Stillwater News Press

October 3, 2012

Country Club addition residents plan to discuss creation of neighborhood improvement district

John Filonow
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Country Club addition resident Sharon Scott said she is concerned about the state of her neighborhood, but doesn’t think it’s declining.

“I want to boost (the neighborhood), not condemn it,” Scott said.

Scott said she obtained property cards from the Payne County Assessor’s office that show a decrease in property values for the past three years.

At 7 p.m. Thursday at Stillwater Middle School, a group of Country Club addition residents will discuss the creation of a neighborhood improvement district. Stillwater has a Downtown Business Improvement District, but a neighborhood improvement district would be unique.

Stillwater City Manager Dan Galloway said the difference between an improvement district and a homeowners’ association is a homeowners’ association is private and voluntary.

An improvement district, Galloway said, would allow a neighborhood to levy assessments on residents to fund repairs, build sidewalks, hire private landscaping companies and other ventures to be determined by the neighborhood’s board of directors. The city would control payments made for improvements, but the money would be limited to use for the neighborhood.

“It’s kind of a neat deal. You know exactly where the money is going,” Galloway said.

Galloway said the Stillwater Downtown Business Improvement District collects money through assessments which can be used by businesses and residents within the district by applying for grants, which are subject to approval by its board of directors. The city dispenses the money, which is held in a separate account, for the improvements.

Scott said she knows of four attempts to form a homeowners’ association in the neighborhood, but they failed because they weren’t mandatory.

Galloway said he met with Scott and about 15 other residents from the additions about the possibility of creating the improvement district.

Galloway said the process for forming an improvement district takes about six months and involves two public hearings. He said the process can begin when 60 percent of the residents sign a formal petition or when a representative group goes to the City Council. The council can then begin the process with a resolution.

 A flyer for the meeting distributed to residents lists several concerns — a lack of streetlights, appearance of the four entrances that lack sprinker systems, lighting and planting, lack of consistent mowing maintenance of the west side of Country Club Road and concerns with privacy fence maintenance.

The list also included a concern with properties becoming rental houses for nonfamilies and the possibility of using raw water, which already comes to the Country Club golf course from Lake Carl Blackwell, for lawn maintenance.

Scott said she didn’t want the addition to become a rental district, but she was not opposed to renting to some students. She said student families and young families starting out are needed in the addition, as many of the houses are occupied by older people.

“We need young families. We need to draw them in,” Scott said.

The flyer states representatives from the city of Stillwater will attend the meeting, as well as an attorney who “will provide information concerning the two years of work that established the Westwood overlay district that protects the quality of life for approximately 500 homeowners.”

Galloway said the city representatives will be Norman McNickle, director of public safety, John McClenny, external services director, and Paula Dennsion, director of community development.

Galloway said Dennis McGrath, the assistant city attorney who was scheduled to attend, would not be able to because of a scheduling conflict.

The flyer states, “Those interested in attending this meeting are welcome to present their interests, concerns and ideas” for the future of the Country Club addition.

Scott said she wanted to preserve the beauty of her neighborhood, which has been in Stillwater since 1966.

“It’s time after 46 years for there to be upgrades,” Scott said.