Legal challenge filed over Yukon rezoning denial

Property owner sues City of Yukon after council vote rejecting industrial use at SH-66 site

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By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

EL RENO – A legal challenge has been filed over the Yukon City Council’s recent decision to deny a property rezoning request on State Highway 66.

Attorneys representing manager Tyler Williams of Williams Family Investments LLC on Aug. 11 filed a civil suit against the City of Yukon in Canadian County District Court.

“Plaintiff brings this action challenging the city council’s decision on July 20, 2021, to deny plaintiff’s application for rezoning,” according to the petition, signed by attorneys Armando J. Rosell and Stacy S. Ramdas.

“The city council’s decision to deny the appeal/application was arbitrary, unreasonable and capricious (and) bears no reasonable relation to the public health, safety, morals or general welfare.”

The city council, by a 5-0 vote at its July 20th meeting, denied Williams Family Investments’ appeal of the planning commission’s April 12th denial to rezone a 57.25-acre property for industrial use.

The applicant had sought the City of Yukon’s permission to rezone vacant land on the north side of SH-66 east of Cimarron Road from A (agriculture) to I-2 (heavy industrial).

Williams Family Investments since October 2013 has owned this property, which is between SH-66 and the Union Pacific Railroad and less than one-half mile from Interstate 40.

Yukon City Council members unanimously rejected the applicant’s appeal last month after hearing from neighbors concerned about large truck traffic and a proposed soil mining operation – which requires a conditional use permit.

Several nearby property owners attended the July 20th Yukon City Council meeting to protest the application.

“The group of protestors was spearheaded by Honorable Judge Jack McCurdy, who spoke at the meeting on behalf of the protestors,” according to the plaintiff’s suit.

“The city council did not base its decision of denial upon its adopted planning policies, the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, the basic physical facts of the property and surrounding area, or reasonable or legitimate grounds. The city council denied plaintiff’s application, in part, on the unreasonable and arbitrary grounds that a large number of neighbors opposed the application.

“City council may not confuse the right to be heard with the idea that the party who shouts the loudest deserves to prevail.”

VOICING OPPOSITION

Jack D. McCurdy II, a lifelong Yukon resident and a Canadian County district judge, told city council members July 20 that the applicant wanted the zoning change to allow a dirt-mining operation.

McCurdy warned about dust-filled nuisances, traffic hazards and road damage this would cause. He lives on the south side of SH-66 across from the subject property.

McCurdy even predicted the SH-66 site would ultimately become an “oilfield junkyard” once the dirt mining ended and the property was sold or leased “to the highest bidder.”

McCurdy made it clear he was speaking at the council meeting as a property owner – not in any official capacity.

“We as homeowners in this area bought this land to get out of the city, to have some solitude and to not have to look at nuisance right across the street, right behind or to the side of our houses,” he said. “We have a right to the peaceful enjoyment of our homes and our properties.”

McCurdy told city officials he didn’t believe the rezoning request would generate any income for the City of Yukon and could end up being a blemish on historic Route 66.

Several other nearby homeowners voiced opposition during the city council and planning commission meetings.

‘CONSISTENT AND COMPATIBLE’

In the suit challenging the Yukon City Council’s action, Williams Family Investments states it “seeks to rezone the property to allow for industrial development on the property” consistent with Yukon’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

The plaintiff, through its attorneys, points out its rezoning application is “consistent and compatible” with the land use pattern of the general surrounding area.

The Yukon Comprehensive Plan designates this site for “Employment development,” according to a staff report by city planner Cindy Wright.

“The Employment designation identifies land that has the potential to support future employment and industrial development,” Wright’s report reads.

“Based on the proposed use and the proposed plat, staff feels that the proposed application is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the character of the area (current and future industrial development along Interstate 40 and its surrounds).”

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