Saturday, January 14, 2012

Heritage Hills, a very special interest

Just a real quick observation: It seems as though the Heritage Hills fuss over The Edge @ Midtown has now gotten more legitimate attention and consideration than we poor, lowly SandRidge protesters ever got. And certainly more attention than the backlash against Chris Johnson's horrendous Bricktown Canal parking project (on that one, I admittedly did little because I couldn't even fathom the BUDC would approve it).

But let's get back to Heritage Hills. This is a neighborhood that has a history of meddling with the redevelopment of the Mercy Hospital site. Back before the 2008 bust, when OCURA went through its first round of RFPs for this site, it was once again Heritage Hills that some feel got to call the shots. Wiggin's ridiculous "Overholser Green" proposal beat out Marva Ellard's edgier "Mercy Park" proposal (to be fair, I believe Ellard resides in HH/MP) because of a concerted desire to go with the more subdued, traditional, all-residential development. As hard as it is to believe today, there was a legitimate backlash in that decision against mixed-use.

This was back when I was running, which I used to argue for Overholser Green even. I believe back then I had a certain admiration (and willingness to believe anything) for the elite residents of Heritage Hills. I think it's a fairly normal thought process in our society to think that, "Well these are successful people, so I'm going to side with them." It's as wrong as anything. It's wrong because you're letting someone else, and their interests, decide for you--needless to say I'm over that thought process, but let's just say I fully understand how pervasive it is, especially in Oklahoma.

Now it seems that the Heritage Hills folks are at it again in opposing this project due to concerns that it will weaken their water pressure. Here you have an organized group of neighbors, regardless of whatever level of involvement the actual neighborhood association has (and I understand that they do have an official stance against this development??), who are essentially opposed to the quality infill that OKC so desperately needs because they think it will affect their morning showers. I've heard it all when it comes to urban design and infill, but this is certainly a new one.

There have also been many complaints to the city (officially recorded) that accuse this development of being Section 8 housing (rents will start at $1,000 a month, sounds like Sec. 8 to me). You know it's bad when a group of elitists are playing so fast and furious with the facts that Steve Lackmeyer has to write a blog post titled, "When facts get in the way." They've raised a storm over the density, especially. Pete Brzycki pointed out that this development is essentially equally as dense as the hospital that was originally on this site.

I'll go one further though. The Heritage Hills elitists, and their admirers (which as I've already admitted, did include me at a time I was very young and malleable) got the Overholser Green project chosen earlier. That was going to be around a 10-story condo tower. This will be 5 stories.

Not to mention, that when you live on streets that are numbered as low as 14th, 15th, 16th, etc.--there's a good chance that you may have to endure the tortuous and horrific trauma of having some stylish infill development near you. This one isn't even on their side of NW 13th, the busy four-lane thoroughfare that separates Mid-town from Heritage Hills.

For anyone who is truly interested in learning the facts on this development, which may be one of the highest-quality developments this city has seen in a while, here is an excellent fount of information (the DDRC agenda item regarding this development).

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