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Edmond neighborhood's residents campaign for street closure

EDMOND — Skyview Drive, a street in the Leawood housing addition, was recommended to be closed after neighbors campaigned to keep their neighborhood safe.

Property owners don't want their neighborhood connected to two proposed development projects with possibly 800 new homes and 20 acres owned by Francis Tuttle Technology Center near Danforth and Sooner roads.

Planning commissioners this week in a 3 to 2 vote recommended approving closure of the street in the 50-year-old neighborhood. Planning commissioners Mark Hoose and Rob Rainey voted against closing the street. Hoose is an advocate for connectivity between neighborhoods.

All 50 homeowners in the Leawood housing addition signed a petition supporting the street closing. More than 30 of the property owners in favor of the closure attended the meeting. City council members will make a final decision June 13.

The request to close the street, by Beryl Jones and Timothy McGraw, was made in anticipation of expansion of Town Square housing addition to the west. The Town Square development, by Caleb McCaleb, also is being contested by a different group of unhappy neighbors.

McCaleb said he would leave the road a cul-de-sac, but city officials told him they want connectivity throughout his development. The three phases of Town Square will have 426 lots. McCaleb requested to rezone property from single dwelling to a residential planned unit development on the 80-acre project. After seven people spoke against McCaleb's project, planning commission Chairman Barry Moore asked the developer to delay his request until McCaleb held a city community connections meeting to answer neighbors' unanswered questions. McCaleb's requests were continued until the June 21 meeting.

McCaleb's project is projected to connect to the proposed Lakes of Cross Timbers where 405 houses are planned. Leawood neighbors said they did not want to stop future development, but are trying to protect the safety of their neighborhood by keeping additional traffic away.

Property owner Michael Scott, speaking for the neighborhood, said the city has a history of closing streets. He had a list of more than eight neighborhoods where streets had been closed. "Skyview Drive is narrow and does not meet city standards," he said. "There are cracks in the streets and no curbs." Improvements to Skyview Drive would be a great expense, Scott said.

Jay Evans, Francis Tuttle's director of facility management, said he didn't care if the road was closed as long as the school has two ways of ingress and egress in case of an emergency with a student or evacuation.

David Barnes, former Edmond deputy fire chief, said, "Firefighters are looking for the shortest, quickest route and that is not Skyview Drive," he said. "This is a safety issue for my family, my grandchildren and my neighbors and the safety of others in the other neighborhoods."

Diana Baldwin

Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›

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