By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Several Midwest City residents packed into the Nick Harroz Community Center last week to discuss a proposed residential development on the city’s east side.
The proposed Summerview development would add more than 900 single family houses and apartments on 173 acres between E. Reno Ave. and SE 15th St., just east of Westminster Rd. A total of 364 houses are planned on the west side of the development and 560 apartments on the east portion.
Residents voiced concerns about the residential development including: increased traffic, density of the housing, storm water drainage, impact on schools, and other issues.
The Nov. 16 community meeting was organized by a group of residents that oppose the project. They have been collecting signatures for a protest letter and provided an update on their efforts.
A formal protest requires valid signatures from at least 50 percent of the property owners that live within 300 feet of the development. If the city receives a valid protest, the proposal would need a super majority vote of the city council for approval.
“Now we are just waiting on the developer to turn in those addresses, so we can go to those other homes and gather signatures if the people will sign and turn them in,”said Lori Williams,a resident organizing the opposition.
Mayor Matt Dukes and city council members Españiola Bowen and Rick Favors attended the meeting. Dukes said the group has caught the attention of city leaders. He applauded their civic engagement but said he cannot announce how he or others will vote on the issue when it comes before the council.
“If you’re going to ask questions about how we’re going to vote, I can’t get into that,” Dukes said. “None of us can. But I will tell you, the way you stop this is exactly what you did here – pack the house. When we come in the council chambers and see this, then you have our attention.”
Residents who live near the proposed development became concerned about the property after it was cleared about a year ago. The property owner told city officials they intended to graze cattle on the land. A couple months ago, a developer presented plans for the Summerview development and requested to rezone the property as a planned unit development. The request includes several variances that would allow for smaller lot sizes, smaller yards, shorter setbacks from the street, and alley access for garages with the houses.
As part of the rezoning process, the developer must notify all owners of property within 300 feet of the proposed development before it is presented to the planning commission and city council. City officials said the developer twice failed to notify all required residences and is making a third attempt.
“I don’t know how many chances they get with this. We’re in uncharted territory. It’s never happened before,” Dukes said.
If the developer provides proper notice, the zoning proposal will go before the planning commission on Jan. 4. It would then move on to the city council.
A second community meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Charles Johnson building, 8726 SE 15th St.