By Conrad Dudderar
A developer is suing the City of Oklahoma City to challenge its city council’s decision to deny rezoning property just east of Yukon for a proposed mobile home park.
Dact LLC is plaintiff in a petition for rezoning filed Sept. 30 in Canadian County District Court. Attorneys David M. Box, Cooper T. Hahn and Mason J. Schwartz represent the developer.
The Oklahoma City Council, at an Aug. 31st meeting, voted 6-2 to reject applicant David Syler’s request to rezone 51.5 acres of land north of Old Highway 4 and west of the Kilpatrick Turnpike to allow a new manufactured home community.
“The City Council’s decision to deny the application was based on factors not appropriate for consideration in zoning and land use matters,” according to the 11-page petition. “The City Council’s decision to deny the application was arbitrary, unreasonable and capricious.
“The City Council’s decision to deny the application bears no reasonable relation to the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare.”
The applicant contends this rezoning request is “consistent and compatible” with the land use pattern of the general surrounding area, constitutes a reasonable zoning designation for the property and conforms with Oklahoma City’s Comprehensive Plan.
The Oklahoma City Council has not approved any new manufactured home communities in more than 20 years.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s attorneys argue the city council’s refusal to approve new manufactured home communities:
- Serves to artificially impose a moratorium on such communities and developments thereof despite no such moratorium being adopted by ordinance or other municipal action;
- Is contrary to adopted zoning ordinances; and
- Is contrary to the polices and goals of the (Oklahoma City) Comprehensive Plan.
Dact, LLC had proposed developing about 250 manufactured home lots as part of the new development. The corner of the property was proposed for commercial use.
The undeveloped site – now zoned I-2 (moderate industrial district) – is in Oklahoma City’s Ward 1.
Several dozen Ward 1 residents attended city council hearings to oppose the application.
“I just don’t want to see people taken advantage of,” Ward 1 City Council Member Bradley Carter said. “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 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 both the manufactured housing and commercial uses.
He told city council members this new manufactured home community would provide “quality affordable, workforce housing” in a clean, structured environment.
These would be two-, three- and four-bedroom factory-built homes with three-car driveways, Syler added. There would be professionally trained management and maintenance crews on-site.
Syler has developed other mobile home parks in Oklahoma City, including one further east on N.W. 10th in eastern Canadian County.
In their lawsuit, attorneys for the developer state the Oklahoma City Council did not base its decision “upon its adopted planning policies, the basic physical facts of the property and surrounding area, nor any other legitimate consideration in determining whether to approve a rezoning application.”
Attorney Box, before the council voted Aug. 31 to deny the request, referred to neighboring residents who attended the meeting to oppose the rezoning.
“City Council may not confuse the right to be heard with the idea that the party who shouts the loudest deserves to prevail,” he said.