By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer
Planning commissioners will embark Tuesday on a mission to overhaul Muskogee’s zoning regulations.
Once approved, those regulations will breathe life into a comprehensive plan adopted almost seven months ago.
City planners expect to complete the review and revision process by mid-April, when they will begin a series of public hearings. Once the final details are hammered out after a period of public comment, commissioners will forward their recommendations to the City Council for further consideration and approval.
“This is something that has needed to be done for quite some time,” Planning Director Gary Garvin said, noting that he hopes the new regulations will win City Council approval by June 30. “There will be some big changes, and there may be some confusion, but it will get us up to date and more in line with the rest of the world.”
The overhaul of the zoning regulations is the second and final phase of what has been a three-year effort to develop a map toward Muskogee’s future. Garvin said the comprehensive plan and future land use map establish goals and objectives. Zoning regulations provide the means to meet the established criteria, he said.
Planning commissioners are scheduled to review the proposed zoning regulations during their next four meetings. Garvin said it may take an extra meeting or two because of the complexities of some sections.
Once recommended revisions are made, residents will have an opportunity to review and critique the proposals. Garvin has scheduled four public hearings while the regulations are pending before the planning commission.
“We want to address the things that might be out of line with what would be most beneficial to the city and then open it up for public comment,” he said. “We have some good consultants, but some of the ideas presented might not be the best fit for Muskogee.”
Garvin said some of the most significant changes expected will involve the proposed reduction of zoning districts, site development plans and landscaping. The draft proposal would reduce the number of zoning districts to 13 from 23, resulting with more acceptable uses within each district type.
Proposals that address site development plans and landscaping requirements also present significant changes. Garvin described current landscaping regulations as “very weak.” Proposed changes in that area would “make it where there is a lot more green space,” he said.
Any changes to the city’s zoning codes would affect only new construction or properties where the use or ownership changes after regulations are adopted, he said.
Planning commissioners will begin the review process when they meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday during their regular meeting in the City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Municipal Building.
Commissioners typically meet the first and third Monday of the month, but the recognition of Presidents’ Day delayed the next meeting.
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or email@example.com.
If you go
WHAT: Muskogee Planning Commission regular meeting.
WHEN: 9 a.m. Tuesday.
WHERE: City Council Chambers, third floor, Muskogee Municipal Building, 229 W. Okmulgee Ave.