Friday, January 20, 2012

DDRC: Large surface parking lot approved yesterday

It's so hard sometimes to keep up with the incompetent planning organs of this city that things slip through the cracks. I first saw that a large new surface parking lot was approved at NW 6th and Walker, from developers claiming a "need" for parking in this area?? Wow, I have no idea what 6th and Walker they're talking about, but that's news to me.

Nonetheless, it also appears that the planning recommendation was faulty, overlooked some obvious things, and helped push this permit through the process with little actual scrutiny. Read again: Little actual scrutiny.

Here is a letter that was included in the information on this project (as are most letters forwarded to Scottye Montgomery, who is the clerk for the DDRC). This letter is written by Dr. Lovallo, who I believe resides in SoSA (someone correct me if I'm wrong), which is the new district of modernist abodes "South of Saint Anthony" or essentially directly behind this new massive surface parking lot. To say that he has a stake in the appearance and development of Walker would be an understatement, but without further ado, his letter which says it all:

Dear Scottye,

I am asking that my comments be placed in the record for the hearing on this case.

I examined the parcel in question using Google Street View.

I found that the staff report is inaccurate in at least three (3) respects:

1) I was surprised to discover that the borders of the parcel facing Walker and facing 6th Street are effectively level with those streets. The only significant grade is at the SE corner near the alley.

2) I also note that the parcel has been built on in the past, with what appears to have been a house, indicated by the presence of steps facing Walker and a disused driveway entrance off of 5th.. Since the parcel was once suitable for construction, it should still be suitable for future construction. As noted by Lee Peoples, there are several houses in the immediate area that are built on much more imposing slopes, often with striking designs.

3) The staff report statement that the parking lot would be "somewhat obscured from view of pedestrians and drivers along Walker Ave" is patently incorrect. A pedestrian viewing that parcel from Walker or 5th would have a clear view of any parking lot.

Therefore, I cannot concur with the City Planning report that this minor elevation change at the alley makes the parcel suitable for a parking lot and unsuitable for other development. In fact this is a prime site on Walker. The staff report is misleading as written.

I request that the Downtown Design Review Committee reject this application.

Best regards,


William R. Lovallo, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
VA Medical Center (151A)
921 NE 13th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

By the way, if you happen to come across our development standards on the ground there, could you please pick them up for us? Thanks.

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