Moore growing after tornado

Moore American, The (Norman, OK), 2014-08-06


Aug. 06 -- MOORE -- The Moore City Council approved rezoning of 13 acres on Monday to allow for commercial development on the former site of a mobile home park damaged in last year's tornado.

A site north of SW 19th Street and west of S. Telephone Road was home to the Royal Park for mobile homes. After the May 20, 2013 tornado, the mobile home park has closed, and the area is being redeveloped.

Community Development Director Elizabeth Jones reported that, "a unique opportunity exists to provide quality development that will support and compliment the surrounding high density residential developments."

The rezoning is consistent with the Moore Vision 20/20 plan.

Economic Development Director Diedre Ebrey said several potential retailers are interested in the area, including some who would be new to the state. The products range widely form grocery to soft goods. If several of the interested retailers do come to Moore , it will be a significant quality commercial development of 250,000 square feet of retail including two large retailers at around 100,000 square feet each -- about the size of the Target store -- along with some smaller retailers.

Because nothing has been finalized at this point, Ebrey said she could not divulge the names of the interested retailers.

The council also approved a rezoning at Southwest 19th Street east of Santa Fe Avenue from C-2 Neighborhood Commercial District to C-3 General Commercial District to allow for a new Braum's store.

Another zoning change met with controversy, however.

Elite Media Group requested a zoning change for property at Southwest First Street east of Interstate 35 , from R- 3 General Residential District to C-3 General Commercial District .

The applicant wants to put in a billboard sign with an LED changeable face. City staff recommends approval but there were three letters of protest submitted and the planning commission recommended denial in a 6-2 vote.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the city of Moore would have to approve any billboard, city staff reported.

In its recommendation for approval, city staff is looking at the rezoning rather than judging the billboard issue. The area is within the I-35 corridor and is identified as potential commercial property in the city's 20/20 land use plan.

"This area of Old Town is experiencing a long transition from residential to commercial," Jones said.

The proximity of I-35 has been driving that change, she said.

Members of city council said they did not have a problem with the zoning, but were concerned about the sign. Based on city code, it is unlikely that a sign would be allowed in the future, city staff reported.

"Once it's zoned C-3, the billboard goes up and there's no chance for further protest," said Mike Lucas , owner of Garden Ponds Unlimited .

He said the billboard is a Norman business and won't help Moore but would hurt his business.

"I want to thrive in Moore ," he said.

Lucas also owns a residential, rental property nearby.

"I think the billboard lighting up the back yard would make it hard to rent," he said.

Lucas said he has a two-year lease on the property in question and does not understand why there would be a rezoning at this point.

Mayor Glenn Lewis said the city council had to consider the zoning only. The city attorney confirmed a sign would likely not be allowed under current city ordinances.

Council approved the rezoning in a 6 to 1 vote.

In other city business, the council approved a request for a grant administered through the Association for Central Oklahoma Governments for the purchase of two CNG sanitation trucks -- currently Moore sanitation has four CNG trucks.

While a CNG trash truck costs about $31,000 more than a traditional diesel truck, the long-term savings is accumulated on the cost of fuel and impact on the environment.

"We have been successful almost every time," Jones said. "But it is a competitive grant."

Joy Hampton 366-3544 jhampton@ mooreamerican.com

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