By Mindy Ragan Wood
The battle over a planned Habitat for Humanity development has been set back after nearby home owners expressed their opposition.
A zoning request hearing was scheduled for Dec. 13 at the Oklahoma City Planning Commission but was moved to Feb. 20 after Stoneridge Farms Home Owners Association hired attorney Eric Groves.
The planned development would be built along N. Morgan Road near Memorial Road and would add 497 homes over a 15-year period, or about 45 homes a year.
“We’re hoping that things work out,” Habitat for Humanity Chief Executive Officer Ann Felton said. “I don’t think, at this level, we’ve encountered resistance like this before.”
Felton added Habitat for Humanity had never tried to locate a development in an area challenged by poor infrastructure. The roads are in need of repair and the intersections of Memorial and Morgan roads are blocked during school traffic hours.
Stoneridge HOA President Darren Christenson describes the traffic and roads as dangerous. The intersection is blocked to the extent that first responders cannot get through while parents are lined up to pick up and drop off their children. Students walk from the nearby Stoneridge Elementary and are picked up in residential neighborhoods or on the side of the road.
“It’s amazing there hasn’t been an accident,” Christenson said.
That’s not the only objection to the development.
“They’ve (Habitat) got only two exits for the plat,” he said. “One of those lets out into our addition so that means school traffic will be going through there too.”
The schools are another matter of concern. Stoneridge Elementary will soon accommodate a large housing addition that has been approved for the southwest corner of NW 122 and County Line Road, less than three miles around the corner from the proposed Habitat for Humanity development.
Christenson had previously said that the HOA had not opposed any nearby development and that he was not aware of the 122nd and County Line addition before it was approved.
“It’s going to be big,” he said. “They’re cutting in a lot of roads for it.”
Other homeowners are worried that their $200,000 home values will plummet if Habitat for Humanity’s $130,000 homes are built. Christenson said it wouldn’t matter who moves down the road, the issue remains critical infrastructure and the safety of the road’s travelers.
Felton was hopeful Oklahoma City would fix the infrastructure problems.
“We’re hopeful. We’ve worked well with Oklahoma City for the last 30 years,” she said.
If Habitat does receive approval to rezone the area from agricultural to residential, Felton said Stoneridge will have good neighbors from Habitat. A letter to Felton from the assistant principle of Cooper Middle School in Oklahoma City praises the families for maintaining their homes and being good citizens of the school.
“We’ve been good neighbors,” Felton said of other housing additions. “The people whose neighborhoods abut to ours come and volunteer.”