OKC Civic Life for Monday, April 22, 2019
First Christian opposes preservation action
First Christian Church, through its attorney, is asking the city council to withdraw or reject a Historic Preservation Commission decision that could lead to designating the church as a historic landmark. Hundreds of signatures have been gathered by residents of neighborhoods near the white-domed church, at NW 36 and Walker Avenue, expressing their desire to protect the building from demolition. In a letter addressed to the mayor and council members, attorney David Box says the HP Commission's April 3 vote "constitutes an arbitrary, unreasonable and improper abuse" of the commission's authority. On Sunday, Crossings Church announced it was in discussions with First Christian Church to purchase the building and save the dome structure.
Worth noting: The Historic Preservation Commission and the city council both have met privately, in executive session, in the past month to discuss "potential litigation" regarding the church.
OKC to be heard in sign dispute
A judge granted Oklahoma City's request to intervene in a dispute between an advertising company and the state Transportation Department over a billboard. The state initially agreed to allow a billboard along the Hefner Parkway, then reversed course. In the process, the state argued it had sole authority over where the billboard can be erected. An attorney for the city says the sign must comply with city zoning regulations as well as state guidelines. If the court upholds the city's authority, the advertising company "will ultimately be legally prohibited" from erecting the sign, he wrote.
Worth noting: The billboard would be the only one in a largely advertising-free zone along the busy parkway between NW 63 and Memorial Road, according to court filings.
They said it
“We think building a new coliseum is huge, not only for Oklahoma City, but to maintain the tradition of playing in ‘The Big House,’ a newer and improved ‘Big House.’”
— Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association Executive Director David Jackson, endorsing the proposal to include a $95 million State Fair Park coliseum in MAPS 4. The OSSAA signed a five-year extension to its agreement with the State Fair to hold high school wrestling and basketball state tournaments at State Fair Park. The current venue, Jim Norick Arena, is 54 years old and needs to be replaced.
Briefly: Campaign finance, election cost
• The 2019 Festival of the Arts opens Tuesday and continues through Sunday. The Oklahoma City Streetcar stops a block from the festival grounds at Civic Center Music Hall.
• Embark transit is providing free bus and streetcar rides the third Friday of each month through September. Free-ride Fridays coincide with the "ozone season," when air quality is low. Also, rides are free Monday for Earth Day.
• Mayor David Holt had $38,600 on hand according to his latest campaign finance report. The first-term mayor spent $429,600 on his 2018 race; 2019 council candidates must report spending by April 30.
• The Oklahoma County Election Board billed the city of Oklahoma City $80,529.55 to conduct the Feb. 12 city council primaries. Voters elected council members in Wards 2, 5, 6 and 8.
City fights marijuana lawyer's claim
An attorney who wanted to rezone his property for offices and a marijuana dispensary failed to properly challenge the Oklahoma City Council's denial of his request, attorneys for the city say in a filing in Oklahoma County District Court. The council voted Feb. 26 to deny Chad Moody's request to rezone property at 1111 NE 63, after neighbors objected. Moody's property is near the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Attorneys for the city say Moody relied on the wrong law in appealing the council's decision. They say the deadline for properly filing his appeal has passed.
Mayor David Holt and the eight city council members attended the April 9 meeting.
The Oklahoma City Council meets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 200 N Walker Ave.
William Crum, staff writer, firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @williamcrum