By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Plans for a multifamily housing development created division among Del City officials last week.
A developer is looking to build three duplexes on three vacant lots on Epperly Dr. near SE 44th St. The applicant last week requested to rezone the property as R-2 Two Family Residential to accommodate the plan.
At the July 5 meeting, the council discussed whether duplexes would fit in the neighborhood as well as concerns about parking and size of the units. The Del Mar Hills addition consists of single-family homes.
Del City denied the request for one of the parcels before approving the other two. All three were decided by a 3-2 vote with Ward 4 Councilman Kyle Gandy casting the tiebreaking vote.
The council denied the request to rezone 4412 Epperly Dr., which is the northernmost lot, while approving requests for 4416 and 4420 Epperly Dr.
Ward 1 Councilman Michael Dean and Mayor Floyd Eason voted against the zoning requests, and Ward 2 Councilwoman Pam Finch and Ward 3 Councilwoman Claudia Browne voted yes on all three.
Gandy said he voted against rezoning the northern most parcel (4412 Epperly Dr.) to provide a buffer between the neighboring property. He believes that parcel should be zoned as single-family residential to match the existing neighborhood.
“The person that lives in the home next to this doesn’t have a choice if they want to live next to a duplex or not,” he said.
The vacant property is located west of the Del City Water Treatment Plant. The property was donated to the city by the Epperly family years ago and was intended to be used for expansion of the water plant. The city scrapped plans for the water plant expansion and recently sold the property.
Prestige Development LLC and SKH Capital LLC purchased the properties in 2022 for a total of $45,500.
The properties were all zoned as Urban Reserve, which is used to restrict land owned by the city until the future uses of the property are established.
Caitlyn Turner, an attorney for the developer, told the council that the R-2 zoning would be consistent with the area. She pointed to an apartment complex located across the street on SE 44th St. and water treatment plant, which is a more intense land use.
Each of the units will be about 1,200-sqaure feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, according to the developer. Turner said each unit will have a two-car garage and two-car driveway.
Turner said the duplexes will be run for “market rate.”
Dean was the most vocal opponent of the zoning request. He argued that the neighborhood has existing covenants that allow for only single-family development. He also raised concerns about an old sewer line that runs through one of the properties.
“I’m not only against this, but I would say that if we were to approve this, we would be jeopardizing the city into a lawsuit because we’d be changing the covenants without the residents’ consent,” Dean said.
Robert Hudgins, a resident who lives near the property, echoed Dean’s concerns about the covenants. He also believed the duplexes would create additional congestion on Epperly Dr., which is an access road off SE 44th St.
Turner said they are only seeking to rezone the property at this time. She said they would address issues with covenants or restrictions later in the process.
The council later voted to approve two of the zoning requests and deny one.
Gandy said he expects the city will rezone 4412 Epperly Dr. as single-family residential in the future.