PC Board of Commissioners approve PCPS rezoning petition

January 12, 2023 | Featured|Headlines

PONCA CITY — The Board of Ponca City Commissioners conducted a public hearing Monday and approved a rezoning petition submitted by the Ponca City School District.

Chris Henderson, Development Services Director, said the petition is for the property located in the 500-600 block of east Brookfield Ave.

The now approved ordinance changes the zoning from from R-1 Single Family Residential, R-3 Multi-Family Residential, and C-1 Local Commercial to Public.

Henderson said PCPS plans to expand their campus.

“They have had long range plans to increase the size of the campus for quite some time,” said Henderson. “They began acquiring properties in these two blocks 15 years ago and as you know they were only recently able to secure control of every parcel. Their plans include an outdoor soccer field and a multipurpose building which collectively comprised $14 million of improvements to this campus.”

Henderson explained that the City’s zoning code does not permit schools or other educational uses by-right within residential zoning districts. Instead, schools and associated activities are permitted by Special Use Permit. The alternative is to zone the property to public, which is the appropriate zoning classification for public and semi-public land uses. The remainder of the high school campus is zoned public.

Henderson said 25 percent of the block has been commercial forever. “This is part of a 7th Street that has been commercial for 50 years,” he said. “So we are not really changing it from residential to public, there is actually some commercial and in fact there is an apartment complex.”

Henderson said the planning commission met on the subject last week and that a crowd attended.

“We had no opposition and things went well,” said Henderson.

Commissioner Paul Taylor asked if the school district plans to close Brookfield. Henderson said there is a meeting planned to discuss the future of Brookfield.

“It is a good question because they need to find room to park buses in conjunction with this,” said Henderson. “We could come to you in a month and ask you to close that street or we could make it private or we could ask to make the street a one-way. That is yet to be seen but we are going to bring all the staff people and the school district together to see what is best for that area.”

Mayor Homer Nicholson asked if buses could enter from Comanche Street.

Henderson said he doesn’t think that is a good idea.

“Comanche in my humble opinion needs to be left exactly how it is. There shouldn’t be any parking having to do with the school district on the south side of Comanche so that the residents on the north side of Comanche will live a normal life.”

Initial plans call for a perimeter fence along the west and north sides of the soccer field and multi-purpose building. All parking facilities are planned on the south side of the facility, including bus parking. Access to and from the facility is exclusively from the south and no parking will be set aside along the south side of Comanche Avenue. The only obvious off-site impact from the use of the soccer field will be lighting and noise generated during scheduled games, as is the case with the football stadium.  As with all zoning petitions, notice was provided to those property owners lying within 300 feet of the subject property at least 20 days prior to the scheduled Public Hearing. No written or verbal protests were received.

To watch the meeting click here

Public Hearing – Closing Streets and Alleys

Commissioners also conducted a public hearing and approved an ordinance authorizing the closing of certain streets and alleys located within Block 54 and 59 of Township of Cross addition to the City of Ponca City, retaining a utility easement, and setting an effective date.

The blocks were once occupied by single family residences and commercial buildings and as such, there is an active utility system in place running east and west within the platted alley. In addition, the City maintains a large water main within the right-of-way that is the 1300 block of N. 6th Street. Logistically, it will be necessary for the City to close the alley within Block 54 and 59, and also close the portion of 6th Street that separates the two blocks. More importantly, it will be necessary for the City and other utility providers to “wreck out” their services in the alley and relocate them along the south side of Comanche Ave.

This process will take 60-90 days, depending upon weather conditions. In accordance with State Statutes, staff mailed notices of a public hearing a minimum of 30 days preceding the date of said public hearing to determine if the street and alley should be closed. These notices are sent to property owners impacted by the closure, as well as all utility providers who may or may not occupy the street right-of-way or alley within the blocks in question. Staff met with the utility providers to receive their comments and recommendations. The City only has the legal power to close street rights-of-way and alleys. In order to physically take legal possession of the closed rights-of-way, the school district must initiate a quiet title suit in District Court. The notice procedure is similar to that mandated for closings, and the City is included with the list of those entities who must be notified.

To watch the meeting click here