By Conrad Dudderar
A site proposed for a mobile home park just east of Yukon was simply the wrong place for more housing, opponents declared this week.
The Oklahoma City Council, at an Aug. 31st meeting, rejected a request to rezone now-vacant property north of Old Highway 4 and west of the Kilpatrick Turnpike to allow a new manufactured home community.
Applicant Dact, LLC had proposed developing about 250 mobile home lots west of the Kilpatrick Turnpike and north of Old Highway 4.
The undeveloped site – zoned I-2 (moderate industrial district) – is in Oklahoma City’s Ward 1. Several dozen Ward 1 residents attended recent council hearings to oppose developer David Syler’s application.
“I just don’t want to see people taken advantage of,” Ward 1 City Council Member Bradley Carter said after the Aug. 31st meeting. “This wasn’t one of those cases that was being done on the ‘up and up’ and we just wanted to be sure we presented it as such.”
Council members’ research and past experiences helped “validate the residents’ concerns,” he added.
Carter referred to the impact the proposed manufactured home project would have had on Yukon Public Schools. The site is inside YPS boundaries, not far from Yukon High School.
“The Yukon school district stood by the fact they would never turn a child away and would always be there to educate and help children,” Carter added. “That’s their focus and goal.
“But we don’t want to put a strain on a system that’s already taxed.”
Syler, of S.W. 15th Terrace in Yukon, was seeking a planned unit development (PUD) zoning designation to allow manufactured housing on much of the property, as well as commercial uses on the corner.
Syler has developed other mobile home parks in Oklahoma City, including one further east on N.W. 10th in eastern Canadian County.
‘LOVELY DRAWINGS AND PICTURES’
Some elected officials and residents were worried that if rezoning was approved, the applicant would revise its development plan to permit more mobile home lots.
“They had lovely drawings and nice pictures, but they could have put in 500 units,” said Suzanne Cannon, a Sun Valley Acres’ homeowner.
Cannon, who lives within a quarter mile, expressed appreciation to Carter and other Oklahoma City council members for their support.
She publicly voiced her opposition to the mobile home development and concerns about existing infrastructure in far west Oklahoma City.
The project had been proposed along a two-lane stretch of Old Highway 4 near a turnpike, railroad tracks and existing subdivisions.
“It was a bad location for a new housing addition,” Cannon said. “It was just a bad location all the way around for everybody – for the people who would have lived there and for those of us who live close by.
“The drainage is poor there and city services are ‘spread thin’ in the far outreaches of Oklahoma City.”
Cannon, a three-term YPS Board of Education member, was further concerned about the impact having that many new homes would have on the school district.
“Bringing in another 250 to 500 kids – that’s another whole school,” she said. “We’re just not in a position to be able to take an influx of students like that right now.
“We’re in the fastest growing county in the state, and we’re already inundated. Although I was opposed, that had absolutely nothing to do with the students. Our job, our mission and our calling are to educate all the children. We love all of the kids, no matter where they live.”
TIME TO DE-ANNEX?
Oklahoma City Ward 6 Council Member JoBeth Hamon voted against Carter’s motion to deny the rezoning request at the Oct. 31st meeting. The motion passed 6-2.
Before the vote was taken, Hamon addressed Ward 1 residents in the audience who were opposing the Old Highway 4 mobile home project.
“Write to your state lawmakers, write to your federal lawmakers, write to your city councilors and ask them to dedicate money to helping people become homeowners,” she said, noting that existing housing aid programs “run out of money” quickly.
People who live in manufactured housing don’t have the “access or assistance” to live in developments with “$300,000 homes” and “build that generational wealth”, Hamon told residents. “This is a middle step for them or could be.
“There’s so many people who are locked out of (owning a plot of land) because they’re working low-wage jobs and they cannot save money to put a down payment on a $300,000 home.”
Hamon pointed out that the City of Oklahoma City doesn’t benefit much from property taxes collected on new housing.
“We run on sales tax,” she noted. “More homes, more structures in some of the broader reaches of the city don’t serve my constituents. People who are living in denser areas are subsidizing folks who get to live out in the corners of the city.”
Hamon pleaded with concerned residents to write city officials in municipalities like Yukon and Mustang that don’t allow new manufactured home developments “and ask them to have a conversation about de-annexation.”
“Because if you want to have control over zoning of those lands, then you need to take the responsibility of the water, the sewer, the police, the fire,” she said.