Fair price

You accurately
depict the feeling of a temporary victory in a battle in a long war for
the neighborhood, but I’m not sure you captured the flavor of the war
itself. I attended several community meetings held by the JFK
Neighborhood Association and those hosted by OKC, and I attended the OKC
Planning Commission meetings at which the proposed PUD was considered,
delayed and then withdrawn. The prevailing opinion that I heard from the
denizens of JFK in those meetings was not one of “stopping the
rezoning” (although that opinion was stated) but rather one of making
sure the remaining residents, churches and businesses in the area were
fairly compensated for their property as the OHC expansion naturally
progresses.

Representatives of OHC stated rather
overtly that the reason behind the proposed rezoning was to protect the
property values in the area from price escalation due to residential
land speculation. In other words, OHC wanted to keep neighborhood land
prices down in the short term until they got ready to buy the property
for longer-term development. By limiting the potential development uses
of the land, this would have been an effective taking of property
without taking the property. Property owners rightly objected to this.

I
think OHC can achieve their goals by dealing fairly, openly and
honestly with property owners who are willing to sell. Many residents
are willing to move if given adequate financial compensation for their
property to enable relocation to equal or better housing.

The
fact is that Urban Renewal or other OHC-related entities already own 65
percent or more of the property in the proposed PUD area. Given the
recent purchase price of the adjoining Presbyterian Health Foundation
property or other recent purchases of adjoining residential properties
by OHC, OHC can afford to buy the properties of the remaining willing
sellers in the area if they choose to.

—Anthony Francisco, Oklahoma City

Anthony Francisco

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