If you could see into the future, what would your town look like?
There is a renewed effort in Luther to come up with a Master Plan for the town. Those involved are quick to emphasize that such a Master Plan doesn’t mean it’s a final plan, but it is a guiding post to chart the growth that is coming eastward from Oklahoma City.
The Town Board of Trustees appointed members to a new committee, tasked with grabbing the data, doing the research and listening to the public as they work toward a Master Plan, and zoning ordinances (to be considered by the board eventually). It’s a process many agree is long overdue and long ignored.
The Luther New Rural Urbanism Committee is made up of three persons: Matthew Winton, chair; Chris Ivich and Craig Jackson. Although the name of the committee doesn’t roll off of the tongue, the trio is tasked with gathering data, evenutally making zoning recommendations, and through the process getting public input. In practical terms, the committee will make recommendations on things like whether Luther should have areas set aside for manufacturing, and will that be near housing, or shall there be increased retail (commercial development) areas, and how much of it? And if someone wants to build a new home, or business – how can the process be streamlined and not get stuck in a bureaucratic quagmire with the Town’s planning commission. Those who have tried to get permits, or built within Town limits are familiar with the lengthy process. The committee is also working off of data received in a recent survey conducted by EOCP.
A public hearing on October 23, was the opening volley to the conversation, and although there was a Town Hall mistake on giving adequate public notice about the meeting, about a half-dozen persons attended. Winton, committee chair, led a discussion after sharing data from the last US Census as well as results from the recent EOCP survey many Luther residents completed.
The survey data and the public expressed ideas about keeping Luther a small town while acknowledging the need for more retail, commerce and job opportunities. The consensus that evening seemed to be “growth but not too much,” and “buy local if we can.” There was wide acknowledgment that the construction of the new turnpike and urban sprawl is causing quick growth in the area, and an urgency for the Town government to get on top of the infrastructure in preparation.
The following are slides shared at the meeting about population, demographics and other data that give insight to the future.
What’s next? Two more public meetings. November 27 and December 18. Mark your calendars.