EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – A fight between organizers of a petition drive in Edmond and developers of a proposed 300-unit apartment complex in Edmond will meet at the Oklahoma County Courthouse Wednesday to see if a judge will put the issue onto a ballot.
The petition received well over the required amount of 2,700 signatures required to bring the issue to a vote, but the developers sued opponents saying they tricked people into signing.
“This was not for or against the development, it’s the opportunity for the citizens of Edmond to vote on the development,” said Paula Burkes, a petition drive co-chair.
Burkes and her grassroots group of opponents said they are fighting to let Edmond residents vote on the complex’s construction near the Interstate 35 Service Road just north of Memorial Road.
“They’re naturally going to bring in way more kids to our school system when we have overcrowded schools especially in the elementary schools,” said Burkes.
Since May, Burkes and over 100 volunteers have been working to bring the decision to a ballot for a vote. However, now she is defending the petition from the developers, Case and Associates of Tulsa and one of its attorneys.
“And the worst insult was that we covered the paragraph so that people didn’t know what they were signing,” Burkes said. “He’s insulting everybody that signed that petition that we couldn’t read.”
Burkes also said the attorney claimed people who signed could’ve been confused and thought they were actually signing a petition for another controversial zoning issue near 15th and Bryant, also known as “Save Hafer Park”.
“We kept the legalese that to the nth degree, with a big legalese stapled to the top of our petitions,” said Burkes. “And at those special events, we even had different t shirts like the people that were working on the I-35 had yellow T-shirts. The people that were working at the other one had green T-shirts.”
In a letter obtained by KFOR, the developer’s attorney reached out to those who signed the petition, asking them if they wanted to retract their signature.
“Asks them if they were confused in what they signed, which in my mind is leading the witness,” Burkes says.
She also believers it’s voter intimidation.
Wednesday, a judge will either dismiss the lawsuit, leading to Edmond voters deciding if the apartment complex should be built, or the judge could rule in favor of the developer and let construction begin.
News 4 reached out to both Case and Associates LLC and the attorney’s office twice. So far, we have not heard back.
The hearing is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday morning in Courtroom 709.