Stillwater News Press

Opinion

April 23, 2014

OUR VIEW: Councilors make tough choice

STILLWATER, Okla. — In a narrow vote Monday, the Stillwater City Council rejected a developer’s application to rezone land for a student housing complex adjacent to the Lakeview Ridge subdivision.

The measure was voted down 3-2 after a five-hour discussion at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

City Councilors Gina Noble, Miguel Najera and Pat Darlington voted to defeat the application to rezone, much to the delight of several homeowners who live near the property in question.

Lakeview Ridge residents were happy with the decision. They have expressed concern about loss of privacy, noise, safety and decreased property values if a student housing complex was constructed near their residential homes.

Many homeowners are not in favor of high-density student housing next to single-family homes. But students need a place to live. Oklahoma State University has experienced a steady growth of incoming freshmen, and the trend is not expected to change.

Meanwhile, property owner Bob Kerns said he will continue his attempt to get the property rezoned for the student housing complex.

He has expressed sympathy for the homeowners but believes he has the right to develop his property to its highest economic potential.

The City Council should develop a zoning plan that balances growth and development with the realistic concerns of subdivision residents. Property owners have a right to develop their property as long as it does not infringe on surrounding residents.

That balancing act is not an easy task, but until a zoning plan is developed and put into practice, situations like the Lakeview Ridge predicament will continue to unsettle residents, property owners and city officials.

 

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