Norman approves apartments despite giant protest

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NORMAN, Okla. - The southwest corner of 36th Ave. Northwest and Tecumseh Rd. in Norman is the only corner at that intersection that hasn't been developed.

Under the city's comprehensive 2025 plan, it was zoned commercial.

But that all changed at Tuesday night's city council meeting when the council voted 5-3 to rezone the area and allow a 230 unit apartment complex.

However, 840 residents of two nearby neighborhoods had signed a petition against the apartment complex.

"Although we have had protests in the past, this is one of the largest I've experienced," Susan Connors said, Director of Planning and Community Development for the city of Norman.

City Councilman Chad Williams represents that area of Norman.

"You have 840 people that don't like something, I think it's important to listen to them," he said.

Williams voted against the project saying he wanted to keep the corner commercial for the tax revenue.

"To change our 2025 plan to fit what the desires of a developer are or some council, I don't think is right," Williams said.

Erin Williford lives in the nearby Cascade Estates and signed the petition against the rezoning.

"We just came together as a neighborhood," Williford said. "No one wanted this apartment complex."

She said she doesn't feel the city council listened to the wishes of the people.

"My understanding of city council was that they represented the views of what we as citizens want and we clearly don't want this and they clearly don't care," Williford said.

Connors said the 2025 plan has to remain flexible.

She said the developer is going to make the apartments high-end and believes it will be a good fit on the corner.

Many residents remain unconvinced and will be closely watching their new neighbors.

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