The addition of a drainage ditch is all it took for council members to approve a rezoning request Tuesday for a new high-density development proposed for Sara Road.
While the first step is not complete, city officials say there are still many more hurdles to jump before the development will be finalized and building will begin.
By a vote of 4-2, the council approved the request unlike in February, when the rezoning was voted down 4-3, after numerous residents attended both the Planning Commission and council meetings to complain about drainage concerns.
The proposed “The Reserve at Sara” addition is led by Mark Ritchie of Civil Design & Survey in Edmond, and Mustang resident and home builder Jim Sheppard, who owns the 25 acres.
Vice Mayor Jess Schweinberg of Ward 6 commented in Tuesday’s meeting that the drainage issues for nearby residents in the Clear Springs addition could be eliminated with the proposed drainage channel. He said the addition was built 50 years ago, which was before the city was even incorporated.
A handful of individuals spoke during the rezoning public hearing including Robert Duke, who lives on Magnolia Terrace, and Donna Skidmore, who spoke on behalf of her parents who live on E. Lea Terrace.
Duke was bothered by Mustang’s growth, saying the city is doing too much developing. Skidmore expressed concerns about drainage, property values increasing and the added tax burden on her parents, and the small lots in the proposed addition.
Residents also previously expressed concerns about added traffic on Sara Road and S.W. 59th Street if the development were built. Schweinberg said in Tuesday’s meeting he also lives in this area but anticipates the new turnpike to help.
“We are held prisoner by Oklahoma City because they have to do their part in order for us to do our part,” he said, referring to how road improvements cannot be made to 59th Street without Oklahoma City’s partnership.
He then said the city cannot hold Mustang’s remaining properties prisoner in order to keep Mustang’s country feel.
“If they can’t convince us as a council that they can fix the drainage issues, we don’t have to approve this,” he said.
Schweinberg went on to make the motion for the council to approve the rezoning request. He, along with Mayor Jay Adams, Brian Grider and Josh Leete voted in favor, while Kevin Riley, Linda Hagan voted against it. Terry Jones left the meeting early before the vote.
Back in February, Leete’s predecessor, Kathleen Moon-Staples voted against the rezoning, as did Jones, Hagan and Riley, who represents the ward the development would be located in, if approved.
After the rezoning was defeated last time, Community Development Director Melissa Helsel said the developer could not come back with a different zoning classification before six months. She also said a slight change in the PUD could be brought back, if the city attorney thought it was acceptable.
Helsel said Ritchie and Sheppard’s rezoning application this time included moving the fence line five feet north on the south side of the property from the original application and the addition of the drainage channel.
The channel will have to be wide enough to allow for maintenance and its width will be determined via a study, Helsel said.
“You can’t make the problem worse and have to remain neutral or better,” Helsel said about the drainage in new developments.
The next steps in the approval process are the preliminary and final plats for the development.