By Traci Chapman
The rare occurrence of public participation during a Mustang Board of Education meeting Monday highlighted a possible Oklahoma City rezone issue near a district school site that could cause administrators and residents some concern.
Amber Hopek spoke to board members during that Monday meeting about Canyon Ridge Intermediate School – and specifically about a possible zoning change that could bring to an area adjacent to that school site the chance for construction of an apartment complex, retail commercial use and personal storage units, according to Oklahoma City municipal documents. The Planned Unit Development, slated for the 3000 block of South Sara Road – like Canyon Ridge – also would be located very near the new turnpike extension, records showed.
“I just wanted to bring this to the board’s attention,” Hopek said. “I’m worried this could put children at risk – there’s a playground now where these apartments are planned, which is very close to the school (Canyon Ridge), and besides the increased traffic and people, you just don’t know who’s going to be living in those apartments, if they’re built, in units that would be directly overlooking the school.”
Hopek said she had three children currently attending Mustang schools – two at Riverwood Elementary and one at Canyon Ridge – with two younger children not yet attending classes.
In fact, Superintendent Charles Bradley said, Mustang administrators did have knowledge of the proposed rezoning plan – something he said was unusual in dealing with Oklahoma City. District officials attended a municipal planning commission meeting, which city of Oklahoma City records showed was continued to Dec. 3, after also learning of the requested PUD.
Administrators would continue pursuing the conversation with Oklahoma City officials on the proposal – and a larger issue overall, Bradley said.
“We can’t say we don’t want this, but we can say what we believe the impact could be, particularly with the turnpike coming in,” the superintendent said. “There’s also the entire aspect of this area, which we know is likely going to grow even more and faster now with that turnpike coming in, and bigger question is, what is the plan for west Oklahoma City?”
In the past Oklahoma City officials told Mustang administrators what they would be doing in any particular area after a decision was made, rather than working with the district, Bradley said; he hoped discussions about this particular rezone effort would change that to a different kind of conversation.
“A big chunk of our district lies in west Oklahoma City, and it’s imperative we work together to work out a plan – or at the very least know what that plan is, if any,” he said.
The Hopek discussion came as district officials continued to hint about their own possible plans – for another potential bond issue proposal some administrators speculated could come before voters in 2020. Nothing concrete has yet been discussed in open meetings about that subject.