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March 22, 2013

Transcript of Stillwater Chamber of Commerce's City Council forum Friday


STILLWATER, Okla. — Noble: "If we're going to do incentives, it needs to be planned and there needs to be a level playing field. I think we need to make sure that we're looking to protect those who have already established a business here; who haven't been incentivized when you're looking to bring someone in. Now, economic development is extremely important and there will be some times when we need to consider that. It needs careful consideration and it does need...We need to be able to bring a commitment to everybody. I know we have an incentive district right now and I know that the city is able to bring more businesses here because of that incentive district. Most of all, I think we need to have a level playing field and we need to support everybody in Stillwater."

Recently, the city approved plans for development on the west side. As a councilor, what is your vision for growth in that area?"

Noble: "I think the West side has some unique opportunities. I also think we have to consider water issues. We have to consider infrastructure when we're planning for probably any side of the city, but especially the west side. There's plenty of opportunity for retail, shopping, entertainment and there's lot of opportunities for more single home families, for multifamilies and I believe when you're looking in the city of Stillwater, you have to look at all the infrastructure when you're planning and you have to combine planned growth, economic development and infrastructure. They all have to be a consideration; all of them."

Pina: "The west side, we're doing a lot of planning and hopefully there's going to be development there. It's a great opportunity. It's a great area to develop and yes, water is an issue over there, but I think we have a handle on it. I think we're into Phase 2 and I think by 2014 we'll have most of the water issues squared away. In terms of single family homes, a great area. If you want to talk about multistory development, that's a great area. But I think we have to look at the West side like we needed to look at everything else. We need to look at a plan. Just not saying, 'Let's develop the West side. Let's develop the East side, North or South.' I think we need to begin to seriously look at planning. I think we need to look at how we're going to do this planning. For example, we have some problems in Stillwater in terms of existing neighborhoods and what we want to put around the existing neighborhoods and sometimes we run into that and we haven't really looked at it completely. I read the comp plan the other day and I came up with something I hadn't thought about and was approached to me last night. We haven't really taken advantage of buffer zones. So, if we're going to go into the West side, now is a perfect chance to begin to really plan how we're going to do this. When I say buffer zones, let's say we have a single family here and we want to do multifamily over here. What should be put in between them to make sure one doesn't bleed into the other and one does not believe the other has an advantage in terms of security or privacy. So, if we start looking at buffer zones and now is a great time to do it because we're talking about developing an area, that's the direction I think we should go in."

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