OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma-based company Braums is looking for input from the public on a move to open a location at Classen Circle amidst backlash at initial plans to demolish existing businesses.
Our partners at OKCTalk.com first reported that Braums requested an extension for a Planning Commission hearing on August 7. The new meeting is set for September 28.
The current plans include rezoning three properties adjacent to the Donnay Building for commercial-use, razing the Donnay Building and the businesses inside, and replacing it with a new location for Braums.
It's a plan that immediately drew dozens of people protesting the loss of the property. HiLo Club bar manager Topher Copeland argued for its historical and cultural significance in the city.
"They were opening doors to people who didn't have anywhere else to go," Copeland said, "and that's just held true all these years. People feel they can come in there and be who they want to be."
Now the city and Braums are planning a town hall meeting in the next couple weeks for people to hear from Braums directly, share their opinions, and hopefully brainstorm ideas for a win-win solution.
"I think this is a victory because August 24th was the actual hearing in front of the Planning Commission where both sides would have to give their arguments. That's now been delayed to September 28th," said Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid.
Copeland said it's a move in the right direction.
"I think all of us being there in a collection and as a group has a little more of an impact," Copeland said, "hopefully."
But he admits a solution for coexistence isn't clear.
"I don't see it, I mean it's not a very large place," Copeland said, "and it's not very sensible traffic wise."
Shadid said he's planning to have a definite time and place planned for the town hall meeting by Friday.