Zoning appeal approved for Plaza 41

The Board of Tulsa County Commissioners voted Monday to approve a zoning change for Plaza 41 in Berryhill.

Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith said the zoning request for the development, located at the corner of West 41st Street and South 57th West Avenue, can best be understood as divided into two segments.  They are the southern 1/3 directly adjacent to 41st Street which can be referred to as the “Commercial Zoning” area that will include a strip center with up to four spaces, one of which would include the ‘Dollar General’ we’ve heard about, and with the northern 2/3 along 57th West Avenue, which can be referred to as the “Office Zoning,” area, Keith said.

“First let me say that I am very sensitive to issues impacting Berryhill,” said Keith.  “This is an important neighborhood and a respected school district.”

Looking at the surrounding area, Keith said that she noted that the corridor already has a donut shop, Taco Mayo, E-Z Mart, auto shop, and an American Heritage Bank.  Also, recognizing that the current County Comprehensive Plan is now 40-plus years old, and does not reflect the current development trends in the Berryhill area, coupled with an effort to improve retail in that unincorporated part of the County and support retail which already exists, the Board of County Commissioners agreed to overturn the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission vote of denial on Zoning Issue CZ-407 and PUD-566-A and uphold the requested zoning changes under certain conditions and restrictions.  The compromise consists of:  1) any future development of any portion of the property at issue, north or south, would be subject to the procedural requirements of a PUD Minor Amendment.  Specifically, the developer would have to notify, by direct mail, any property owner within 300 feet of the proposed development and send a detailed plan to TMAPC for a public hearing at which any member of the public would be allowed to address the developer and TMAPC about the development.  TMAPC would then make a final decision about whether to approve that development plan; and 2) any development of the “office zoning” portion of the property would be strictly limited to:  offices of single story construction, no more than 22 feet in height, pitched roofing, heavy landscaping on the North and West borders, a masonry-type wall at least 8 feet in height, and no exterior lighting that exceeds 12 feet in height.

I feel that these conditions represent a good compromise between protecting the residents in the immediate area from some of the more difficult aspects of future development and supporting economic growth in an area which could certainly benefit from it,” said Keith.

Keith said the major concerns of the neighbors have been addressed by Steven Schuller with Gable Gotwals Law Firm and County Engineer Tom Rains.  Those concerns include adequate septic systems and elimination of potential flooding.

“According to the plan, an underground drip line will be used rather than the problematic aerobic system that has, in the past, created problems for nearby neighbors,” said Keith.  “The Department of Environmental Quality will have to approve any sewage plans put forward for future development, and County Engineer Tom Rains will have to sign off on the required number of detention ponds and he assures me that that should not be a problem.”


By Sarah Moody of the Tulsa County News