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City of Jenks addresses concerns involving proposed unified development ordinance

Posted at 7:48 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 07:48:39-05

TULSA, Okla. — Leaders in Jenks are changing zoning laws. They said they are doing it to preserve the history of the city as it grows.

They proposed the changes Wednesday night in a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) meeting.

“Jenks is an amazing community. We have a lot of really amazing properties, that we have a great downtown,” Marcae Hilton, planning director for the City of Jenks said.

As the city of Jenks looks ahead to the future, it's considering opportunities for growth.

“Redevelopment is going to be very critical for the city of Jenks because we have an amazing downtown and I think that moving forward, developers are going to be interested," Hilton said. "They’re going to want to be a part of what’s happening in Jenks.”

Planning for redevelopment began all the way back in 2019. Now, the city has begun the second phase, the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), a new term for rezoning.

“The developers that come into the community, want to know what the rules are,” Hilton said.

Hilton said the city wants to make clear what developers can and can't change downtown. Right now, that list is still in the works. However, she said it could include eliminating land uses like drive-thrus, gas stations, as well as multi-tenant retail, like shopping centers, that don't match the style of the area. Businesses that require wholesaling and storage materials could also join that list.

Some neighbors are not happy because they said they were not involved enough with the process.

“The city did not effectively communicate to the landowners, the homeowners within that oldtown area, that’s all that I can attest to,” Jenks resident, Elizabeth Allen said.

Allen said other residents also worry the changes will damage property values and take away the small-town feel they love about Jenks.

“If I can do 100 things with a piece of property and now, I can only do five, it’s going to lower your property value,” she said.

March 3rd is when the final draft will be presented to the planning commission. It will be open to the public so neighbors can voice concerns. The public is also welcome to attend the city council hearing in April, that's members will cast the final votes.

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