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Housing development creates quandary for city council

Byran Funderburgh speaks about his plans to build eight houses near E. Reno Ave. and S. Westminster Rd. during a Midwest City City Council meeting on July 25. Photo by Jeff Harrison

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

A residential developer will have to wait a little longer for an answer on his proposal to build on the city’s east side.

The Midwest City City Council last week tabled a request to replat property on Friendly Rd. that would allow the parcel to be divided into eight buildable lots and one lot used for common area.

Bryan Funderburgh and Sycamore Custom Homes plan to build eight single family homes on the property with another empty lot as a common space.

Councilmembers and city staff were apprehensive about the request due to a recent report that identified capacity issues with the sewer system in the area of the proposed housing development. The city has held off development in the area pending results of the Eastside Sanitary Sewer Study.

“We don’t know to the extent of the impact of the houses, and we also worry about the precedence that what is eight houses could be 200 houses,” said Brandon Bundy, Midwest City director of engineering and construction services.

Don Maisch, city attorney, urged caution in approving any type of development in the area included in the Eastside Sanitary Sewer Study.

Councilmembers questioned if the city could set a limit of approval of eight houses. Maisch said that would set an arbitrary limit that the city would need to follow in the future.

“If these eight houses go through than any other development of eight houses or less would also have to fall within that same rubric,” Maisch said.

He said the city doesn’t have enough information to determine how the proposed development would impact the sewer system.
The council voted 5-1 to table the item which will reappear at the next meeting. Ward 6 Councilman Rick Favors, who represents the area of the proposal, cast the lone no vote.

Ward 3 Councilman Rick Dawkins, who was sworn at the July 25 meeting, abstained from the vote. Dawkins previously served on the planning commission which heard the request last month. He was appointed to replace Megan Bain who resigned in June.

Funderburgh first met with city staff in October. He said the process was delayed multiple times after receiving incorrect information about his application. He was not notified about the sewer study by email in April.

Bundy apologized for the confusion and delays. He said the problems were primarily due to turnover in staff in the community development department. Bundy said the city also eliminated replating in January. He said Funderburgh’s request will still be considered since his application was submitted before the change.

Funderburgh said his application has been pending for some time.

“Here I am midstream from the 10-yard-line trying to finish and I’m getting sucker punched,” he said. “I’m not an attorney, but I feel like if we’re to this point it’s different than if I walk in tomorrow and start a whole new process to put in a subdivision.”

Favors expressed support for the developer. He pointed to the larger Timber Ridge addition, near SE 29th St. and Hiwassee Rd., which is currently being developed.

“This gentleman has done what we asked him to do and could maybe build two houses per year or maybe all eight,” Favors said. “I’d hate to turn down any builder that is going to build quality homes and put people in it.”

Eads expressed sympathy for the delays with the applicant and believed they need to hold off on the item to allow more time to study the issue.

Mayor Matt Dukes said he would have a resolution at the next meeting.

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