Residents voice their concern on proposed housing project

September 14, 2021 | Featured|Headlines

PONCA CITY — Citizens shared their thoughts on a proposed affordable housing complex to be located at 2702 Turner Street during a public hearing held Monday night before Ponca City Board of Commissioners. 

Chris Henderson, development service director, explained that the project would involve 4.45 acres on the west side of Turner Street and that the property would be rezoned from R-1 single family residential to a R-1 planned unit development (PUD).

He said in a standard sub division, 18-19 houses could be harvested, but in a PUD more units can be placed on the property and still maintain six units per acre.

He said the proposed housing units would not be for sale as the developer, Jim Bo Carnley, Stillwater, intends to be the responsible party for the properties.

“There is a substantial protest associated with this,” said Henderson. “The executive director of the Renaissance signed the protest petition. Under state law, only the owner of record is authorized to sign the petition. Many of the neighbors are opposed and if the Renaissance is counted it is 68 percent opposed, if not counted the protest count drops to 40 percent.”

Mayor Homer Nicholson said it is extremely exciting that a developer wants to come and invest in Ponca City.

“PCDA has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to recruit housing for Ponca City,” said Nicholson.

“We have an acute housing shortage. We have a shortage of man power. Workers don’t come here because we don’t have a place for them to live. A project like this has the opportunity for people 55 and up to move into these and open up homes to people needing to move to Ponca City. This is a great opportunity to help with our housing shortage.”

Carnley said his team has been working on the project for many months.

Jim Bo Carnley

“Our model is simple,” he said. “We build and develop in rural communities. We are not Tulsa and Oklahoma City bound. We build in Stillwater, Perry, Blackwell, Perry, Grove and just purchased land in Bartlesville. We do hold and keep all of our properties and have been in business for three years. Prior to that the company was an oil field business. From a financial stand point we are okay. We will keep and maintain a very nice property.”

Commissioner Shasta Scott asked Carnley a series of questions.

Carnley said the property manager will be located in Stillwater and that they are working with about 10 banks on the projects.

Scott said some of the citizens are worried about financial stability and asked if he would be willing to provide financial statements.

“Absolutley,” replied Carnley.

Nicholson said he doesn’t think it is the board’s responsibility to get into the financing of the project.

Carnley said he could provide a commitment letter.

Residents shared their views on the project.

Bill Geubelle, who lives on LemonTree started to express his thoughts when Nicholson pointed out that LemonTree is more than 300 feet away from the property. 

“Letters were sent to residents 300 feet away,” said Nicholson.

Geubelle said he lives 600 feet and asked if he could speak. He told the board that residents need reassurances that the property will be operated and maintained in a manner that will not dramatically affect the neighborhood.

He asked the board not to make a decision until a list of documents are presented and said many residents are concerned about property values.

Darrel Brown, 2100 block of Ashley Place, said over 90 residents in the area are against the project.

“I don’t think these people have been in business long enough to prove that they are here for the long term,” said Brown. Brown asked Nicholson to recuse from the vote because he has a home within 300 feet of the project. Nicholson confirmed that he owns a home in the area. “I plan to abstain from the vote if that makes you happy,” said Nicholson.  “That does make me happy,” replied Brown.

Carla Hinton, who lives in the 2100 block of Ashley Place said she believes the will happen and that there is nothing residents can do to stop it. Later she got into a discussion with traffic director about left hand turns into the project. Nicholson suggested a Driver’s Education Course could be incorporated into the project.

Commissioner Paul Taylor asked Henderson what would prevent a developer from building small homes like the ones on Airline Drive.

Henderson said the property is already zoned for single family residences. “The homes can be anything that the developer wishes as long as they meet the 2015 International Residential Code,” said Henderson.

Taylor asked if developers are required to provide proof of financial stability and Henderson said no.

“How about Starbucks,” asked Taylor.

“He wasn’t required to do anything,” replied Henderson.

“To require it now has the feel of government over reach,” said Taylor.

Commissioners approved a statement of intent for the project. To watch the meeting click on the following links.

City meeting video one

City meeting video two

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