Planning commission rejects development proposal

By CHRIS EVERSOLE
Staff Writer

The Mustang Planning Commission voted 6-0 Tuesday to deny a proposed planned unit development on E. State Highway 152.
The proposal, with a hotel and a restaurant facing the road and homes on small lots abutting country estates, had been contested by neighbors.
Developer Sam Hemani said he would not take the proposal to city council, which has the final decision. The planning commission is only advisory.
Instead, Hemani is eyeing a six-acre plot in Oklahoma City adjacent to the extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike.
The planning commission voted after a lengthy public hearing at which a group of neighbors repeated complaints they had voiced at board’s June meeting.
Last month’s meeting was continued so Hemani could meet with the neighbors and make changes addressing their concerns as well as respond to issues that city staff raised.
Over the past month, Hemani reduced the number of homes he planned to 36 from 38, and he moved the hotel site so it would impact fewer homes.
But the changes didn’t satisfy the neighbors – or the planning commission.
In addition, Community Development Director Melissa Helsel and City Attorney Jonathan Miller still had concerns about how the proposal was at odds with city ordinances and the Imagine Mustang Comprehensive Plan.
The neighbors contended that the homes would detract from their rural lifestyle.
Tuesday, homeowner Doug Monson complained that the restaurant could be a nuisance.
“It could have a bar, loud music and dancing,” he said.
During the June hearing, Vic Doray said that he and his wife had moved from a tract home in Bethany nine years ago to a home on a large lot in the area, which is south of State Highway 152 and west of Morgan Road.
“We had finally realized our dream of a home on a country road,” he said.
City ordinances and the comprehensive plan dictate that the “rural estates” zoning in the area – with lots required to be at least one acre in size – be given special attention, Doray said.
“This covenant should not be impaired,” he said.
Other speakers said they feared that the project would increase flooding, although the city requires that developments hold the runoff they create on site.
On the other hand, some speakers contended that the holding ponds for the project would retain water that keeps their ponds wet.
Some said they feared that guests in the multi-story hotel would peer into their backyards.
“It would be an invasion of our privacy,” Terry Tipton said.
He noted that although he planned for lots of about one-third of an acre, the residential part of the project would be a gated community with homes selling for up to $300,000.
However, the feelings about neighborhood preservation remained strong.
Monson reflected those feelings during the public hearing.
“I can’t believe what the owners paid for the property,” he said.
“The city is not obligated to bail them out because they made a big investment.”

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