Planning Commission votes against zoning change that would allow dispensary

Beverly Bryant - May 7, 2019 10:47 am

The address for which the zoning change was requested is outlined in yellow on the lower left.

Eight members of the Planning Commission voted unanimously Monday night to deny a request for a zoning change for 3517 Lake Road from C-1 local commercial to C-2 general commercial.

The location is a building formerly used by the Kaw Lake Association west of Kygar Road, on the south edge of the Ranchwood Manor planned development.

With the C-2 designation, the property could have been used as a liquor store, a restaurant that serves alcohol, a bar/tavern/club, a plant nursery, a used car lot or a medical marijuana dispensary.

The owner of the property intended to use the building as a dispensary.

Many of the residents and property owners in the housing addition attended the meeting to protest that use, citing the number of young children who live in the area and the fact that Lake Road is a road heavily traveled by tourists and others going to both Lake Ponca and Kaw Lake.

Dr. Quint Whitefield was one of many people who addressed the commission members. He said he is under contract on 69 lots in the addition with the intention of building houses to help alleviate the housing shortage in Ponca City. He said he also owns four rentals on Bellflower and Rosedale.

“There are other areas where a dispensary can be built,” he said.

Several parents also spoke against the petition, mentioning the number of children who live in the area, but also the increase in traffic that would come with a dispensary. One woman said she is a bus driver in the Osage, where  there already is a dispensary. She said the increased traffic makes her job harder and would do the same in Ranchwood Manor.

A few of those speaking addressed the benefits of medical marijuana for critically ill patients.

Development Services Director Chris Henderson said this was the sixth recent zoning change request made for the purpose of allowing a medical marijuana dispensary in Ponca City.

Originally, Henderson had recommended approval of the change, but told the Planning Commission he had changed his mind after seeing  the level of protests by residents.

“I stand with the neighbors and ask you to deny this request,” Henderson said. “We have considered the preferences of the people who would be impacted by this decision. I fall to the will of the people.”

The issue will be heard by the City Commission next Monday evening.


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