February 19, 2014

Pondridge residents express rezoning concerns

James Bright
The Express-Star


Home owners on Pondridge Road in Chickasha converged on the city council Monday night to express their dismay over possible rezoning in their community. 

City officials considered a motion to change property along Pondridge Road from single family residential to RMO multiple ownership residential. 

Resident Kelly Nunn said she was opposed to any rezoning, and believes such action would decrease the property value of her house. 

Nunn's comments were echoed by resident Roy Grant. 

"When does what we want matter?" he asked the council. "Are we wasting our time tonight?" 

Mayor Hank Ross said he heard from most residents in attendance over the week. 

Council Member Howard Carpenter said he was surprised neither the applicant for the rezoning or the developer were at the meeting. 

"This kind of concerns me," he said. "While we do need development and housing, I really want to talk with the developer and applicant to see what they planned on doing."  

After some discussion the council unanimously agreed to table this issue until it can be discussed in a work session. 

"I am empathetic to homeowners, and Chickasha is in desperate need of housing," Council Member John Toland said. "We need to find some balance between homeowners and developers." 

Adding to to the city's headache surrounding water issues, the council voted unanimously to reject a bid to build new piping to Fort Cobb Lake for water service. 

City Manager Stewart Fairburn said the city's engineer estimated the cost of the project at $475,000, but the bid came in at $1.9 million. 

'We are trying to get others to bid on this project," Fairburn said. "We will probably have to do one pipe at a time." 

Fairburn said the construction could be a more than $1 million for one pipe. He said if a new bid was approved in May it would back completion up two months to November. The project would build pipes that go deeper into Fort Cobb Lake, which could effectively combat issues such as algae being pulled through the piping. 

Fairburn said  the engineer did not adjust the cost for the piping going under the lake. 

"Pipes going dry end to dry end is easier than going under the lake," he said. 

The council also addressed the plague of wild animals roaming the streets of the city Monday night. 

In a 9-0 vote, positions in animal control were restructured. 

"We are creating a new position out of other positions," Fairburn said. "We are trying to get more hours onto the street for code enforcement." 

Fairburn said in order for the city to match the needs of a seven day operation, the city needs to have two animal control officers. 

"This will allow us to concentrate on the animal and the code side," he said. 

The council will meet on again March 3 for a regular meeting and March 10 in a workshop session to discuss rezoning issues on Pondridge Road.