Clay Archie, a resident wishing to build an assisted living facility on the 3400 block of North First Avenue, had filed a request to rezone that property from the Agriculture “A-1” District to the General Commercial “C-3” District and the General Residential “R-3” District.
He said the assisted living facility would have 44 units and would be licensed for 88. The center could include Alzheimer’s care, as well as a independent living area.
Archie told the council he had looked at a future land use map of the area and determined that the commercial and residential zoning was the best option for the area.
A couple of residents spoke in opposition to Archie, saying they were strongly against the proposal because of the commercial zoning designation and what it could mean for that area’s future and their property values.
Dr. Greg Clay, who was in opposition to the zoning change, proposed that the council set the issue aside and allow the parties involved to talk and try to come up with a compromise.
Durant Mayor Jerry Tomlinson said Clay’s suggestion was a reasonable request, and the council agreed.
After Archie agreed to talk with Clay and other rezoning opponents, the council voted to take no action on the matter until next month.
“This was truly an experience in democracy,” Tomlinson said.
Under public hearings, the council also approved a zoning change of the oil and gas zoning map at the intersection of Sunny Meadows Drive and Sunnyside Road.
After some discussion from the public, the council also approved a conditional use permit for XTO Energy, Inc., to install a pipeline through the southern portion of the Durant city limits.
Under presentations, the council presented awards to Rural Enterprises, Inc. and the Choctaw Nation for their recent community service projects.
Last month, REI chose to help beautify Durant, in place of their annual retreat. Activities included painting fire hydrants, replacing bench legs, picking up trash, building a fence and repainting a vacant building.
Sherry Harlin, business development director for REI, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
“This was much better than sitting in a room,” Harlin said.
The Choctaw Nation also did community service last month, as part of their “going green” initiative. Volunteers from the organization picked up trash along Highway 69/75 near the Choctaw Casino.
Tracy Horst and James Dry, both operation analysts and co-chairs of the project, accepted the award on the Choctaw Nation’s behalf.
“We all had a good time doing it,” Horst said.
The council also gave Oklahoma Municipal League 25-year service awards to Durant Firefighters Kerry Robinson and Steve Stafford.
District Attorney Emily Redman also presented the City of Durant with a plaque in appreciation for their support of the Drug Task Force. Police Chief Durward Cook accepted the award on behalf of the city.
In other business, the council considered two bids for a new storm siren system.
James Dalton, Durant/Bryan County Emergency Management director, said he had received “two fairly legitimate bids,” but he advised the council to deny the bids and start a rebidding process.
“We can do better for our city,” Dalton said.
Following Dalton’s advice, the council rejected the bids.
The council also accepted a one-acre tract donation, located approximately 700 feet East of 49th Street and adjacent to the Kiamichi Railroad on the South side of the tracks, for the future placement of a fire sub-station on the West side of town.
Council members accepted the donation by Dale Goad, the property owner, with the intent of filling his request for a new fire station to eventually be built on that property.
The council also approved many other items, including:
— Authorization to place street lights to serve the Heritage Crossing subdivision
— Authorization to purchase asphalt on state contract for street paving for the Sanimax grant project
— Acceptance of 50 percent grant from the Office of Justice programs for bulletproof vest partnership for the police department
— Authorization to purchase one generator for Emergency Response Complex located on Enterprise Blvd.
— A joint agreement between Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the Durant City Utilities Authority and the City of Durant establishing a maintenance and operation fund for the Donald W. Reynolds Community Center
— Authorization for construction of additional entrance and sidewalks to softball fields and additional fencing between fields at the Durant Multi-Sports Complex