Oklahoma City

COVID, housing equity, fears of neighbors highlight City Council meeting – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2021-08-03 18:59:50 –

Oklahoma City (Free press) — In an sometimes tense four and a half hours, the Oklahoma City city council met on Tuesday to run the city’s business.

With the steady increase in COVID cases in the state, the council heard a presentation on the current number from the Oklahoma City County Health Department. The COVID debate was taken up in various other items on the council’s agenda, but the body took no action in mitigating the spread of the deadly disease.

The council heard important proposals for millions of dollars in tax increase finance (TIF) funding and other incentives provided to some businesses to build or relocate to the city of Oklahoma.

This led to a debate about the fairness of housing in Oklahoma City.

Regarding Oklahoma City housing, the Council has also endorsed a contract with the Oklahoma Mental Health Association to manage a new program aimed at alleviating homelessness and poverty in Oklahoma City.

Finally, the zoning dispute council to a neighborhood desire to prevent developers from bringing affordable homes into the area because they do not want the class of tenants they expect from such a project. I focused my attention on.

Marty Piercy reports local government

COVID question

Brain Boulding, Head of Public Health at the Oklahoma City County Health Department, has given the council a presentation explaining vaccination in central Oklahoma over the past seven months.

He pointed out that the most rapid surge in cases and hospitalizations was in people who were not completely vaccinated.

Bold does not go as far as encouraging mask mandates by choosing to focus on vaccines. He still recommends all mitigation actions, such as masking, social distance, hand washing, and limiting exposure to large numbers of people, but reiterated that vaccines should be the focus.

“This vaccine ends the pandemic,” Bolding said.

Bradley Carter, a member of the First District Assembly, asked Boulding some length about the science of vaccination. He included a question about why people who already have a COVID want to get the vaccine. Bold answered Carter’s question as well as other questions from the horseshoe.

Following that discussion, the council approved a revokeable permit for an event attended by thousands of people in our community.

Better way program

The council unanimously voted to sign a contract with the Oklahoma Mental Health Association (MHAOK) to manage a new program in Oklahoma City designed to alleviate homelessness and poverty in our community.

Better Way is a program devised a few years ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Throughout the program, participants will be picked up and taken to perform debris removal and beautification work in different parts of the area. Participants will be given lunch and will be paid for their work for the day. At the end of the day, participants will be connected to services that help them navigate their homes and work placements.

MHAOK has run the A Better Way program in Tulsa for the past few years and congratulates many. The program will soon begin in Oklahoma City.

District 5 Congressman David Greenwell asked MHAOK CEO Terri White if he could submit a monthly report of the deliverables. White explained what kind of data collection and reporting is needed in the language of the contract.

In subsequent discussions on the agenda, Greenwell did not request monthly reports on deliverables from two companies claiming business taxes.

Boulevard Place Proposal

The Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust has submitted a resolution to allocate more than $ 7 million to new apartments under construction from two TIF districts downtown.

$ 1,500,000 is from Tax Increase District 2 and will be used to reduce soil and groundwater pollution at the site. $ 5,743,571 is to come from District 13 for other construction.

Boulevard Place Apartments is the first approved project in 2018. Since then, plans and circumstances have changed in a way that the Trust believes should be mitigated by public funding.

The developers boasted suggestions for voluntarily creating an “affordable housing” program. They are not funded by General Obligation Limited Tax (GOLT) bonds, but they choose to offer some units at a price lower than the market price. Their program offers a 450-square-foot studio at an “affordable” price of $ 1,050 per month and includes utilities.

It was pointed out that minimum wage workers could not pay their rent remotely.

Sixth ward council member Jobes Hamon (the reporter’s wife) and second ward council member James Cooper pointed out that they wouldn’t really be able to afford the rent.

Hamon asked if only the studio was available in their program. Rent details have not been disclosed, but the program includes a two-bedroom unit.

MAPS4 package
JoBeth Hamon, a member of the Ward 6 Council, asks on August 27, 2019 about the values ​​shown as part of the MAPS 4 package. (File) (Brett Dickerson / Okla City Free Press)

The presentation and subsequent questions spurred a fairly lively debate about the affordability and fairness of Oklahoma City housing.

Nikki Nice, a member of the 7th Ward Assembly, reiterated that while other parts of the city have been ignored, these resources are now available in areas where they already have resources. Cooper talked about his deep disappointment with the expected rise in rent for this project.

The developers explained that construction costs rose dramatically during the pandemic.

District 4 Assemblyman Todd Stone explained that many builders are trying to start a project without knowing how much it will cost.

Hamon took the opportunity to point out that these issues under discussion were not irrelevant. The pandemic supply chain disruption affected local work outside of construction. Affordable homes are more in demand than ever before.

Hamon asked what return on investment investors in this project could expect.

The developers said it could change, but they pointed out that 8% is standard. Hamon then said: Investors of concern? “

The resolution was introduced for the final hearing at the August 17 meeting of the Board of Directors.

Griffin Communications

As Free Press reported, Griffin Communications, the parent company of Channel 9 and several other television and radio stations in the state, is preparing to purchase and refurbish its Century Center in downtown Oklahoma City. ..

You can know more: TV News 9 Parent company buys Oklahoman’s house

At a city council meeting on Tuesday, Economic Development Trust and Griffin Communications CEO David Griffin asked Congress to consider a resolution seeking $ 2,700,000.

Griffin plans to make the downtown location the headquarters of the Oklahoma company. The company plans to host a non-profit media center there.

Griffin Communications
From the Corcord Hotel side, the Century Center building will be significantly refurbished to accommodate Griffin Communications headquarters and News 9 studios. (BRETT DICKERSON / Oklahoma City Free Press)

The building will continue to be home to the Oklahoman newspaper, which will be the tenant of the small office suite at that location.

The board resolved to introduce a resolution. We are ready for the final hearing on August 17th.

Manufactured house

One of the zoning items I heard at the meeting on Tuesday was postponed two weeks ago.

Case PUD-1820 is an application for changing land use zoning from a medium industrial zone to a “planned unit development area”.

The applicant wants to build a community of manufactured homes. These homes are built in factories and put on site for buyers. The applicant owns the land on the 10801 Old 4 Highway in District 1.

According to the applicant’s lawyer, David Box, there was a community meeting between the developers and their neighbors on Monday night. During the meeting, some neighbors said they looked down on the types of people moving into the community of manufactured homes.

Box explained to the council that there is no legal basis for refusing land use based on speculation about a person’s “type.”

City councilman Bradley Carter pushed the box back, saying property value, school overcrowding, and floods were central to neighbors’ concerns.

Two neighbors signed up to protest and speak. In addition to explaining the undesiredness of current traffic jams, one argued that he wouldn’t go there after dark, even if he was armed, because he had passed through another neighborhood created by the developer.

Discussions on this issue led to asking Mark Stonecipher, a member of the 8th ward assembly, to postpone the item and ask if it could be discussed in an executive session of a future meeting.

Carter moved to postponement and the council unanimously voted in favor.

The council will meet again on August 17, 8:30 am

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Last updated: August 3, 2021 17:59 Brett Dickerson – Editor

COVID, housing equity, fears of neighbors highlight City Council meeting Source link COVID, housing equity, fears of neighbors highlight City Council meeting

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