The Woodward News

Local News

February 19, 2014

County turns down zoning requests

Woodward, Okla. — Two separate requests by owners for zoning changes on two separate properties were struck down in the Woodward County Commissioner's meeting Monday morning after several people showed up to protest.

A request for rezoning of two tracts of land that are located directly across from the recycling center on the northeast corner of NS 206 and EW43 was rejected in favor of the owner, Fisher-Baker LP., filing a new request to only change the zoning of the 46 acres the owner would like to sell.

The request was to rezone the tract of property from C-2 (general commercial) to I-2 (general industrial).

According to Carmen Collins, spokeswoman for Fisher-Baker LP., the property would ultimately be used by a "good company" who would build a large building there. She said the company would be good neighbors to those in the surrounding area.

When Collins further described the plans for the property, she found less objection, especially to the idea that she would only request to change the zoning of the 46 acres directly across from the recycling center.

A request by Louis Deviney for the rezoning of another property, located about a half a mile west on Hank's Trail (EW 42) from NS198 drew a vocal and contentious objections by the more 15 or so home owners who live in the area.

Deviney requested the property be rezoned from A-1 (general agricultural) to C-2 (general commercial).

But area residents stated the owner had already applied for a rezoning of the property about a year ago and was denied.

Deviney was not in attendance in the meeting.

Many of the residents cited increased traffic, much of it traffic they say is speeding and driving dangerously. They say the property in question is the cause of some of that traffic because of many who spend time on the property for social reasons.

Local property owner Shannon Rowland said she moved to the country because she wanted to live in a more isolated atmosphere. She and the other residents cite increased traffic that drives over the speed limit as one of their many concerns.

"I have lived on this land since 1979 and there are a lot more people who live out here now than then, but I for sure don't want to live around businesses," Rowland said. "I live in the country and that is where I want to be."

Commissioners voted to reject the request for rezoning of the property.

In other business, Commissioners discussed a possible request from the Woodward School District to serve as the trust authority for the recently passed bond issue.

According to Woodward Superintendent Tim Merchant, new state laws require that bond money won by school districts must pass through an authority that has been set up by either a city, state or county.

On behalf of Sharon-Mutual's recent passage of a bond issue, Woodward County recently set up the Woodward County Education Facilities Authority. Each commissioner serves as the authority trustees.

In that case, the authority basically acts as oversight for funds derived from the sale of bonds. So after the bank who is issuing the loan for the improvements cuts a check for that loan, the money would pass through the county authority and then on to  the school, who ultimately acts as the manager of those funds, Merchant said.

"It is the same thing we are asking the county's authority it set up already for Sharon-Mutual to do for us," Merchant said. "We just really need your help."

The  county authority would not be in any way burdened to actually sell bonds, perform bidding processes related to school construction projects, in any way manage the funds or even produce the paperwork needed to codify their role," said Jordan Smith, financial advisor for Woodward Schools.

The school district authorities and the bank would handle those functions, Smith said.

Smith represents Stephen L. Smith Corp., the financial firm that has represented Woodward School District for nearly 30 years.

Smith said once the Woodward County Education Facilities Authority signs the paperwork specific to their role, they need only stay abreast of any reports or updates they would like to receive from the school board on construction progress  and once a year, the authority would be responsible for having an audit performed, Smith said.

Woodward County Commissioner, District 3,  Vernie Matt made a request to Smith to produce a proposal requesting  Woodward County Education Facilities Authority to accept the role for Woodward School District.

Smith agreed to complete the proposal by the end of the week.

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