The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 February 2005

New rules for new developments

Oklahoma City has new regulations for subdivisions, effective last Friday, and while some of the 110-page document [link requires Adobe Reader] is taken up with housekeeping and minor language changes, there are some new rules worth noting:

1.7.2 Conflict With Public and Private Provisions.
A. Public Provisions. The regulations are not intended to interfere with, abrogate or annul any other ordinance, rule, regulation, statute or other provision of law. Where any provision of these regulations imposes restrictions different from those imposed by any other provision of these regulations or any other ordinance, rule, regulation, statute or other provision of law, the provision that is more restrictive or imposes higher standards shall control.

B. Private Provisions. These regulations are not intended to abrogate any easement, covenant, or any other private agreement or restriction, provided that where the provisions of these regulations are more restrictive or impose higher standards or regulations than such easement, covenant, or other private agreement or restriction, the requirements of these regulations shall govern.

The city, in other words, is setting the baseline standards: you may exceed them, but don't even think about coming up with something more lax, no matter how many property owners you can get to sign the papers.

5.1.8. Street Names.
A. Street Name Approval. The Planning Commission shall approve the names of all streets as part of the subdivision approval process. The subdivider shall initially propose street names on the face of the preliminary plat for major subdivisions and the final plat for minor subdivisions. Names shall be sufficiently different in sound and in spelling from other street names in the City so duplication is avoided. A continuance of an existing street shall, wherever possible, bear the same name. East-west streets shall be numbered in accordance with the established pattern throughout the City.

This is actually pretty much the current practice. I'm interpreting "continuance" in the most literal sense, that the new street actually connects to the existing one: it seems unreasonable to me that a street must be called, say, Brookline Avenue just because it's a block west of May. On the other hand, the city, perhaps with an eye towards making life easier for the fire department, has been insisting that east-west streets follow the number grid for years now, which is why down in Rivendell one gets from Lorien Way to Endor Drive by either (and equally prosaic) SW 121st Street or SW 123rd Street.

5.1.10 Property Owners Association (POA). For any subdivision utilizing or incorporating private streets, shared parking, common drives, islands or medians within street rights-of-way, and/or any other common areas, a Property Owners Association (POA) shall be established and be responsible for maintenance of said easements and common areas.

Translation: "You wanted this to be private, make sure you take care of it."

As a practical matter, I don't expect the new rules to have much of a negative effect on development: the demand for new homes in outlying areas of the city continues, and local businesses are already positioning themselves. (Who knew there was a Sonic way out at 18031 North Portland? I just saw it for the first time yesterday, and there's even a strip mall adjacent to it.) I do wonder if there's going to be an eventual ZIP code realignment up north, as more and more people discover that they live in Oklahoma City and their mail goes to Edmond. (This has happened to some extent on the west side: 73127 now extends all the way to Sara Road, though anything in Canadian County north of 36th Street still goes to Yukon, or Piedmont if you go far enough north.)

Were I a New Urbanist, I suppose I would be appalled that folks are moving way out to the fringes of the city. But I take comfort in the fact that they're still in the city, no matter what their return address may say: we're all in this together, whether we live on 9th Street, 99th Street, or 199th Street.

Posted at 8:19 AM to City Scene