At February’s Creek County Planning Commission meeting, an application from Select Designs for a Planned Unit Development and preliminary plat for a new subdivision in Kiefer was heard. The project, named Childer’s Creek, for the creek that runs through the 25.5 acres on which it sits, drew a multitude of opponents, all from owners of neighboring pieces of land.
The single family housing development was to be south of Kiefer High School on the west side of South 49th West Avenue. Approximately twenty three 2,500 square foot houses would sit on half acre lots allowing for room for a 30-foot wide single-lane private street and a type of “water runoff storage” to act like a retention pond. The neighborhood would also include fire hydrants every 6 feet.
Planner Wendy Murray reported that all covenants and specifications of the addition met County standards and that she recommended approval of the application.
Engineer for the project, Aaron Hale, spoke to the Commission and said that he and the builders are working with Creek County’s Floodplain Administrator to ensure that there are no issues with additional stormwater runoff flooding Childer’s Creek itself, to the west of the development. Hale also stated that they intend to keep as many trees as possible and that the homes will use aerobic septic systems and not City sewer.
Five neighbors opposing the housing addition wished to speak. Chairman Randy Wood told them to keep in mind that the Planning Commission strictly handles zoning issues, and that if the project met those standards, it would likely be passed and go to a Board of County Commissioners meeting for final approval.
Neighbors’ primary concern involved stormwater runoff issues. One gentleman said his family has been at their property, to the northwest of the one in question, for over 70 years. He said that everyone along Childer’s Creek in Kiefer will be affected by any development near it and that they all “have a lot of skin in the game.” He alleged that they “can’t handle anymore runoff from the Creek” without it adversely affecting their existing properties.
Each speaker said that they were not opposed to progress or development, but cited stormwater runoff issues, concerns about wildlife, whether or not there would be enough space to safely hold aerobic septic system water heads for each home, and the myriad of gas, water, and oil lines that crisscross the land as reasons that this particular development should not go forward.
There was a discussion between the commissioners about what their role is. Wood stated that “the builders should take [these concerns] into account, but it’s not [the Planning Commission’s] decision to make.” Commissioner Goodwin spoke up, saying that although he empathized with the neighbors, “without owning that land, you can’t do anything about it.” Wood added that, although they may feel like they live in the middle of nowhere, “urban sprawl has taken you all over. Kiefer will be a city before long.”
Commissioner Carla Cale disagreed, and said, “We need to make decisions in the best interests of the County. Yes we take zoning into consideration, but also future land use…Our decisions affect property values. Runoff issues have future consequences. We must consider what’s best for the County.”
County Commissioner from District #2 and Planning Commissioner Leon Warner agreed with Cale, saying, “These water issues need to be handled. This is not the best use for this property.”
District #1 Commissioner Newt Stephens was in attendance, and he spoke to the Commission, saying he was there to represent constituents of his who opposed the development but could not attend the meeting. He said, “I’ve had multiple calls on this. There are some real issues,” including the plans for the septic systems.
Ultimately the application failed, with all but one Commissioner voting to deny it. Wood warned, “We may see this again,” and said that it could be appealed at the regular BOCC meeting on Monday.
Five other applications were approved at Tuesday’s meeting, including Deborah Howard’s request from last month to allow two mobile homes on two tracts of her Sapulpa property and that of CRM Construction, LLC’s, to allow a paint booth at their existing industrial property in Bristow.
All of these applications will be up for final approval at the regular BOCC meeting on Monday, February 22 at 9 a.m. in the Collins Ballroom at 317 East Lee.