Planning Commission votes against zoning change request

Ponca City Now - January 8, 2020 10:57 am

By Beverly Bryant/News Director

The Ponca City Planning Commission unanimously voted against a requst for a zoning change for property at 3420 North Pecan Road.

The property was vacant until 2004, when the owner sought and received a Special Use Permit from the city to construct a church at the site. A 5,000-square-foot metal building was constructed and finished out, but the owner failed to construct an improvements the city required in accordance with an approved site development plan.

The owner at that time attempted to occupy the building and hold church services until the city filed an injunction to stop the illegal occupancy. Then the owner attempted to sell the property to another church. That sale was thwarted after a thorough inspection revealed several code violations inside  the building. At that point, the property was deeded back to the lending institution in lieu of foreclosure.

In 2010, the city issued a certificate of occupancy to a nearby land owner for the property to be used as personal storage. An aerial photo in 2013 shows no commercial equipment parked outside of the building, but a 2018 photo shows commercial vehicles and heavy equipment parked at the site.

The owner, Dr. Bill Stuever, approached the Development Services Department with the City of Ponca City seeking to change the zoning of the property from R-1 Single Family to C-2 General Commercial. His intention was to use the property for a dirt hauling business, according to a summary presented to the Planning Commission. Stuever said at present, no business is conducted at the location and it is used only for the storage of equipment he uses to maintain the Motocross track on West Prospect.

At the present time, the area is developed as residential, with most of the area comprising detached single family neighborhoods. It also includes the Pecan  Place apartment complex, which is zoned multi-family.

There is a portion of the apartment complex that was zoned C-2 General Commercial when the complex was built in 1985, but it was never developed.

Development Services Director Chris Henderson said city staff recommends denial of the zoning change because it remains an unfinished piece of property and it is illegal to park heavy equipment in a residentially zoned area. He said  if the zoning is changed, the property would always be zoned for any business that can be located in a C-2 zone, such as a used car dealership or a marijuana dispensary. He said that was incompatible with the residential zoning in the immediate area.

In addition, a zoning change would require landscaping, water detention, screening from the neighbors, and paved areas where vehicles are to be parked, Henderson said. Personal storage is permitted only inside the building.

Stuever said there had been a precedent for C-2 zoning for 27 acres in the area due east of the property in 2008-09.

Henderson said that parcel had been intended for a Planned Unit Development, which is a single family retirement village that does not have the density of C-2 zoning. That project never moved forward and would have been built with a Tax Incentive District plan that was not approved because of public objections.

The matter will go before the City Commission on Jan. 13.


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