The Pryor Times

March 20, 2013

Pryor P & Z talks downtown

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

— The City of Pryor Planning and Zoning Commission began their regular meeting with a discussion of the special housing ordinance.

Travis Noland told the board this special ordinance was sent to the city attorney for review. City attorney Kim Ritchie has updated the city on what is allowable, and what is not, concerning residential housing.

“He will present a new draft. We may see it Tuesday and schedule a meeting after that,” said Noland.

“What kind of housing is this, can you clarify,” board member Madge Hauenstein asked.

“Well, that’s the debate. It lumped several kinds of housing together, all with different regulations,” said Noland.

“If the state has requirements, we can’t do anything but abide by them. We can’t make our own,” said Hauenstein.

This ordinance will pass back to committee level. The Planning and Zoning Commission will leave it on the agenda for another month.

“As many of you know, we were designated a Main Street Community. So now, we’re looking at the zoning of downtown,” said Noland, in introduction of the next agenda item.

“The Times gave an example of a downtown ordinance that would not allow businesses on Main Street to board up their windows. Another example is that some businesses want outside dining. So what do we do to make these things happen?” said Noland.

Noland did not have any formal requests, he explained; he simply wishes to work closely with the board on this project.

“Why reinvent the wheel? Surely there are towns we can model after,” said board member Mike Dunham.

“Miami has done some fantastic things,” said Noland. “There’s not a single empty storefront in their downtown. We want to be cautious to get businesses downtown that Pryor wants, so we can’t model too closely after other communities.”

“The biggest thing we need to do is promote downtown growth,” said Mayor Jimmy Tramel.

“One of the projects we need to do is repair Main Street, the actual street, through ODOT. We need to make sure the infrastructure will support and attract growth,” said Noland.

Noland described a few events which bring people to Pryor, such as Rocklahoma, Dry Gulch, and the Freewheelin’ bicycle tour. The challenge, he said, is figuring out a way to get people to stop in Pryor’s downtown area.

Question arose over parking limits on Main Street.

“Honestly, if downtown is so busy there’s no parking anywhere, then we’ve done our job,” said Noland. “I’ll be back, requesting lots of things.”

“Bring it on,” said board chairman Johnny Willyard. “Some of the old members had these dreams, so it’s phenomenal seeing those dreams come true. It’s like we’re getting our downtown back.

The mayor’s report included the status of the zoning map and downtown special district uses.

“Travis pretty much covered the second part of my report already,” said Tramel.

“We’ve got a bid from Brawley, they’re doing the map at $10,000. Grand Gateway did a disk for us. I’ve got all the zoning changes to go back through one more time before I give them to him.”

Tramel discussed the city Wi-Fi project.

“We’re the first community that has it totally free. We’re cutting-edge on this. Within five years there’s money to do the whole town, probably,” said Tramel.

“It will pay for itself through ads.”

Dunham questioned the quality of the city’s website.

“I’m working on it. We need a professional,” said Tramel.

The board discussed traffic concerns within the city, such as Fifth Street near Roosevelt Elementary School. No formal action was taken.