City Council Approves Rezoning In NE OKC

Tuesday, March 28th 2017, 6:38 pm
By: Karl Torp

The plan to build a Warren Theatre at Eastern Avenue and the Kilpatrick Turnpike in northeast Oklahoma City is moving forward.

On Tuesday, the City Council voted through the plan in front of City Hall chambers packed with upset neighbors, and a few supporters.

The Chickasaw Nation is turning the area off Eastern and just south of the Kilpatrick Turnpike into a 14-screen Warren Theatre. 

Retail and office space are also in the plans.

”I think that biggest concern - and you'll hear it over and over again - is traffic,” said Kim Atkins to city council members, who had to approve a zoning change for the project to move forward.

“I feel like we were not made aware of it and it was done behind our backs,” neighbor Donny Greenwalt told the council.

Neighbors said they were not initially told about the project because they didn’t live within 600 feet of the project.

However, dozens of people told city council members that the project would have a negative impact on their neighborhoods.

“While I would love to see the area remain rural, I understand that development is inevitable and I think this project is a good project and should be approved,” project supporter Lance Cook said.

After listening to both sides, including claims from neighbors that a councilman couldn't be unbiased, the vote wasn't even close.

Council voted 7 to 1 in favor of the development rezoning.

“I don’t know why, but the desire for them to rush this thing through just defies all reason,” said Oaks I and II homeowners association president Porter Davis after the vote.  

Those neighborhoods are north of the turnpike off Eastern Avenue.

“There were neighborhood meetings, we think the process worked the way it was supposed to work,” said attorney David Box, who represented the developers.

Developers working on behalf of the Chickasaw Nation are making concessions.

The development will have no liquor stores or bars.

There's also going to be a deed restriction which eliminates gaming.

Developers also said they are willing to work with the neighbors, especially those north of the Kilpatrick Turnpike, on the final design of the project.