By Lea Terry
Midwest City Beacon
As the state grows around it, Del City is looking for ways to keep pace without sacrificing its identity. That’s the guiding principle behind the city’s new 20-year comprehensive plan, which has a vision statement of creating “a small town with the heart of a big city.”
The plan, which has been in the works since November 2022, was created with the assistance of Halff and Associates, an architectural and engineering consulting firm with offices across the United States, including Oklahoma. Nathlie Booth, senior planner with Halff and Associates, presented the most recent draft of the plan at Tuesday’s joint meeting of the Del City Planning Commission and the Del City City Council.
Booth described the plan’s approach as less about regulating land use and more about creating a sense of place. Key to this concept is ensuring that future development fits in with the existing neighborhood around it. The plan proposes allowing for more commercial development in neighborhoods, as long as any new businesses fit with the character of the surrounding area. Ideally, neighborhoods would be 90 to 100 percent residential, with maybe a coffee shop on the corner or a daycare for local children, for example.
The plan also designates three special focus areas: Reno Ave., SE 29 and SE 15. Plans for Reno Ave. include transforming Eagle Lake into a family friendly destination.
Suggestions include connecting Eagle Lake and Ray Trent Park, and creating a recreation area which would put Del City on the map while also strengthening surrounding neighborhoods and boosting commercial development in the area. For the area around 29th St., the plan proposes making the most of the vacant property in the area and increasing diversity in housing and including more mixed-use development. As for SE 15th St., the plan would build on the area’s role as the civic center of the city by building a trail system that would connect neighboring parks and link the city to downtown OKC and Lake Stanley Draper. The area is already home to the library and city hall, and by adding approximately 3 miles of trails, Booth said it could become a visionary park system.
Many of the plan’s suggestions are modeled after the successes of other cities around the state and the nation. This includes allowing for more flexibility in residential development, such as AirBnBs and other short-term rentals. Other recommendations include increased focus on festivals and events, as well as more mixed-use development, which combines commercial and residential spaces.
However, the commission pointed out the need for more commercial development, particularly along I-40, which could produce an opportunity to generate more sales tax revenue.
Halff and Associates proposed a two-week review period where the commission could discuss the proposals and formulate any changes or suggestions of their own. Booth said the plan is designed to be flexible and can be adapted to best guide Del City into the future. The joint commission will meet again on Oct. 10 at 6 pm to further discuss the plan.