What is the Sapulpa Planning Commission?

The Sapulpa Planning Commission is the zoning authority of the City. Formerly known as the Sapulpa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission and jointly run by the City and County, it is now a 7-member recommending body of the City Council that makes decisions on any type of land-use change. These changes range from small lot splits to large subdivision developments, and also include Planned Unit Developments, Specific Use Permits, and land rezoning. 

The commission currently includes Chairman Andrew Probst, Vice-Chairman Lou Martin, Jr., Julie Longoria, Hunter Edwards, Kayla Parnell, Jasson Brook, and Carla Stinnett. 

Anyone who wishes to make any type of land-use change should first speak with the Department of Urban Development and then fill out an application. According to the 2030 Sapulpa Comprehensive Plan, if a “zoning or rezoning application is submitted that is not in accordance with the 2030 Plan, a public hearing should be held to consider such an application a request to amend the 2030 Plan.” 

Urban Development Director Nikki Howard researches each of these applications and compiles a staff report to present to the Commission at its monthly meeting. Her report contains details of the property in question (such as the address, owner’s name, and existing use), applicable zoning codes, an explanation of the request, surrounding land use and zoning, the future designation of the property in the comprehensive plan, the applicant’s justifications for the requested change, a statement as to whether or not there are public comments or opposition, the official staff recommendation to the commission to approve or deny the application, and attachments, which might comprise of vicinity, zoning, or satellite maps of the property, drawings, renderings, plans, photos or any other applicable supporting documentation. 

At the Planning Commission meeting, Howard presents each application on the agenda and explains whether or not she and her staff support the item and why. The Commission is able to ask Howard and City Inspector Mark Stephens questions about the request and to peruse the packet including all of the relevant documentation. Abiding by the comprehensive plan’s designation is the most important consideration and strongly affects their decision. 

After the introduction to the application, the Commission gives the applicant the opportunity to address them and to answer any questions they have. These questions can cover a variety of topics including the applicant’s intended use for the property, expected traffic flow, security measures, proximity to certain types of businesses or other residences, the reasoning for choosing that particular location, or their experience in the business to take place there, among others.  

Next, any members of the public—typically neighbors—are able to speak to the Commission in support of or in opposition to the application. They may be asked questions and may bring documentation to support their argument. 

After hearing from the staff, the applicant, and the public, the Commission usually engages in a discussion. After each member comes to a conclusion a motion is made to recommend to the City Council approval as submitted, approval with amendments, approval subject to modification, or denial of the application, the motion is seconded (and if not the motion fails and another motion must be made), and a vote is taken. The application has then passed or failed and the City Council will be notified of the decision.  

If it fails, the applicant has 15 days to file an appeal with the City Clerk’s office, and then they may argue their claim before the full City Council at the next regular City Council meeting. 

The Planning Commission meets every fourth Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. 

For more information on zoning issues or changes or to fill out an application see the zoning code or visit the City of Sapulpa website. You may also call the Urban Development department at 918-224-3040. 

You may also view Sapulpa’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan in its entirety on the website. 

E. B. Thompson

E. B. Thompson

Born and raised in Sapulpa, Elizabeth has a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and is a former banker. She is thrilled to be back in her hometown with her husband Michael and to be contributing to The Sapulpa Times.