News » Metro

Growing pains

by

comment

Some neighbors are also pushing back on two new restaurants planned for 23rd Street that they say could cause traffic issues on the residential streets close to the growing commercial district north of downtown.

“We are all for responsible development, but we cannot live somewhere that [has] constant late-night noise and can’t take the loss in property value to move,” said Uptown resident Kyle Walker in a letter to City Hall last month.

Walker, along with at least five other residents in Heritage Hills and Mesta Park, wrote letters to City Hall expressing their opposition to two planned restaurants along 23rd Street that they believe will increase traffic and noise.

One of the proposed restaurants, Daebak K, will offer Korean barbecue and will feature a rooftop patio facing 23rd Street. Some residents have complained that the rooftop patio will cause noise issues and patrons will park on their residential streets.

Supporters of the restaurant responded with an online petition that was turned into City Hall last week with over 700 signatures of support.

“I like being a part of Uptown 23rd,” said Truong Le, owner of the proposed Daebak K restaurant and the current Guernsey Park restaurant. “I think it’s going to continue to grow, and we are actively going up and down this street to find new spots to possibly open new kinds of businesses.”

Le said he understood the concern some residents might have about traffic but added that the new restaurant will include at least 30 parking spaces. He also said the rooftop patio was not being painted in the best light by opponents.

“I think there is a misconception that because we have a rooftop patio, its going to be a bar,” Le said. “I want to make it clear. We are a restaurant. We want to continue to open restaurants and be good neighbors.”

Guyutes is another restaurant planned for 23rd Street that has drawn some opposition from nearby residents. Both Daebak K and Guyutes plan to open in late 2014 or early 2015.

City staff has said no building permits have been submitted for the proposed restaurants and reviews are yet to be made by the Urban Design Commission.

Recommendations
A recent study by the University of Oklahoma Institute for Quality Communities on the Uptown district made recommendations on ways to improve traffic flow and walkability.

“It’s important to address walkability because of the enormous potential it presents,” the report stated. “Over 4,000 people live within a 10-minute walk of the center of the district, and over 40,000 within a 10-minute bike [ride].”

Promoting walkability might also be a way to cut down on traffic caused by residents who live close to the district. An IQC survey found that 71 percent of residents living within a half mile of Uptown drive to the district instead of biking or walking.

With many neighborhoods surrounding 23rd Street designated as Historical Preservation Districts, some residents have also fought against commercial development that might spill into the neighborhood.

Last week, a group of citizens from the Heritage Hills neighborhood convinced the city council to deny an application for rezoning on a lot near the intersection of NW 22nd Street and Broadway Avenue.

The owners of Mariposa Spa proposed a new building on 22nd Street, which would result in the removal of a few dilapidated homes. However, representatives of the neighborhood said it would create a slippery slope.

“If we start nibbling away at the edges [of the Historical Preservation District], where does it stop?” asked Randy Ice, president of the Heritage Hills East Neighborhood Association.

The council voted 4-3 to deny the rezoning request.

Add a comment