Stillwater News Press

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March 3, 2013

Stillwater City Council expected to revisit apartment complex issue

STILLWATER, Okla. — Lakeview Ridge subdivision residents walked away from the Feb. 21 Stillwater City Council meeting happy. Councilors had voted 4 to 1 against a zoning change that would have allowed construction of a 275-unit, three-story apartment complex next to their single-family homes.

One of the councilors wants to reconsider the issue at the 5:30 p.m. Monday City Council meeting at the Municipal Building, 723 S. Lewis. The request for reconsideration is listed under discussion about scheduling items for upcoming meetings in the miscellaneous items from the City Council.

Councilors will be asked to vote on the motion to reconsider the issue. If it is approved, the item will be placed on the March 18 agenda for discussion and a possible vote.

Lakeview Ridge Neighborhood Association spokesman Brian Frehner said the group had expected the development group, Park 7 Group of Westin, Conn., to ask the council to revisit its decision.

“We weren’t so naive to think it wouldn’t be challenged,” Frehner said. “We were hoping they would take more than a mere week to talk about it.”

Frehner called the zoning issue a “political hot potato,” and suggested the decision to revisit the issue so quickly meant councilors weren’t acting in full faith during their Feb. 21 vote.

“Any voter must question the sincerity of the council when it rules on zoning issues,” Frehner said.

Stillwater Mayor John Bartley said he didn’t ask the council to revisit the apartment complex issue. Bartley was the only council member to vote to rezone the land from industrial to multifamily residential.

Any councilor may ask his fellow councilors to reconsider an issue, Councilor Philip Pina said.

Pina said he didn’t see the importance of identifying the councilor making the request and felt it was inappropriate to discuss the issue in the newspaper before talking about it in council chambers.

Councilor Cody Scott said Pina put the item on Monday’s agenda. Scott said he supported Pina’s decision to revisit the issue, but it is unlikely that it would change his mind or vote.

Scott voted to keep the Mercury Avenue property zoned industrial.

The only way he would change his vote, Scott said, was if Lakeview Ridge residents came to a meeting and gave their blessing to the apartment complex.

Homeowners aren’t going to change their minds. They believe Mercury Avenue should be the border between apartment complexes and their single-family homes, Frehner said.

Park 7 Group, Frehner said, doesn’t have a good track record with the neighborhood association. Its representatives told homeowners one thing at the only meeting they had with residents and presented something different to city councilors on Feb. 21.

Brehner said he plans to attend Monday’s meeting, but couldn’t speak for other Lakeview Ridge Neighborhood Association members.

Vice Mayor Chuck Hopkins and Councilor Joe Weaver didn’t respond to messages requesting interviews for this story.

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