Stillwater News Press

February 16, 2013

Residents hope master plan primes city for more growth

By Chris Day
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater’s proposed comprehensive master plan looks at everything — population growth, infrastructure, parks, traffic patterns, land use and more.

The 110-page document reaches some general conclusions. It places Stillwater’s population at 46,048, and anticipates a population of 61,525 in 2030. It projects Oklahoma State University’s enrollment will continue to grow.

It makes general recommendations as well — from creating a pro-business environment to adding more neighborhood parks and pedestrian routes to connect residential areas with commercial areas and recreation facilities.

The C3 Comprehensive Plan is available online at stillwater.org. Click on the Document Center tool bar and the Master Plans link.

Stillwater residents have another opportunity to learn and comment about the master plan. A public input meeting is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Stillwater Community Center.

A comprehensive plan provides a context for growth and development. It’s a guide and tool for city councilors and staff.

It can help formulate planning and zoning, transportation objectives and quality of life strategies, Stillwater Department of Development Services Director Paula Dennison said.

“Our zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, our city design and construction standards act as the day-to-day law that helps us attain our vision,” she said.

Stillwater’s approach to development and growth is important to resident Tina Meier, who works in the information technology department at Oklahoma State University. She is from Manhattan, Kan., home of Kansas State University, and still has family there.

“I’ve been watching how Manhattan has grown and their economic development and master plan they had several years ago. I wanted to see how the city of Stillwater was going to put together an updated master plan based on economic growth,” Meier said.

Stillwater needs to look at its technology structure to help attract high-paying jobs, she said.

“I was just making sure people take into account those different pieces and to see where the growth will be,” Meier said.

Stillwater resident David Lingelbach expects a population explosion fueled  by ASCO Aerospace USA’s new manufacturing facility in Stillwater.

The facility is expected to start production in 2014.

“I think we’ve been trying to get our official Census population up over 50,000. We will do that eventually. It’s not going to be oozing across that line. I think it is going to be at full gallop. We may all be shocked by how fast the town grows.” Lingelbach said.

Traffic congestion is one of Lingelbach’s concerns.

There are some roads in Stillwater he avoids at certain times of the day because of road congestion.

“When I go to Lowe’s, I don’t go at 3 p.m. because that’s when all the students get out and contractors say ‘the day’s about over and I need some stuff,’” he said.

Lingelbach said he participated in the master plan approved in 2001. It was outdated immediately after it was approved, he said.

“I’m curious about the plan because I did participate in that plan,” he said.