By Jon Watje
Oklahoma City will not deannex two square miles of land just south of Mustang.
The OKC City Council last week voted 5-4 to deny the deannexation of the land that sits between SW 89th and SW 119th and between Mustang Road and Sara Road (both sides of Hwy. 4). Land owners there petitioned Oklahoma City to deannex the land so it could be annexed into the City of Mustang and provided with urban services.
“The original development concept was large estate homes, now modified to include suburban densities and commercial (1,550 to 2,200 residential units, 55,000 sq. foot of commercial),” said OKC Senior Planner Ken Bryan. “The assumption was that the City of Mustang would annex and provide services and land use, zoning, and density would be determined by the City of Mustang.”
Oklahoma City received the petition in April of 2015 saying the area was to be developed as a large residential ‘estate’ subdivision by long-time Mustang developer Robert Crout. In November of 2015, a revised, fully executed petition was submitted to Oklahoma City. The revised petition included a modified concept for the development of the area.
The petition was deferred several times before the Oklahoma City Planning Commission recommended that the deannexation be approved with certain conditions related to clarification of rights-of-way and other items that should be the subject of an agreement between Mustang and Oklahoma City.
A second petition was submitted in December of 2016, which includes 220 acres and 12 residential units on 70 acres.
On Tuesday, April 11 the OKC City Council addressed the item on their agenda.
“The pros to deannexation of this land would be to potentially avoid $70,700 a year in service costs,” Bryan said. “The cons are forgoing $190,000 to $550,000 a year in property and sales tax revenue and the loss of control over zoning and density. There would also be a loss of rural character and it could set a precedent and pressure other areas to deannex.”
Bryan told the City Council of some alternatives they could look at regarding the issue.
“Southwest Oklahoma City is in a pretty dynamic situation,” he said. “We are looking at some strategies for expanding infrastructure in this area, maybe not this far yet.”
OKC Ward 3 City Councilman Larry McAtee represents the area in question.
“One of the things that is missing is the fact that there is a shoebox of land that sits in the southwest sector of Oklahoma City. That shoebox is called Mustang,” McAtee said. “I think we need to think of what is best for the metropolitan area. There are no long-range plans to bring urban-type services to this plot of land. It sits across the street from the city that says they are willing to supply these services under negotiations that will be between Oklahoma City and Mustang and the applicant which is part of the annexation project.”
OKC planning staff reported to the City Council that the City of Mustang already passes a resolution in support of the project.
“From my perspective, this would be a no-brainer for development of the kind the applicant wants to do,” McAtee said. “I am very much in favor of this and think it’s a win-win situation for everybody.”
However, McAtee did not received the support he was hoping for in regards to the project.
OKC Ward 1 Councilman James Greiner said he did not like the plan and said it did nothing good for Oklahoma City.
“I am not against deanexing areas, but we need to do what’s best for the city,” Greiner said. “I want the metro to be as good as it possibly can be. To me, when you read the benefits and the cost, it is clear to me that this is not a good deal for Oklahoma City.”
Greiner said he believed the project would put more stress on infrastructure in the area.
“It will create a lot of pressure on our infrastructure because it will increase people being here and driving there,” he said. “A lot of the infrastructure pressure we have now is because of people going to Mustang.
The OKC Planning staff told the Council the City is very large and has difficulties providing services to outline areas. Data showed that police and fire services were difficult to provide in those areas.
However, several Councilman were hesitant on approving the plan. Some of them argued that although the area in question is very rural, Oklahoma City’s comprehensive plan has been in place for a reason and the city could lose out on future sales tax dollars.
“I think the council would open up a door for similar proposals to sprout up all over the 620 square miles of the city,” said Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid. “That sales tax could happen in decades to come. This is more important than any ordinance we have voted on and this is our first meeting on this. This needs a workshop and it requires a broader policy discussion before you decided on one development.”
“It is not a good long-term plan at all,” Greiner said. “I would be more in support of extending all of Mustang south to the river. This benefits the property owners and the City of Mustang, and I am certain that it does not benefit the City of Oklahoma City or the other residents in Oklahoma City that live close to this area.”
Greiner mentioned a case in which the City of Yukon annexed some of Oklahoma City’s land.
“In the Yukon case, that benefited everybody involved,” he said. “I will vote to deny this.”
Before the Council voted on the issue, Councilman McAtee made one more statement.
“One of the things that I am very proud of in Oklahoma is that we have an individual property rights orientation and I think people have the right to develop their property within certain parameters the way they see fit,” McAtee said. “I am very passionate in asking everyone else to approve this also.”
The item was not approved by a vote of 5-4 (Greiner, Shadid, Greenwell, Salyer and Pettis voting ‘No’ and McAtee, Cornett, Stone and Stonecipher voting ‘Yes’).