Residents Upset Over Historical Preservation Proposal In OKC
Some residents say they feel threatened over a proposed historical preservation plan in Oklahoma City.
It would give OKC City Council the sole right to begin the historical preservation/landmark process if the majority of stakeholders are against that type of protection.
The debate started when groups pushed for the uniquely shaped First Christian Church and its 38 acres at Northwest 37th Street and Walker Avenue to be deemed historical landmark.
The church pushed back, claiming the historical preservation distinction would make the place tougher to sell. The property is currently on the market.
Some members of OKC City Council believe going for historical preservation protections against the will of stakeholders, opens the city to lawsuits.
“When we get sued for a taking, are we going to buy the First Christian and are we going to renovate it and are we going to keep it? It’s a lot of money,” said OKC City Councilman Mark Stonecipher.
“As I read the ordinance, if it passes as written, the city council would have the right to declassify not only individual historic landmarks, but entire historic preservation districts,” said Brian Davis, who lives in Crown Heights, a historical preservation district.
Councilman Stonecipher proposes when the majority of stakeholders are against the historical preservation distinction, only city council has the power to initiate the historical preservation process.
Councilman Stonecipher proposed the same ordinance in July. The Planning Commission deferred the issue until March 2020, when a city historical preservation plan is due. But Stonecipher proposed the ordinance again Tuesday.
The proposal moves closer to a final vote. A public hearing on the issue is scheduled for October.