Zoning Changes Concern NE OKC Residents

Wednesday, September 12th 2012, 7:01 pm
By: News 9

By Abby Broyles, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Some families in the metro aren't happy about a plan to rezone an Oklahoma City neighborhood as part of the expansion of the Oklahoma Health Center near downtown.

The zoning change would affect about 20 blocks of the JFK neighborhood just south of the Oklahoma Health Center. It would change the zoning from residential to commercial; a change that's unsettling for some families who live there.

Outside Bill and Diane Allen's home, their 5-year-old grandsons ride their bikes. They've lived in that house a little over a year, but Bill has called this neighborhood home for most of his life.

"I like it over here in the neighborhood because it's quiet," said Allen. "I cut the people's yards. We all just get along right here."

They live in the JFK neighborhood in northeast Oklahoma City, where dozens of brick homes went up in the 1970s and 80s as part of a city effort to clean up the area.

"It's a historical area," Diane Allen said.

Diane has been watching the construction from her home, as the Oklahoma Health Center campus keeps growing. Now the city plans to rezone the JFK neighborhood from residential to commercial, to allow more expansion from N.E. 4th Street to N.E. 8th Street.

"I would really hate to see the whole neighborhood torn apart and having them rebuild something new," Allen said.

Those with the Oklahoma Health Center say they've reached out to concerned neighbors about the construction, and it won't affect an existing home. While some neighbors still plan to fight the rezone, the Allens are accepting that change is on its way.

"Just thank God you've got a place to live," Allen said.

The city isn't buying homes in the neighborhood. News 9 learned rezoning the area for commercial use will keep new homes from being built there.

Some neighbors plan to protest the change at the city planning commission meeting Thursday at City Hall.