Edmond commission tables zoning changes for rental houses

EDMOND — Anger filled the room as community members voiced opposition to proposed changes in the zoning code for houses being rented out by the room to college students and others.

During Tuesday night’s planning commission meeting, several community members beat their hands on the podium as they told the commissioners the changes are not what residents in Edmond want.

The changes would require single-family homes that are going to be rented out by the room to undergo a process to get a specific use permit when built in the future.

“A special use permit is much more difficult to get,” Planning Commission Chairman Barry Moore said. It also requires an extra $150 payment.

It also would have required 1.5 parking spaces per bedroom and no front yard parking lots or on-street parking.

The proposed changes arose after two homes were built on the southwest corner of Third Street and University Drive and were rented to multiple people.

The buildings meet all the requirements now in place by the city. But, City Attorney Stephen Murdock proposed the changes to the code after residents complained.

The planning commission voted 5-0 to indefinitely table the item, but Murdock said residents need to contact him about their issues.

He made the point that residents had one month to contact him when the change came up in September, but very few did.

“I wish I had the opportunity to meet with you guys before this,” Murdock said. “This is adding an extra level of protection.”

Any change in the zoning requirements would not affect any properties already developed.

“We did not know this was going to be a motel five,” said Bill Snyder, who lives near the houses being rented out. “Mr. Murdock and I have had some lively conversations up to this point.”

He said residents there continually were parking on the street before the city put up “no parking” signs, and they were leaving their trash cans in the driveway.

“There are no true single-family homes in Edmond anymore,” Snyder said, referring to changes in the ordinances that happened in 2015.

Snyder also is requesting that single-family homes be required to be nonprofits, which was removed from the ordinance in 2015.

“I can tell you that Mr. Murdock’s motives were pure and that he only wanted the best for the city,” Moore said.

Both houses are rented by college students, and the students said the neighbors should be more understanding.

“It has been a bit excessive,” said Michael Masterson, a junior at the University of Central Oklahoma, who was there at the property with friends on Tuesday night.

Other concerns

Nearly a hundred people showed up for the meeting, with most being from Coffee Creek near the former golf course, who fear this type of housing could be put in near them.

Moore tried to reassure the residents the owner of the former Coffee Creek Golf course has no current plans submitted to the city to develop the area.

“It is a disaster, an absolute disaster for the neighborhoods,” said Jim Forrest, who lives in Coffee Creek but owns rental houses.

The city is not allowed to restrict homeowners from renting rooms in their single-family dwellings, Murdock said.

“We are done. We are toast,” Snyder said.

No timetable has been set on when the issue will return to the agenda, Murdock said, but he hopes to come back with a report after meeting with concerned citizens.


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