Owasso could lose millions in sales tax revenue after projects delayed

OWASSO, Okla. - City officials say Owasso could lose out on tens of millions in sales tax revenue and a developer says the city could lose new residents after the city council failed to approve three development projects last week.

The projects included a new vet clinic, hotel and subdivision.

Chris Kelley is co-owner of the Small Animal Hospital of Owasso. He is behind efforts to build the new vet clinic, which would be located across the street from his current office.

"We've been planning it well over a year now," said Kelley.

The clinic would include a bigger facility, complete with a doggy daycare, swimming pool and park.

"[We] spent hundreds and hundreds of hours of work put into coming up with this concept and frankly a large sum of money," said Kelley.

A member of the city council, Kelley recused himself during the vote on the vet clinic to avoid a conflict of interest.

But the clinic, along with the subdivision and hotel, failed to get enough votes for approval.

Two councilors voted against all three projects.

One of the councilors, Charlie Brown, said he wanted more answers about the financial relationship between the city manager, Rodney Ray, and the Owasso Land Trust. The Owasso Land Trust is involved in the subdivision project and sold property to developers of the other two projects in recent years.

Brown said Ray owed Owasso Land Trust thousands of dollars in lease payments for a family business.

Ray said he has been forthcoming and there is no conflict of interest.

But Brown said he is not satisfied with the information Ray provided the council with concerning his relationship with the trust.

Kelley said he and his partners are looking at their options.

"We haven't really decided how to proceed. We're just discussing the options," said Kelley.

One of the developers of the subdivision told councilors at a special meeting last week that families who had agreed to move to the new subdivision once it's completed, were now thinking about moving elsewhere.

The projects aren't able to move forward for six months, or until a new council is seated in May.

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