Residents voice concerns over rezoning of property

The rezoning of the orange building off the corner of East State Highway 152 and Morgan Road, and the lot it sits on, is the subject of concern for residents in the neighborhood just behind the fence line. City Council members voted to approve the application from owner Harry Weatherford to change the building from a “C-2” Commercial Neighborhood District to a “C-3.”

By E.I. Hillin

Residents of Cottonwood Terrace, an east Mustang neighborhood, are concerned what the rezoning of a property next to theirs could lead to in the future.

The property, owned by Harry Weatherford and Josephine Weatherford, is located at 150 N. Morgan Road and 1711 ½ E. State Highway 152. It is a total of .76 acres and has three lots. The area of the property has mixed uses with commercial zoning and single-family residential zoning nearby. Previously, the location was used as a child care center.

On March 28, Weatherford’s application to change the zoning of the property from “C-2” a commercial neighborhood, to “C-5” a commercial intensive district was heard and discussed at a Mustang Planning Commission public hearing.

The committee suggested the city council deny the rezoning application to “C-5” but mentioned changing it to “C-3” commercial general, a similar zoning which would allow businesses to build with certain restrictions, like a mandatory masonry fence.

At the April 4 city council meeting, Ordinance 1147 was amended and then approved with an emergency clause. The emergency clause made the ordinance go into effect immediately with the approval of council.

Greg Woods, a resident of the neighborhood on Cottonwood Terrace, said his neighbors asked him to speak to councilmembers about the rezoning application and the implications it could bring. The residents fear the property could be turned into a car wash or another business with loud noise or bright lights.

Woods said he is knowledgeable on the subject because he works with the city of Oklahoma City Planning and Zoning Department. He helped with downtown revitalization projects and is also familiar with noise ordinances.

“One of my jobs at the city is noise ordinance,” he said.

Woods said not only was the amended ordinance not good enough, but he was disappointed it was placed into immediate effect, not allowing for due process. 

“It’s more than what I wanted and what it should be,” Woods said. “I was saddened by the verbage in agenda, making it an emergency clause which doesn’t give time to appeal.”

Mayor Jay Adams announced before public comment, each person was allotted five minutes to speak. Woods said he was surprised with the five-minute limitation. He said while the limitation was common in a much larger city like Oklahoma City, he didn’t understand why it was used in this case.

“In this case there was only one thing on the docket,” Woods said. “Let the citizen be heard.”

The property owner, Weatherford, said he was satisfied with the outcome. He bought the property almost a year ago, already owning the property on the corner of East State Highway 152 and Morgan Road where he has a liquor store and a flight simulation business.

“I really bought that property behind me because it hadn’t been taken care of in years,” he said. “It was embarrassing.”

After the council meeting Weatherford said he wasn’t sure what the future purpose of the property might be at this time.

“I would like to turn it into something that makes profit,” he said.

Woods said the only option for the concerned residents at this point, would be hiring a lawyer to take the matter to district court.

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