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Tulsa residents speak up on Neighborhood Infill Overlay plan

Posted at 7:02 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 17:55:04-04

TULSA, Okla.  — City and county planners are trying to provide more housing options around the Downtown Tulsa area.

They are proposing a Neighborhood Infill Overlay for surrounding neighborhoods, but it is getting mixed reactions from residents of these historic neighborhoods. People living in the neighborhoods that surround downtown showed up at a meeting Wednesday to have their voices heard.

As the city of Tulsa grows and new developments come to downtown, The Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission is looking for opportunities to expand housing. As part of that vision, it proposed a Neighborhood Infill Overlay or NIO, which would place multi-family residential housing in traditional single family home neighborhoods.

“I support this because I think that increasing density is necessary generally, but especially around areas with essential business like Tulsa or downtown Tulsa," Robert McClendon, Owen Park Resident said.

A vast majority of his neighbors showed up to express their opposition. Among them, Virginia Harrison, who has lived in the Owens Park Neighborhood for almost 30 years. She said the multi-family homes would change her neighborhood's character and bring unwanted changes.

“The crime goes up statistically in neighborhoods that have a lot of the multi-family housing and we can’t handle the parking in these tiny little streets, you know the firetrucks and ambulances can’t even get by if you park on both sides of the streets if you have more people living in this neighborhood,” Harrison said.

Crosby Heights resident, Fletcher Stewart, said he favors the proposal.

“The challenges that face our neighborhood, are not the same that face other downtown neighborhoods, like Owen Park," Stewart said.

He said he supports the vision for growth and opportunity the NIO would bring to his community. “All these vacant lots, Downtown's continued growth, all of that make Crossby heights and ideal place for this missing middle housing,” Fletcher said.

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