Residents protesting zoning change for Broken Arrow housing development
By John Dobberstein, Editor
Hundreds of residents have signed an online petition opposing a zoning change for a housing development being proposed in south Broken Arrow.
The Broken Arrow Planning Commission is holding a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Broken Arrow City Hall over a proposal to reclassify 37 acres of land currently zoned agricultural to single-family residential.
More than 300 people have signed an online petition opposing the development along Tucson Street. The site is on the north side of Tucson, a quarter-mile west of Lynn Lane Road.
Ernest Childers Middle School and Spring Creek Elementary School are located immediate like south across Tucson Street.
The Tucson Acres development is proposed to include single-family, detached homes on individual lots.
The maximum number of lots permitted by the Zoning Ordinance is 204, with a minimum lot frontage width of 55 feet and a minimum lot area of 6,500 square feet. The developer has not submitted any architectural plans.
On May 16 the engineer held a neighborhood meeting at the Broken Arrow South Library to discuss the development, which was attended by about 40 people who expressed concerns about increased traffic, lot sizes, the quality of development and school overcrowding.
The city of Broken Arrow’s Comprehensive Plan classifies the undeveloped, unplatted land for the project as “Level 2” or urban residential.
City staff reviewed the application and comprehensive plan and recommended approval of the zoning change based on the site location and surrounding land uses.
Organizers of the opposition effort said the current developer earlier wanted to build 199 duplex rentals on the same property. The proposed RS-4 zoning would exclude duplexes but the homes may be higher density single-family dwellings.
“We are not opposed to the property being developed. We are supportive of the property being considered for rezoning to R-1 with larger lots,” the petition says. “We believe this would be a win/win for our children, schools, city, neighborhoods and city.”
Additionally, opposing residents believe a development of this size will require the school district to rezone again and move children to other schools.
Another issue, they said, is Tucson Street, which is mostly a two-lane road in the development area save for about 1,200 feet that has added lanes in front of the schools.
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The primary access point for Tucson Acres would be from one entry off of Tucson Street. When the South Ridge Park subdivision was developed, a stub street was constructed on the east side of the development to permit future connections. The existing stub street at East Raleigh Street would be incorporated into the design of the proposed subdivision.
Although an official traffic study hasn’t been done for the site, neighbors said the development could mean 300 to 400 more cars entering and exiting through the neighborhood directly in front of the schools.
According to the group, there are no plans to widen the road in the near future. Residents in the area note there are no stop signs or traffic lights to help students or other pedestrians.
The city of Broken Arrow is currently investigating potential locations for a crosswalk for Tucson Street. The proposed access point for the Tucson Acres development has been evaluated on a preliminary level with respect to the study and was not found to be a safety concern.