.




Proposed revisions to draft:

Change Section 1071 E to:

E.  Initiation of NCD Guidelines and Zoning Map Amendments.

   1.  NCD Zoning Map Amendments Initiated by Application.
Amendments by application may be initiated in the following manner:

      a. Any person, corporation, partnership, association, or any combination thereof having a legal and equitable interest in or to real property may file an application for an NCD zoning classification on such property in accordance with the provisions of Subsection 1703. A.;

      b. An application shall include, in addition to those items contained in Subsection
1703. A., a statement of the criteria felt to have been met as set forth in this chapter, and may include photographs of the subject area, and any information deemed worthy for proper consideration. Such information and application shall be upon forms established by the City of Tulsa's Planning Department.  The City of Tulsa's Planning Department shall assist applicants with the development of NCD Guidelines.

   2.  NCD Zoning Map Amendments Initiated by City Council.
In any instance, the Planning Commission, at the direction of the City Council, shall hold a public hearing, giving notice thereof, of a proposed NCD zoning map amendment. After holding the public hearing, the Planning Commission shall within 15 days transmit its report and recommendation to the City Council.




Add Section 1071.F.3:

   3.  Planning Commission Action on NCD Zoning Map Amendments.
After notice and public hearing, the Planning Commission shall vote to:

      a. Recommend to the City Council that the application be approved as submitted; or

      b. Recommend to the City Council that the application be denied.

An application recommended for approval shall be transmitted, with the report and recommendation of the Planning Commission, to the City Council within 15 days from the date of the Planning Commission action.

An application recommended for denial, shall not be considered further, unless the applicant within 15 days from the date of the Planning Commission action, files a written request with the City Clerk for a hearing by the City Council. The request for hearing shall be accompanied by the payment of a $15.00 fee.  Upon notice of such request, the Planning Commission shall forthwith transmit the application and its report and recommendation, including all material and minutes, to the City Council.

In the event the Planning Commission arrives at a tie vote, the application shall be transmitted with a report and notation of the tie vote, to the City Council within 15 days from the date of the Planning Commission action.




I don't know how to control indents on these posts, and I've made no attempt to re-arrange the subsections.  But I've done my best to insert the proposed revisions where I think they should be within the ordinance.

The intent is:

- to make the NCD process originate with property owners who actually want to have an NCD;

- to exclude owners of property who do not wish to be included within an NCD;

- to exclude the TMAPC and INCOG staff from the initiation process;

- to keep the process primarily between the City Council and the actual owners of the properties in question;

- to provide planning assistance from the City of Tulsa's Planning Department;

- to exclude the TMAPC and INCOG staff from the formulation of NCD boundaries and Guidelines; and

- to have the TMAPC merely approve or deny applications.

   




« Last Edit: March 13, 2008, 10:18:13 pm by booWorld » Logged
Double A
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« Reply #71 on: March 13, 2008, 10:42:45 pm »

Quote
Originally posted by booWorld

Quote
Originally posted by PonderInc

  I think it ought to be unanimous support.
Quote

Get real. A simple majority is probably to low of a threshold, but allowing one homeowner to negate the wishes of a clear majority of their neighborhood is pure B.S. I think a 2/3 approval requirement of homeowners(those who live in the neighborhood and claim the property as their homestead, not rental property owners) should be the appropriate threshold to meet for neighborhoods to adopt a CD.
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booWorld
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« Reply #72 on: March 13, 2008, 11:33:14 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by Double A

Get real. A simple majority is probably to low of a threshold, but allowing one homeowner to negate the wishes of a clear majority of their neighborhood is pure B.S. I think a 2/3 approval requirement of homeowners(those who live in the neighborhood and claim the property as their homestead, not rental property owners) should be the appropriate threshold to meet for neighborhoods to adopt a CD.



One homeowner could not negate the wishes of his neighbors unless his neighbors' wishes were to restrict the use of that homeowner's property.  My thought process is centered on fairness and an attempt to balance private property rights with neighborhood goals.  The NCD proposal has been shelved for a long time in Tulsa.  The opposition is fueled by the fear that the use of private property will be too restricted by others.  What I'm suggesting is a way to get something in place quickly so people could voluntarily impose restrictions on themselves if they wished to do so.  Currently there is nothing at all short of HP to provide neighborhoods this type of option.    

I'm about as real as it gets, because I've been through a similar re-zoning process in which the usage of my land was severely limited at the request of the TMAPC against my wishes.  These kinds of zoning restrictions can work well for those who are not on the fringes of districts.  But in my case, I'm stuck with extremely low density RS requirements while RM districts 30 feet to the south and 30 feet to the east of my land are allowed approximately 10 or 11 times the density that I'm allowed.  I purchased my property with the knowledge that it was zoned for multi-family, and yes, I did notice that there was a 12-plex across the street.  I was aware that the Comprehensive Plan encouraged multi-family development in my neighborhood, and that there were many apartments within one block of my land, some of which were built in the 1920s.  I was satisfied with the zoning as it was.  The TMAPC and INCOG staff were not.

NCDs will serve the basic purpose as restrictive covenants, so their establishment ought to be by mutual agreement.  There will be administration problems with NCDs, especially those established with 33% to 50% of property owners opposing them in the first place.  The City really can't enforce its codes now.  Complicating the Zoning Code with an additional layer of guidelines imposed on those who don't want them will make the system worse.  It would be better to have NCDs be completely voluntary.

Your suggestion of a homestead requirement is interesting and worthy of serious consideration.  Have you contacted the TMAPC with this idea?

The initiation of NCDs is one issue.  The draft ordinance has some other shortcomings which I intend to address in another post.
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booWorld
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« Reply #73 on: March 16, 2008, 06:49:03 pm »

In today's (March 16th's) Tulsa World, real estate associate Terry Detrich expresses her concerns about Neighborhood Conservation Districts.


"Then we'll get a three-bedroom house with a white picket fence and a gun and a lawyer, so smile!
Gonna get a homeowner's loan;
Gonna get an unlisted phone,
Gonna get away from a town gone insane.
And we'll get a three-bedroom house -- affordable three-bedroom house...
With a great big pit bull on a chain!"
~Laurence O'Keefe
« Last Edit: July 04, 2008, 10:00:46 am by booWorld » Logged
booWorld
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« Reply #74 on: March 29, 2008, 07:41:16 pm »

I heard Maria Barnes on a radio 1170 KFAQ interview with Chris Medlock.  Councilor Barnes said that at least 80% of a neighborhood would have to agree to want to have a Conservation District.

Which draft is current?  The draft ordinance I saw does not require 80% of a neighborhood to agree to want to have a Conservation District.  In the draft I saw, the process could be initiated by 50% of the property owners of a proposed NCD.  The process could be initiated by the TMAPC or by the City Council.  In those cases, it would not require agreement by the neighborhood.
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