Riverview Neighbors:  Two of our neighbors have reached out to the Riverview Neighborhood Association about the City’s proposed Infill Overlay, which has been approved by the Planning Commission and I am advised it will be presented to the City Council on October 20, 2021, at 5:00 p.m.

As background, on the Planning Commission website, I found the “Purpose and Intent” of the proposed new regulations is as follows:  “The Neighborhood Infill Overlay establishes zoning regulations that are intended to promote the development of alternative infill housing in established neighborhoods.  The overlay allows for a variety of residential housing types in a manner that is compatible, in mass and scale, with the character of surrounding properties.  The regulations are also intended to promote housing types that accommodate households of varying sizes and income levels and provide for a more efficient use of residential land.”   The link to the current form of the proposal, I believe, is:  https://tulsaplanning.org/programs/projects/housing/overlay/.

Our neighbor, Cathy Skalla, contacted the Association asking to reach out to neighbors about the Infill Overlay.  In sum, she reports a representative of the Planning Commission has advised her that with enough objections from residents, the City Council will send the proposal back to the Planning Commission for further review and potential revision.  She asked me to provide her bullet point list summarizing her objections: 

Cathy describes her position as follows: 

I recommend that the Overlay not be passed in its current form but be sent back to the Planning Commission for further review and revision with active input from residents based on these concerns:

  • Only one parking space for every two living units is required, potentially leaving up to 6 vehicles per 4-plex, and up to 12 vehicles per 8 unit building on the street if each unit were to be occupied by 2 people.
  • Reducing lot width from 50ft to 40ft would allow construction to be squeezed onto 4 lots that currently requires the area of 5 lots, while also allowing new builds or to protrude 10 feet closer to the curb and back lot lines than existing structures.

  • The Riverview district already has more than 1174 multi-family living units from duplexes to apartment buildings including owned units with rental unit prices ranging from $425/month; $700-$800, $970-$1150; and $975-$2910 in the newest complex which contains 264 units. 
  • If passed, the new zoning will eliminate any voice residents currently have in determining the composition, appearance, and character of our neighborhood.
  • There is currently a longstanding and equitable process in place citywide which allows for new construction or modifications outside current zoning allowances to be considered on a case by case basis. It allows the residents of the neighborhood to give their input before approval is granted. 
  • The existing zoning does not deny the opportunity for new construction. It does ensure that any such development in the Riverview Historic District is thoughtfully considered with input from the people who live in the neighborhood ensuring that new builds enhance and do not detract from the distinctive character of the diverse architectural styles that give the neighborhood its timeless appeal.”

She can speak more specifically about her concerns to you and welcomes your inquiry.  Her telephone number is (918) 978-7136, and her e-mail is skalcat2@gmail.com.

We also have heard from our neighbor, Kevin Symcox, who can be reached at kevin.symcox@gmail.com or (203) 479-2674. He generally supports the Infill Overlay, stating:  “I think it is a positive thing for the neighborhood.  It needs design guidelines though as currently it lacks any guidance (mostly forcing buildings to face the street vs. side yards).  It increases the value of land and should help spur infill in (some) vacant properties.”

Everyone should seek out information, and both Cathy and Kevin would be good places to start.  Being an informed citizen is key to participating in a vibrant neighborhood.

We very much appreciate the interest all neighbors have in matters affecting the neighborhood; at this time, the Association has not received a sufficient amount of communication from neighbors to take a representative position on this proposal, but we agree that everyone is better served when neighbors become actively involved.  We encourage all to educate themselves on issues affecting us all.

Rick Eagleton, President

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