The rezoning of a piece of property near I-35 and Memorial is in the balance, even though the property owner doesn’t want it to be rezoned anymore.
“The only real vote would be a ‘no’ on this issue,” said Edmond resident, Paula Burkes.
The issue is question 3832, also known as “the pink sheet,” which will appear on Edmond ballots Tuesday.
It asks the voters if they want to rezone land just north of Memorial Road off the I-35 Service Road for an apartment complex.
“Supposedly there’s no other alternative, even though it’s a moot issue,” Burkes said. “So vote ‘no’ on the pink sheet.”
Burkes, along with over 4,300 others signed petitions in June of 2021 to bring the referendum to the ballot box. This was after the city council voted to approve the rezoning that April.
Roughly one year later, property owner Frank Battle decided to let his contract for the apartments expire as citizens became concerned.
He ended up signing a new contract to do a commercial development there.
“It just bounced around from one side to the other as to which way to go, but we had to go ahead and switch rather than fight,” Battle said over the phone Monday.
“If he changed his mind because he listened to us citizens about increased traffic, overcrowded classrooms, that’s not the place for apartments,” Burkes said.
If voted yes to rezone for multi-family housing, Battle would have to go back in with a plan to rezone it again to retail general commercial. That process can take a couple months.
“I’m just pleading for a no vote, so I can go ahead and go on with my life,” Battle said. “It’s been in limbo for about 19 months now.”
Still, the question is on the ballot. City leaders say state statute requires that. City Councilmember Josh Moore has been an advocate along with fellow councilmember David Chapman.
Moore sent KFOR a statement:
I have no intention of making the situation harder for the land owner at Memorial and I-35. The last year has been stressful enough. However, the referendum question on the ballot is whether or not the Planning Commission and City Council’s decision to approve multi-family zoning at this location was valid? Considering the facts that Edmond needs to add all types of housing as we grow, and especially along the I-35 corridor, I’ve felt like it’s necessary to explain the reasoning behind our zoning approval to the citizens of Edmond.Josh Moore, Edmond City Councilmember Ward 2
Moore has also written articles on the situation, like one letter to the editor in Edmond Life & Leisure where he discusses housing statistics in Edmond among other things.
However, opponents believe a ‘no’ vote is still the way to go.
“Vote ‘no’ on the pink sheet,” Burkes said.
Battle said his commercial contract ends after Jan. 31, so, if the measure passes with a ‘yes’ vote, he will have time to go back and resubmit to rezone it for commercial development purposes.