Each topic contains a discussion of issues and goals, and describes how the City and its partners will go about accomplishing these goals.

Topic: Land Use & Urban Design

 

The initiatives below relate to land use and urban design. Click on any initiative to view a full explanation and related policies.

We will develop and implement new land development regulations that support the Land Use Typology Area system of integrated uses and greater flexibility and efficiency. Our current development ordinances date from a time when we valued low density and separation of different land uses higher than city life. The fact that low density increases the cost of services and infrastructure gives us pause. That, combined with our successes at building places that people want to experience has moved us in new directions. The zoning code, which divides the city into 26 single-use "base" districts, 7 special districts, and 16 overlay districts, discourages the trends toward new development forms. We must modernize these codes to implement the LUTA concept and provide both the flexibility and protection that benefit contemporary developers and their neighbors alike.

Despite its large number of specific districts, our zoning ordinance does not provide adequate protections for neighborhoods or guarantees to approving agencies on actual performance or design of projects. This forces the Planning Commission and City Council to use Planned Unit Developments (PUDs), tying developers to a specific project and building design. PUDs are actually intended for a different purpose – to encourage innovative, comprehensively planned developments– and are overly rigid when applied to more routine projects.

Revisions to Oklahoma City's land development regulations could move in several directions, from modifying existing zoning districts with new performance and design standards to establishing a new structure that uses the Land Use Typology Areas as the basic development districts for the city. The LUTAs, as presented in Chapter Two, permit a variety of uses, but establish permitted ranges of development intensity. The LUTA system achieves compatibility between different types or intensities of uses by implementing performance standards, design guidelines, and transitional methods. These techniques give specific and predictable guidance to builders and developers, and address such areas as operating effects, traffic, parking, design, scale, and safety, avoiding the unnecessary overuse of PUDs. A LUTA-based system would incorporate the criteria for locations and supporting transportation and infrastructure established by this plan for individual land uses.

We will execute a smooth transition between the existing zoning code and new land development ordinances. Development ordinances are complicated and difficult to change because people have become accustomed to them, rough spots and all. Migrating to an alternative concept will take time and care. In the meantime, the City will evaluate using a hybrid approach, mixing the existing zoning districts with the LUTA/mixed use concept. One way of accomplishing this is to group the zoning districts that are consistent with the intensity and use ranges of LUTAs, and apply compatibility policies and design standards to developments within them. The existing zoning ordinance could then be modified to include these compatibility standards. New rezoning requests would be evaluated for consistency with the LUTA in which they are located. If the new project is adjacent to a different land use, the compatibility policies and standards would apply to the design of that project.

Click to expand policy information.


Coordinate the design, development, expansion, and/or investment in transportation projects with the Land Use Typology map.

Require the construction of new streets, streetscapes, and street widening projects to implement the design components of the assigned street typologies established in this plan.

Revise Subdivision Regulations and development standards to reflect the street typology standards.

Routinely assess the City’s development standards, design guidelines, and development review procedures to ensure that they reflect current trends in best-practice and allow for innovative design techniques and evolving methods in low-impact development.

Enhance existing development standards and establish design guidelines for areas outside of the City’s existing Design Review Overlay Districts. Development standards and design guidelines could include the following provisions:

  • Minimize views and prominence of parking lots in relation to structures on a site.
  • Sense of proportion (street width to building height, human scale)
  • Pedestrian orientation of structures and architectural detailing/fenestration
  • Terminated vistas
  • Reduce the predominance of residential garages in the design of the front facades of single-family residences.
  • Inclusion of front porches into the design of residential structures.
  • Internal orientation of parking facilities and garages in multi-family developments.
  • Improved pedestrian safety and enhanced pedestrian access through parking lots.

Develop a workforce housing program, particularly for projects in the UM, UH, and DT LUTAs, based on the following basic considerations:

  • Partnerships with large employers;
  • Density bonuses;
  • Height bonuses; and,
  • Transfer of development rights.

Reuse brownfield, greyfield, and other vacant building sites to provide new opportunities for mixed-used and mixed-income housing.

Catalyze the rehabilitation of abandoned structures by amending codes to facilitate the adaptive reuse of existing buildings for residential use.

Develop a City program to rehabilitate or redevelop dilapidated properties, including a land bank to receive donated properties from property owners who can no longer maintain their properties.

Create regulations/standards/guidelines that focus on design and/or compatibility principles which are sensitive to the surrounding urban form, especially in areas that are stable or improving and whose character is well-established. These provisions should also help ensure compatibility between lower- and higher- intensity land uses.

Add legislative priorities for state laws to:

  • Strengthen the City’s ability to obtain specific performance of property owners cited for code violations.
  • Speed up the demolition process for long-time boarded properties that cannot be rehabilitated.
  • Strengthen the City’s ability to require property owners to rehabilitate or sell neglected, boarded-up properties.
  • Expedite the clearing of properties involved in probate.

Ensure that safety is factored into the design of neighborhoods through the following policies:

  • Incorporate development standards and guidelines into the Subdivision Regulations that integrate the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and increase safety and social interaction.
  • Create a pre-development checklist with criteria to evaluate how safety is designed into a project.
  • Establish a pre-development process wherein safety is considered in the design of projects.
  • Involve the Fire and Police Departments in reviewing proposed development and redevelopment to provide input on any safety-related design concerns.

Adopt new citywide site design and building regulations that ensure new developments meet basic functional and aesthetic minimums related to:

  • Walkability and bike-ability
  • Internal and external street connectivity
  • Integration of uses
  • Signage
  • Building location
  • Building appearance
  • Open space (passive and active)

Encourage the integration and mixing of land uses in urban areas.

Mitigate negative impacts of compactness by:

  • Updating nuisance code to better address noise, smell, vibration, property maintenance, panhandling, animal control, delivery hours limits, and other possible negative effects.
  • Updating the sign ordinance to reduce visual clutter.

In order to promote compatibility between different uses, establish standards and guidelines that ensure all developments are pedestrian-friendly and human scale at street frontages and property lines.

Prioritize and concentrate development where facilities, infrastructure, and services have capacity and in areas where the Police and Fire Departments are best able to respond. Guide the location and timing of development through the proactive and strategic installation of infrastructure.

Encourage the integration of different land uses in urban areas through the following means:

  • Promote the use of performance standards in place of existing zoning methods (which address incompatibility by separating uses). Performance-based regulations should focus on achieving compatibility between uses by addressing the following:
    • Noise, odors and air quality
    • Traffic and parking (allow flexible, but sufficient parking)
    • Site layout and building design
    • Waste
    • Safety
    • Lighting (glare control, placement, and shielding)
    • Delivery hours
  • Enhance transit service (bus and rail).
  • Prevent large areas of concentration of any particular land use such as multi-family or commercial.

Ensure the ongoing compatibility and appropriateness of development in Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) and Simplified Planned Unit Developments (SPUDs) by:

  • Exploring the establishment of expiration dates for PUDs and SPUDs that have not been initiated after a certain period of time;
  • Establish a procedure to ensure PUDs build-out according to approved plans.

Enable increased densities as appropriate to individual land use typology areas by addressing financial incentives and disincentives through evaluating the feasibility of strategies such as:

  • Impact fees and/or transportation utility fees that vary by district according to actual cost;
  • Assessing solid waste charges according to actual cost;
  • Private solid waste services where it is impractical for the City to provide service such as in rural areas.

Encourage unified planning for all adjoining land owned or controlled by a project’s developer to ensure proper circulation and land use relationships.

Evaluate existing regulations for effectiveness in promoting density and mixed-use development and in addressing surface parking. Develop a new urban design code for downtown and other key districts to promote healthy mixes of land uses that are compatible and complementary.

Adopt subdivision regulations that ensure new neighborhoods meet the basic needs of residents while supporting an efficient development pattern. Regulations should cover:

  • Open space (passive and active),
  • Demonstration of sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs,
  • Walkability and bikeability,
  • Internal and external street connectivity,
  • Block length,
  • Integration of uses,
  • Integration of a variety of home sizes,
  • Integration of a variety of unit types, and
  • Preservation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Regulations could be based on a point scale to allow flexibility, while still requiring basic minimum thresholds be met.
New regulations should remove the existing requirement for development in Rural LUTAs to connect to water and sewer systems and establish a minimum one-acre lot size for lots with on-site sewer treatment.

Revise subdivision and zoning regulations to allow increased densities as appropriate. For example, density potential could be increased by allowing “cottage” or “pocket” neighborhoods and accessory dwelling units (additional dwelling units allowed on owner-occupied properties) where appropriate.

We will ensure that land uses are located on sites that meet their needs, work cohesively in their environments, and are served by appropriate transportation and infrastructure. While the LUTA concept encourages integration of uses, it does not suggest that any land use is appropriate anywhere. Commercial and industrial uses have particular needs for transportation, surrounding conditions, utilities, and visibility. Urban uses in general require water, wastewater, urban streets, and other infrastructure that can meet their demands for service. These individual requirements apply even in mixed-use environments. This makes specific criteria for location and design of individual uses especially important. Developers and builders will use these criteria as they select sites and design projects. Neighborhood residents will be reassured that potentially incompatible uses will be directed to appropriate sites. Approving groups will use criteria to evaluate the quality of development proposals and their compliance with the comprehensive plan. The tables shown on the right present a base for location and development criteria that should be refined and incorporated into new land use ordinances.

We will revise regulations to better protect residential uses from the negative effects of nearby non-residential uses. Traditional development ordinances attempt to shield residential uses from undesirable effects of adjacent uses by separation. Similar development types do tend to cluster together and keeping different uses apart sometimes works. However, use separation by itself produces inefficient and uninteresting development and often is not viewed as providing reliable protection. For example, Oklahoma City frequently uses Planned Unit Developments to control the details of conventional projects. However, the intention of PUDs was to provide flexibility for innovative development rather than inflexible controls on individual sites. Oklahoma City's new directions in land use planning and regulation instead will create standards and guidelines by which different uses reinforce rather than harm each other.

Certain uses are incompatible and cannot easily be neighbors. The land use system should retain some primary use categories for these situations. But in most cases, transitional standards that encourage mixed-use development and directly control potential incompatibilities should create a more efficient and vital city.

Click to expand policy information.


Coordinate the design, development, expansion, and/or investment in transportation projects with the Land Use Typology map.

Require traffic impact analyses with all comprehensive plan amendments requests to change to a higher intensity LUTA.

Revise Subdivision Regulations and development standards to reflect the street typology standards.

Seek opportunities to co-locate new public projects, such as libraries, fire stations, parks, and recreation centers near compatible civic uses such as schools and campuses to create nodes of activity and services.

Ensure that new publicly financed developments – those which directly use or receive public dollars – with more than 100 units or with densities greater than 10 units/acre are located where they have easy access to frequent transit service.

Modify codes to allow residential clustering in rural land use typology areas, provided water supply and sewage disposal requirements are met, and permanently preserve nearby open space through means such as conservation easements.

Coordinate planning efforts with school districts to attempt concurrent land purchases for schools and parks.

Ensure all homes are within walking distance of a park based on level of service standards for each urban land use typology by updating codes and regulations for new construction and by improving connections and access between existing parks and neighborhoods.

Establish procedures for creating new joint school/park sites, including the division of maintenance responsibilities.

Prioritize capital improvement to construct linkages and connections from the existing urban parks and open space system  to neighborhoods, commercial areas, employment centers, and community facilities.

Form a working partnership with the library system, both the Metropolitan Library System and the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, to coordinate timing of facility expansions, improvements, and new facility siting with other types of civic resources, such as schools, fire stations, parks, and projected growth and demand for those resources. This should also include identifying a mechanism to provide library services in Canadian County.

Provide adequate infrastructure for new or expanding companies by giving priority to Capital Improvements in ER areas. Additionally, consider the implementation of impact fees for infrastructure in order to provide infrastructure in a timely manner and to better coordinate with private development.

Encourage the use of special service districts with enhanced levels of service.

Mitigate negative impacts of compactness by:

  • Updating nuisance code to better address noise, smell, vibration, property maintenance, panhandling, animal control, delivery hours limits, and other possible negative effects.
  • Updating the sign ordinance to reduce visual clutter.

Prioritize and concentrate development where facilities, infrastructure, and services have capacity and in areas where the Police and Fire Departments are best able to respond. Guide the location and timing of development through the proactive and strategic installation of infrastructure.

Encourage the integration of different land uses in urban areas through the following means:

  • Promote the use of performance standards in place of existing zoning methods (which address incompatibility by separating uses). Performance-based regulations should focus on achieving compatibility between uses by addressing the following:
    • Noise, odors and air quality
    • Traffic and parking (allow flexible, but sufficient parking)
    • Site layout and building design
    • Waste
    • Safety
    • Lighting (glare control, placement, and shielding)
    • Delivery hours
  • Enhance transit service (bus and rail).
  • Prevent large areas of concentration of any particular land use such as multi-family or commercial.

Higher density multifamily development should be located in areas near employment or educational centers where street and transit systems have, or will soon have capacity to support the added trips.

Avoid concentrations of apartment complexes. Instead, integrate multifamily units into neighborhoods with mixes of housing types or in mixed-use developments.

We will provide incentives and investments that produce a favorable environment for private investment on underutilized sites. In Oklahoma City, we have tended to view land as an inexhaustible and disposable resource, reducing the desirability of older areas and decreasing land values, while expanding the city's boundaries outward. The surveys and process of planokc show that this view is also changing, as citizens place a high value on using existing infrastructure and urban land effectively and rebuilding established neighborhoods. Preferences are also changing, as many families appreciate active urban places like Midtown and Automobile Alley that provide living, shopping, entertainment, and work places with good walking, bike, and transit access. Effective use of existing land resources is a central principle of Chapter Two's land use vision.

Redevelopment and infill depend on major private investment. City policy and action can create the conditions that help this private investment occur.

Directions for these policies include:

  • Site assembly. Multiple property owners, often absent or very difficult to find, can make it impossible to put together sites for redevelopment. The City can help private developers by helping them assemble sites.
  • Infrastructure and street improvement. While redevelopment and infill sites usually have infrastructure, these facilities are sometime obsolete and require improvement. Redevelopment can provide the impetus for making necessary public investments in these assets.
  • Public investments. Parks, schools, civic facilities, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, streetscapes, and other amenities can provide anchors that are proven to generate private development. The Bricktown Canal is an excellent example of a public amenity that has paid for itself many times over in private investment. Similarly, the new MAPS 3 Park will inevitably become the catalyst for the Core to Shore redevelopment.
  • Code improvement and proactive enforcement. Poor property maintenance, unattractive and cluttered signs, and public or operating nuisances can degrade the value of surrounding property and discourage reinvestment. Updated ordinances and consistent, enforcement will minimize these disincentives and create momentum for new private development.

Click to expand policy information.


Establish new incentives and raise awareness of existing incentives that stimulate the preservation and rehabilitation of historic resources. Incentives could include:

  • Preservation easements, low-interest or forgivable rehabilitation loans, and Tax Increment Financing Districts for historic buildings, sites, and districts.
  • Tools and practices for public/private partnerships to ensure the preservation and retention of top-priority historic resources whose deterioration or demolition would present an irreparable and highly significant loss to the City and beyond.
  • Existing city, state, and federal tools and incentives for rehabilitation, including state and federal tax credits for certified rehabilitation.
  • Expedited review process for projects involving infill sites.

Support and incentivize the adaptive use of existing buildings, infill development, and brownfield development.

Modify codes and/or regulations to create opportunities for more income diversity and mixed-income neighborhoods by allowing a variety of housing ownership and leasing arrangements, diverse housing sizes and types – including accessory dwelling units, carriage homes, lofts, live-work spaces, cottages, and manufactured/modular housing. Modifications should allow an increase the variety of ownership opportunities to include condominiums, ownership cooperatives (such as mutual housing associations, limited equity cooperatives, etc.) by identifying and removing regulatory barriers. Recommend improvements to protections for owners, developers, and lenders.
Priority should be given to projects that achieve efficiencies described elsewhere in planokc, such as dwelling units that are located to have easy access to each other and to other daily needs including jobs, recreation, and schools.

Maximize the use of all appropriate state, federal, local, and private funding for the development, preservation, and rehabilitation of housing affordable to a variety of income groups, including those that integrate low-income housing units in otherwise market-rate housing developments and support the creation and/or expansion of mixed-income communities.

Integrate housing rehabilitation programs with neighborhood revitalization programs. These programs should include assistance to property owners to renovate the existing housing stock with improvements that reduce utility and maintenance costs for owners and occupants, conserve energy, conserve water, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Establish new or expand existing financing methods and/or mechanisms available to new and redevelopment mixed-income projects in urban areas. These could include: direct investment of public housing funds, tax-increment financing, bonds, revolving loans, housing program funds and/or other proven public-private partnership models.

Create and/or enhance Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs) to increase their capacity to provide mixed-income housing, especially in targeted infill areas.

Reuse brownfield, greyfield, and other vacant building sites to provide new opportunities for mixed-used and mixed-income housing.

Prevent concentration of low-income populations by providing housing opportunities for all income groups in targeted redevelopment areas of the city with a particular focus on mixed-income projects, especially on those projects that have a public funding component.

In conjunction with City regulatory changes, such as significant modifications to zoning ordinances, building codes, or subdivision regulations, assess the effects of the proposed modifications on housing development costs and overall housing affordability, considering the balance between housing affordability and other objectives such as environmental quality, urban design quality, maintenance of neighborhood character and protection of public health, safety and welfare. This assessment should be integrated into the code amendment process, identify barriers to housing affordability, and include recommended mitigation.

Add legislative priorities for state laws to:

  • Strengthen the City’s ability to obtain specific performance of property owners cited for code violations.
  • Speed up the demolition process for long-time boarded properties that cannot be rehabilitated.
  • Strengthen the City’s ability to require property owners to rehabilitate or sell neglected, boarded-up properties.
  • Expedite the clearing of properties involved in probate.

Strategically use subsidized housing programs along with other City services and programs to revitalize targeted areas of the city.

Support infill development on vacant, underutilized, and brownfield sites by:

  • Allowing densities sufficient to incentivize infill in older areas
  • Focusing resources on target neighborhoods to build positive momentum
  • Evaluating and adjusting zoning in areas where infill is desired
  • Reducing permit fees and processing time for infill development proposals
  • Waiving the requirement for traffic impact analyses for infill development proposals
  • Establishing an Abandoned Buildings Program and enhancing it over time by:
    • Seeking changes in City ordinance and State statute where necessary to allow for cost recovery of police and fire services costs caused by vacant buildings
    • Using revenue collected beyond Vacant and Abandoned Buildings program administration cost for neighborhood improvements
    • Submitting land bank legislation to the State Legislature and establishing a land bank authorized to acquire, rehabilitate, and dispose of abandoned properties
  • Offering temporary or short term catalyzing incentives for the first “infillers” in target neighborhoods. Incentives may include small grants and/or low interest loans from a revolving loan fund or for property improvements.
  • Evaluating the possibility of basing property taxes on only land value and not improvements, thereby encouraging high intensity use of well-positioned land and discouraging underutilization and long–term vacancy.

Mitigate negative impacts of compactness by:

  • Updating nuisance code to better address noise, smell, vibration, property maintenance, panhandling, animal control, delivery hours limits, and other possible negative effects.
  • Updating the sign ordinance to reduce visual clutter.

Prioritize and concentrate development where facilities, infrastructure, and services have capacity and in areas where the Police and Fire Departments are best able to respond. Guide the location and timing of development through the proactive and strategic installation of infrastructure.

Create and implement small area plans for neighborhoods or districts with special strategic importance or complications related to development or redevelopment.

Identify priority areas where the City can maximize private investment by providing public infrastructure and amenities including:

  • Transit;
  • Parks, trails, sidewalks;
  • Streets;
  • Arts and cultural facilities.

Encourage redevelopment and infill development on vacant, underutilized, and brownfield sites in urbanized areas.

Catalyze infill development on vacant, underutilized, and brownfield sites in urbanized areas by:

  • Investing in infrastructure improvements;
  • Improving multi-modal transportation networks;
  • Improving parks and open spaces;
  • Improving schools and other civic resources;
  • Exploring innovative methods such as:
    • A public-private partnership to purchase problem properties in target areas and build or rehabilitate homes while improving infrastructure and amenities
    • An infill house plan program similar to Sacramento or Milwaukee
  • Identifying and removing barriers to rehabilitation and/or replacement of residential buildings.
  • Establishing a position in the City to facilitate medium- and large-scale redevelopment projects through the development process by guiding interactions with City departments, allied agencies, and utility companies.

Encourage the adaptive reuse of underutilized structures and the revitalization of older, economically distressed neighborhoods.

We will build housing and neighborhoods that address the needs of citizens at all stages of their lives. Oklahoma City's citizens and their households have characteristics such as family size, income, age, and tastes that require diverse housing choices. In the past, the majority of new housing development has been single-family, detached, and owner-occupied on relatively large lots. We have also tended to separate housing by type and cost, encouraged by our zoning and subdivision ordinances. However, the private market and resident needs are moving toward greater diversification – different designs, densities, and prices, connected together into neighborhoods. Most housing is built privately, and builders, who respond to markets, cannot be forced to build certain kinds of products. City decisions should encourage both diversity and integration of housing types to the maximum degree possible. Implementing the LUTA concept will help remove statutory obstacles to projects that include diverse housing types and relate them to each other. Updated subdivision regulations will also require the street, pedestrian, and bicycle connectivity, common space, and housing variety needed to turn "pods" into communities.

Design standards can establish a baseline for quality development that respects the needs for both privacy and civic life, and incentives should reward builders and developers who innovate to build diverse, active communities.

Click to expand policy information.


Maximize the use of all appropriate state, federal, local, and private funding for the development, preservation, and rehabilitation of housing affordable to a variety of income groups, including those that integrate low-income housing units in otherwise market-rate housing developments and support the creation and/or expansion of mixed-income communities.

Integrate housing rehabilitation programs with neighborhood revitalization programs. These programs should include assistance to property owners to renovate the existing housing stock with improvements that reduce utility and maintenance costs for owners and occupants, conserve energy, conserve water, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Create and/or enhance Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs) to increase their capacity to provide mixed-income housing, especially in targeted infill areas.

Prevent concentration of low-income populations by providing housing opportunities for all income groups in targeted redevelopment areas of the city with a particular focus on mixed-income projects, especially on those projects that have a public funding component.

Create regulations/standards/guidelines that focus on design and/or compatibility principles which are sensitive to the surrounding urban form, especially in areas that are stable or improving and whose character is well-established. These provisions should also help ensure compatibility between lower- and higher- intensity land uses.

In conjunction with City regulatory changes, such as significant modifications to zoning ordinances, building codes, or subdivision regulations, assess the effects of the proposed modifications on housing development costs and overall housing affordability, considering the balance between housing affordability and other objectives such as environmental quality, urban design quality, maintenance of neighborhood character and protection of public health, safety and welfare. This assessment should be integrated into the code amendment process, identify barriers to housing affordability, and include recommended mitigation.

Increase the viability of townhomes and condominiums as housing products by:

  • Adopting and supporting new local and state laws to increase consumer protection for condos and townhomes (e.g., better funding mechanisms and maintenance enforcement for common areas).
  • Requiring developers to demonstrate sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs.

Support diversity and integration of housing unit types and sizes in all land use typology areas in order to meet the diverse needs of households of different sizes, generational needs, incomes, and preferences. New residential subdivisions should achieve a mixture of housing types within a unified development.

Avoid concentrations of apartment complexes. Instead, integrate multifamily units into neighborhoods with mixes of housing types or in mixed-use developments.

Amend the zoning ordinance to better accommodate the integration of various residential densities, building types, and styles.

Create design standards and guidelines for the design, materials, shared amenities, and accessibility of high density urban residential development. Standards and guidelines should promote privacy and livability in a high density, mixed-use environment.

Evaluate existing regulations for effectiveness in promoting density and mixed-use development and in addressing surface parking. Develop a new urban design code for downtown and other key districts to promote healthy mixes of land uses that are compatible and complementary.

Adopt subdivision regulations that ensure new neighborhoods meet the basic needs of residents while supporting an efficient development pattern. Regulations should cover:

  • Open space (passive and active),
  • Demonstration of sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs,
  • Walkability and bikeability,
  • Internal and external street connectivity,
  • Block length,
  • Integration of uses,
  • Integration of a variety of home sizes,
  • Integration of a variety of unit types, and
  • Preservation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Regulations could be based on a point scale to allow flexibility, while still requiring basic minimum thresholds be met.
New regulations should remove the existing requirement for development in Rural LUTAs to connect to water and sewer systems and establish a minimum one-acre lot size for lots with on-site sewer treatment.

We will place a priority on increasing the economic strength and growth of viable existing commercial nodes and corridors. Commercial development typically flees to the "next new thing," leaving previous locations for new sites, usually in growth areas. While understandable, this trend leaves older commercial areas underutilized with more marginal businesses and vacancy, lower rents, and reduced upkeep and investment. While market conditions and age will inevitably make some areas less competitive, we must maintain the strength of our existing viable districts. This program may include:

  • Improving the function and convenience of commercial areas with improved transportation access, including better local circulation, enhanced transit service, and internal and external pedestrian and bicycle linkages.
  • Creating a better physical environment through streetscape and public space investments.
  • Providing financial incentives like tax increment financing for site and building upgrades, and for introduction of new uses into single-use commercial areas.
  • Creating new parking standards for mixed-use projects that recognize that different uses generate their highest parking demands at different times.
  • Encouraging new commercial within redevelopment areas, benefitting existing retailing by introducing new nearby attractions.

We will implement strategies for the reuse and redevelopment of low-performing commercial areas. Cities don't stand still and neither do retail markets. Some of the city's commercial areas are no longer viable in their current form, but still siphon some commercial activity from other, stronger districts. We will implement strategies for revitalization of these underutilized but still important districts.

Click to expand policy information.


Create and implement small area plans for neighborhoods or districts with special strategic importance or complications related to development or redevelopment.

Prioritize maintaining the strength of existing commercial nodes and corridors over providing new areas for commercial development.

Continue promoting the re-use, redevelopment, and revitalization of low-performing or declining commercial areas.

Incentives for new regional retail development should only be considered if the proposed project truly creates a new regional destination for the city and does not significantly cannibalize sales from existing Regional Districts.

Regional-, community-, and neighborhood-scale retail developments should provide an internal vehicle and pedestrian circulation system between new and existing centers and individual stores that draws on the following principles:

  • Concentrate access for new retail development at shared primary entrance points. Primary entrance points should be aligned with access points immediately across intersecting roads. Limit curb cuts on primary highways and arterials.
  • Provide pedestrian circulation, including sidewalks and median breaks along interior and exterior fronting roads and within parking lots.
  • Encourage coordinated development of retail centers in order to facilitate internal pedestrian and vehicle circulation and optimal center performance.

Wayfinding mechanisms and other placemaking features should be strongly encouraged in new and existing commercial districts.

We will establish and execute design guidelines for new commercial projects that enhance appearance, access, and function, and strengthen their surrounding neighborhoods. It seems to many people that one specific priority seems to drive commercial design: getting cars as quickly as possible from the street to parking lots. This produces a common pattern of buildings (shopping centers, multi-tenant strips, free-standing structures) separated from the streets and surrounded by parking, with big signs located along the road for maximum visibility from cars. In fact, zoning and development codes generally focus much more on parking than on the uses and buildings that the parking serves. This generic approach, repeated everywhere, lacks innovation, reduces the customer experience to finding a place to park, and produces inefficient and unattractive commercial strips. However, some new commercial designs are successfully following other approaches, based on providing a good customer experience. Our commercial development standards should also move in this direction. They should guide projects in ways that serve the competitive interests of neighborhoods, developers, businesses, and the entire community.

These guidelines should not micromanage development but instead should follow a few fundamental principles:

  • Organizing commercial development as districts to the maximum degree possible. "Districts" allow customers to accomplish several purposes with one trip, to park once and walk comfortably and safely from business to business, and to find features and public amenities that encourage personal interaction and a positive customer experience.
  • Engaging commercial buildings and businesses with public streets and sidewalks rather than their parking lots.
  • Relating commercial development to surrounding residential neighborhoods, encouraging direct and convenient local access without inviting outside traffic.
  • Incorporating mixed land uses such as higher-density residential, services, and offices into commercial projects.
  • Developing well-conceived signs and graphics that communicate and guide customers without excessive size and numbers.
  • Using site features like landscaping, walkways, internal driveways, and drainage areas to make projects more attractive, secure, and easier for customers to use.
  • Reducing the amount of surface area devoted to parking, or dividing parking lots into smaller blocks for circulation and orientation.

We will focus commercial development in nodes that have good transportation access and support the development of multiple uses. Commercial strip development disperses business, working against the creation of walkable, multi-purpose activity centers. Yet, commercial zoning is often granted along these corridors by default, as people assume that their appearance, traffic, and previous land use patterns make them unsuitable for other uses. Nodes are more conducive than strips to pedestrian, bicycle, and transit access and encourage public spaces that upgrade the customer experience. planokc can reshape the character of major corridors, making them good environments for multiple uses. They will also direct commercial development to nodes that provide both good transportation access and opportunities for retailers to reinforce each other. Nodes at intersections may adopt a mixed-use character when non-retail uses are incorporated into at least one quadrant of an intersection.

Click to expand policy information.


Establish regulations that require pedestrian connections between new commercial development and adjoining residential areas.

Share parking among contiguous developments.

Undertake targeted parking studies to determine existing parking capacity and develop appropriate parking standards based on land use, location, and demand.

Initiate new efforts to reduce sign clutter and improve the aesthetics of signs, while allowing for adequate and visible business identification by the following potential measures:

  • Restrict new billboards and eliminate or reduce the number of existing billboards.
  • Require non-conforming signs to be removed or be brought into compliance with existing regulations within a specific timeframe.
  • Consider new standards in the Sign Ordinance to improve limits on the size, height, and number of signs.
  • Improve proactive enforcement of the City’s sign regulations to curtail the placement of illegal signs and ensure adequate maintenance of signs.

Develop and adopt new standards/guidelines that result in improvements to parking structure design including the following potential measures:

  • Design parking structures to be architecturally integrated with adjoining primary structure(s).
  • Include integrated storefronts or other active uses on the ground floors of parking structures that are adjacent to public sidewalks and other pedestrian plazas.
  • Enhanced exterior façades of structures by integrating architectural features and materials that complement the character of the surrounding area, or screening with vegetation.

Improve parking provisions in neighborhoods that are near vibrant commercial corridors/areas by improving parking and corridor design, non-vehicular networks, transit, and signage.

Strengthen existing businesses and business districts within and adjacent to established residential areas. Promote the development of new businesses to provide additional jobs and higher income opportunities for nearby residents.

Favor commercial development clustered in nodes at arterial or collector intersections or along brief “main street” style corridors over commercial development extending in a linear pattern for long distances along highway, arterial, or collector corridors.

Regional-, community-, and neighborhood-scale retail developments should provide an internal vehicle and pedestrian circulation system between new and existing centers and individual stores that draws on the following principles:

  • Concentrate access for new retail development at shared primary entrance points. Primary entrance points should be aligned with access points immediately across intersecting roads. Limit curb cuts on primary highways and arterials.
  • Provide pedestrian circulation, including sidewalks and median breaks along interior and exterior fronting roads and within parking lots.
  • Encourage coordinated development of retail centers in order to facilitate internal pedestrian and vehicle circulation and optimal center performance.

Commercial buildings should be built at the street rather than behind a parking lot in order to promote pedestrian circulation, multipurpose shopping trips, and walkable and attractive streetscapes. Large-scale commercial buildings with parking in front should screen parking lots with the coordinated development of out-parcels (pad sites) and with landscaping.

Amend the landscape ordinance to increase the number of trees and landscaped islands required in parking lots.

New neighborhood-scale retail should be located within new residential growth areas to serve daily shopping needs and limit trip distances. In newly developing areas, this retail format is preferred to the existing linear development patterns along arterials.

Neighborhood-scale retail should be developed at the median breaks or intersections of major or minor connectors.

Wayfinding mechanisms and other placemaking features should be strongly encouraged in new and existing commercial districts.

Encourage unified planning for all adjoining land owned or controlled by a project’s developer to ensure proper circulation and land use relationships.

Evaluate existing regulations for effectiveness in promoting density and mixed-use development and in addressing surface parking. Develop a new urban design code for downtown and other key districts to promote healthy mixes of land uses that are compatible and complementary.

We will ensure that new and expanding industries have places to locate and grow in Oklahoma City. The Employment Reserve LUTA designates areas that are especially suitable for major industrial and office development. Public/private partnerships should provide adequate infrastructure and transportation services to these strategic areas. This typology area also recognizes that all land uses do not mix well with each other. Industries must have space to operate responsibly, but have operating characteristics that often are incompatible with other uses. Because industrial and office development may require holding large areas for long periods of time, owners often attempt to realize short-term returns by splitting off parts of sites for commercial or residential uses. If established, these uses can limit industrial and office options. Uses that could compromise future industrial and office growth should not be permitted to encroach on prime land with access to transportation infrastructure that is designated for major employment.

We will reduce the level of land use conflict between industrial and non-industrial uses. Protecting industrial land from non-industrial encroachment is part of a strategy to maintain a sufficient inventory. Reducing the potential for conflict between industrial and other uses also helps maintain the industrial land supply. Industrial development standards and guidelines should include landscaping and screening along major streets and edges of industrial areas, locating higher intensity industries away from neighboring uses, and standards that address building appearance and placement, outdoor storage, and buffering of high-impact site elements.

Click to expand policy information.


Create and promote development-ready sites in Employment Reserve (ER) areas using the following strategies:

  • Task the Oklahoma Industries Authority (OIA) and/or the Oklahoma City Industrial and Cultural Facilities Trust (OCICFT) to help public and private entities create development-ready sites.
  • Partner with the State School Land Trust to prepare their sites located in ER areas for development.
  • Pursue public purchase or optioning of key properties in ER areas in cooperation with the Urban Renewal Authority, the Oklahoma Industries Authority (OIA), and/or the Oklahoma City Industrial and Cultural Facilities Trust (OCICFT).
  • Conduct a market analysis and feasibility study for a new business park.
  • Facilitate development of ER sites by providing:
    • Infrastructure financing options, such as tax-increment financing,
    • Prioritized delivery of infrastructure, and
    • Accelerated or facilitated permitting.

Support development of land designated for large employers and employment centers within the Employment Reserve LUTA, using the following strategies:

  • When major infrastructure is extended to allow specific properties to develop in an Employment Reserve area, the City should place a condition on the land (through a development agreement) limiting future development to employment uses.
  • Guide employment land development through the proactive and strategic installation of infrastructure to accomplish the large-site employment land inventory objectives outlined in the Employment Land Needs Assessment & Action Plan.

Develop design standards and guidelines for industrial development. Standards and guidelines should address: sensitive design and placement of buildings; screening or prohibiting outdoor storage; parcel sizes which allow for long term expansion for individual users; special landscaping requirements addressing screening and landscaping adjacent to residential areas and along  highway and arterial streets; standards for the suitable location, orientation and screening of loading bays; and buffering treatments for truck access points.

Avoid placing heavy industrial uses on borders of industrial areas to avoid conflicts with adjacent development.

Direct oil drilling in industrial areas to locate equipment and facilities near major streets so as to keep interior areas free of obstructions that could hinder industrial development.

We will continue the process of creating a mixed-use, intensively developed, human-scaled, and experience-rich downtown. American downtowns declined as the number of reasons that brought people downtown decreased. Recently, downtowns have achieved success as places to live and visit as well as work. This evolution in Oklahoma City began in Bricktown and surrounding areas, where the canal and ballpark anchored adaptive reuse of historic buildings and the addition of new restaurants, entertainment venues, hotels, offices, and homes. This transformation continued with the addition of one of the National Basketball Association's premier franchises, the Civic Center restoration, major office projects, and new housing. While the growth and development of downtown will always be ongoing, these accomplishments provide the foundation for building a great 21st century downtown.

Land use and development targets and policies will be instrumental in guiding this future. Major land use focuses will include a range of housing types and costs to serve a complete cross-section of the Oklahoma City market; services and retailing that support a larger resident population, including child care, educational facilities, and neighborhood commercial uses like a grocery store; integration of multiple uses into new and existing buildings; and public parks and open spaces for both programmed and informal activity. Much of this future development will occur on currently under-used sites such as the Core to Shore redevelopment area, the future Boulevard on the former I-40 right-of-way; existing surface parking lots, and vacant sites. Initial steps in meeting these needs include revisions of regulations to accelerate desirable uses and market research to demonstrate and quantify markets for specific project types.

As Downtown continues to develop, it must also evolve as a great urban place that offers a superb experience to its residents, workers, and visitors. The history of the urban renewal era in Oklahoma City tells us that investment dollars and big projects alone do not create a living and vibrant city center. A secure, populated, human-scaled environment requires family-friendly amenities, windows on the street, buildings with details scaled to people, pedestrian environments that engage the eye and mind, and an overall sense of welcoming and even festivity. These features have the power to attract the life that is characteristic of great downtowns.

Click to expand policy information.


Promote the downtown area as an attractive place to live and play for all household types, including families with children by:

  • Requiring human scale site and building designs
  • Focusing on pedestrian friendliness
  • Adding family-friendly public amenities including parks, open space, greenways, plazas, bikeways, public art, etc.
  • Limiting noise and protecting privacy
  • Ensuring new buildings and sites are designed to be attractive and to enhance safety and the sense of safety.
  • Encouraging employment and residential uses in close proximity
  • Encouraging or requiring a percentage of condominium or apartment units to be 2 and 3 bedroom units
  • Encouraging “child-friendly” development near schools and discouraging uses that could be detrimental to schools’ viability
  • Instituting on-street police officers on foot or bicycle to maintain “eyes on the street” and enhance public safety and security

Attract and retain young professionals to downtown and its environs to support and enhance place-making efforts and investments.

  • Explore the possibility of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce contracting with the City to facilitate and promote civic engagement and social opportunities for young professionals.

Facilitate the development of housing in the Downtown, Bricktown, and Core to Shore areas in order to increase activity levels and demand for retail and amenities.

Strengthen downtown’s sense of place and activity levels by encouraging more housing, retail, public plazas, public art, parks, indoor recreation facilities, and arts and cultural facilities.

Increase land use diversity in Bricktown to attract and retain visitors and development momentum. Specifically, encourage more retail, office, and recreational uses rather than additional bars and restaurants, so that visitors of all ages and interests will be motivated to visit and stay longer.

In order to promote compatibility between different uses, establish standards and guidelines that ensure all developments are pedestrian-friendly and human scale at street frontages and property lines.

Enhance Downtown Oklahoma City’s prominence by maintaining and increasing its role as the major business center, establishing it as a major urban residential center, and focusing on developing retail, office, entertainment, and arts and cultural uses.

Continue to pursue a full scale downtown grocery store or a natural food grocer by:

  • Increasing the amount of downtown housing
  • Conducting a market study to quantify existing and future potential
  • Promoting downtown to potential store operators
  • Providing incentives such as land, infrastructure, or sales tax rebates, and allowing for mixed-use (vertical) integration with other uses including, but not limited to, residential.

Encourage development of new educational and childcare facilities downtown to accommodate families with children that work and/or live downtown.

In Downtown and adjacent areas, encourage the development of affordable housing for moderate-income households through incentives or requirements such as:

  • Requiring a percentage of units in all new apartment and condominium developments to be affordable to working households with incomes of 80 to 100 percent of the area median family income as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Developments may be exempted through payment of an in-lieu fee to go towards development of affordable housing.
  • Establishing a density bonus program where appropriate.
  • Establishing financial incentives for development of affordable housing.

Evaluate existing regulations for effectiveness in promoting density and mixed-use development and in addressing surface parking. Develop a new urban design code for downtown and other key districts to promote healthy mixes of land uses that are compatible and complementary.

We will create a high-density downtown by providing efficient parking, excellent automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian circulation, and development policies that promote density.

We know that private automobile transportation and the space that cars require work against high-density development. We also know that downtown must accommodate private cars to succeed, but should provide better alternatives for people moving between features within the district. High density development itself brings more things closer together, making walking, biking (including bike share systems), and transit circulators like modern streetcars the most efficient and pleasant ways to go.

We can institute this "virtuous cycle" by:

  • Redeveloping surface parking lots with new development, providing new parking in parking structures, and integrating structured parking vertically into new projects.
  • Developing enhanced transit to downtown and "density-friendly" circulation to points within downtown, including pedestrian and bicycle facilities (including bike share) and the modern streetcar circulator included in the MAPS 3 capital program.
  • Preserving and restoring to the degree possible the urban grid of blocks in Downtown Oklahoma City, re-establishing pedestrian linkages lost during the superblock era of Downtown redevelopment.
  • Revising development ordinances to limit surface parking, encourage mixed uses on at least the street level of parking garages, and increase overall development yields.

Click to expand policy information.


Maintain existing alleys or construct new alleys where feasible to provide trash collection service and parking behind primary buildings and minimize curb cuts along the primary street frontage.

Prohibit new single-use, on-street commercial surface parking lots from locating Downtown and create incentives for the redevelopment of existing commercial surface parking lots with appropriately-scaled infill development.

Provide incentives for developers to build parking garages in high density areas. Include design requirements for projects receiving incentives.

Evaluate existing regulations for effectiveness in promoting density and mixed-use development and in addressing surface parking. Develop a new urban design code for downtown and other key districts to promote healthy mixes of land uses that are compatible and complementary.

We will implement the Core to Shore redevelopment plan. Core to Shore, linking Downtown with the Oklahoma Riverfront, is an exceedingly important project for many reasons. Its 800 acres will develop a completely new, mixed income residential neighborhood that can add up to 10,000 people to the immediate Downtown market. The MAPS 3 Downtown Upper and Lower Parks, other green spaces, and the SkyDance bridge will provide open space and recreation for the entire downtown community and will unite the riverfront greenway and the city center. Finally, the boulevard, convention center, and associated development will heal a barrier that has long divided downtown from its surrounding neighborhoods. Other cities such as Chicago with the redevelopment of the South Loop have demonstrated the dramatic impact of district-wide redevelopment adjacent to a major downtown. Core to Shore is that kind of historic project for Oklahoma City.

Click to expand policy information.


Support infill development on vacant, underutilized, and brownfield sites by:

  • Allowing densities sufficient to incentivize infill in older areas
  • Focusing resources on target neighborhoods to build positive momentum
  • Evaluating and adjusting zoning in areas where infill is desired
  • Reducing permit fees and processing time for infill development proposals
  • Waiving the requirement for traffic impact analyses for infill development proposals
  • Establishing an Abandoned Buildings Program and enhancing it over time by:
    • Seeking changes in City ordinance and State statute where necessary to allow for cost recovery of police and fire services costs caused by vacant buildings
    • Using revenue collected beyond Vacant and Abandoned Buildings program administration cost for neighborhood improvements
    • Submitting land bank legislation to the State Legislature and establishing a land bank authorized to acquire, rehabilitate, and dispose of abandoned properties
  • Offering temporary or short term catalyzing incentives for the first “infillers” in target neighborhoods. Incentives may include small grants and/or low interest loans from a revolving loan fund or for property improvements.
  • Evaluating the possibility of basing property taxes on only land value and not improvements, thereby encouraging high intensity use of well-positioned land and discouraging underutilization and long–term vacancy.

Enhance Downtown Oklahoma City’s prominence by maintaining and increasing its role as the major business center, establishing it as a major urban residential center, and focusing on developing retail, office, entertainment, and arts and cultural uses.

Work to establish a critical mass of retail uses in the downtown area. A lifestyle center or mixed-use town center presents the most viable option for a major infusion of retail into downtown.

Evaluate existing regulations for effectiveness in promoting density and mixed-use development and in addressing surface parking. Develop a new urban design code for downtown and other key districts to promote healthy mixes of land uses that are compatible and complementary.

We will preserve rural character and grow efficiently by managing the growth of urban development. Without careful phasing of infrastructure extensions and development in new areas, we will continue to use existing infrastructure inefficiently while incurring the higher costs of extending facilities prematurely; create land use conflicts with existing farms; and change the character of land for people who built homes or made other investments based on rural character.

Urban growth will occur in many areas, but these new growth areas should receive infrastructure as the market demands, with incremental utility extensions contiguous to pre-existing urban development. This will require designing and implementing an infrastructure management system, possibly establishing sub-watershed districts which would be opened to development as required by land availability or economic considerations. New basins would be opened to development when existing areas with full services reach a certain percentage of development. In the meantime, areas that can feasibly receive urban infrastructure in the future should be reserved for urban development through the Urban Reserve LUTA.

Infrastructure financing techniques should recognize both the need to manage and direct the geographic extent of development, and the need for partnerships between the public and private sectors to extend services and utilities. For example, the City could provide front-end financing for infrastructure in a specific growth area, reimbursed or offset by impact fees and special service district assessments calculated on the basis of the yield of the area.

We will reinforce the character and quality of existing rural development and provide the ability for some very large lot development in some areas which are unlikely to receive infrastructure in the short term. Oklahoma City has a substantial amount of rural residential development within its city limits. The integrity and rural character of this development should be respected as previous investments in infrastructure are efficiently used. These rural areas also have a significant population that requires convenience and commercial services. Land use policies will provide for limited commercial development to address these specific service needs. The Rural LUTAs specifically recognize that maintaining character, using infrastructure efficiently, and providing supporting commercial are priorities.

While we can plan for sound, gradual expansion of the city through the Urban Reserve LUTA, we should provide existing landowners with the opportunity to realize a reasonable development return on their land. We will consider innovative techniques like Build-Through Acreages, allowing rural density development on a portion of a parcel with adoption of an overall master plan that achieves urban densities when utilities are extended.

Click to expand policy information.


Revise subdivision regulations to include connectivity standards and guidelines that require greater street connectivity, and provide allowances for pedestrian and bicycle connections when street connectivity cannot be made.

Establish access management requirements that limit driveways on arterials and collectors and increase connections between uses to improve safety and traffic efficiency.

Change subdivision regulations to determine the number of entries into a residential development based on number of lots in order to improve connectivity of the roadway network and emergency response.

In order to accommodate desires for large-lot development in Urban Reserve areas, implement innovative techniques such as build-through acreages (otherwise known as shadow platting or ghost platting) that permit interim large-lot development of a site or a portion of a site with a master plan that achieves an overall future density target for urban development.

Prioritize and concentrate development where facilities, infrastructure, and services have capacity and in areas where the Police and Fire Departments are best able to respond. Guide the location and timing of development through the proactive and strategic installation of infrastructure.

Use one or more of the following methods to ensure infrastructure and facility capacities are adequate for proposed development:

  • Ongoing master planning to determine the necessary water, sewer, and road infrastructure to serve development.
  • An impact fee system that collects funds for specific areas as they develop and installs needed infrastructure in a timely manner.
  • Use of special service districts to ensure appropriate levels of service, sufficient revenue, and timely installation of infrastructure and facilities for each district.
  • Require developers to construct or fully fund infrastructure or other improvements needed to serve their development, with reasonable accommodation for future adjacent or nearby development.
  • Require developers to wait until the City (or the State as the case may be) constructs the infrastructure needed to serve their development.
  • For development proposed in areas not currently within one-half mile of existing water infrastructure, require a service area study to first be completed to determine the best method for providing water to the service area.

For development proposed in areas not currently within a sanitary sewer drainage basin, a drainage basin study should first be completed to determine the best method for sanitary sewer service.

Preserve existing rural residential character while pursuing optimal use of existing infrastructure in rural areas.

Ensure that development in rural areas is consistent with local design and scale and does not detract from the open character of the landscape.

Support limited amounts of commercial (one to two acres per use) in rural areas appropriate to the needs of rural residents. Commercial uses in rural areas should be located:

  • On major, uninterrupted arterials
  • In small clusters
  • At freeway interchanges

Adopt subdivision regulations that ensure new neighborhoods meet the basic needs of residents while supporting an efficient development pattern. Regulations should cover:

  • Open space (passive and active),
  • Demonstration of sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs,
  • Walkability and bikeability,
  • Internal and external street connectivity,
  • Block length,
  • Integration of uses,
  • Integration of a variety of home sizes,
  • Integration of a variety of unit types, and
  • Preservation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Regulations could be based on a point scale to allow flexibility, while still requiring basic minimum thresholds be met.
New regulations should remove the existing requirement for development in Rural LUTAs to connect to water and sewer systems and establish a minimum one-acre lot size for lots with on-site sewer treatment.

We will protect key environmental features and use practices that minimize the impact of urban development. Resource protection follows two tracks: maintaining certain environmentally sensitive areas in predominately open uses and minimizing the impact of neighboring development. Policies for areas such as riparian areas and floodplains will preserve the integrity and general open quality of these features. Specific requirements should be fashioned around the characteristics of these resources. For example, floodways should be left as permanent open space, and floodplain development should be avoided.

The parallel track addresses development practices in areas that affect environmental resources. Examples include reducing densities, intensities, and impervious surface of development near environmental resources; incorporating buffers into project design; and prohibiting uses that present pollution risks in important groundwater recharge areas. These practices are discussed more fully in the greenokc chapter.

Land development regulations should advance these practices with both performance requirements and incentives such as conservation development. Conservation development techniques preserve resources within a project area by maintaining openness of sensitive areas and transferring their development potential to other parts of the site.

Click to expand policy information.


Pursue grants, partnerships, and programs that accomplish the following:

  • Restore tree stands and wildlife habitats in environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Acquire land or establish conservation easements in environmentally sensitive areas to reserve as permanent open space and protect wildlife and habitat.
  • Establish a comprehensive habitat management program.
  • Provide education and resources for proper use of pesticides and fertilizers, with special focus on encouraging integrated pest management and organic practices.
  • Provide education about land management practices that address fire suppression, invasive species, use of herbicides/pesticides, and overgrazing.
  • Promote the economic and aesthetic value of preserving Oklahoma City’s natural resources such as riparian areas, Cross Timbers forest, grasslands/prairie, bottomland forests, and wetlands.

Avoid under-grounding streams to the greatest extent possible. Where feasible, encourage the re-surfacing of buried streams. Limit the use of culverts or other structures that alter natural streams, and require designs that minimize impacts to stream health and function.

Using performance standards related to flow quantity, quality, and pattern, modify development regulations, codes, and policies to support the use of green infrastructure/low impact development techniques to mimic natural systems for developments within aquifer recharge zones with moderate or high vulnerability or in areas where streams and riparian areas have been channelized or developed (primarily in the Downtown, UH, and UM LUTAs). Low impact development techniques include but are not limited to:

  • Onsite treating or filtering of stormwater contaminants.
  • Discharging run-off as sheet-flow after passing through grassy or vegetated open space areas, rather than discharging run-off through concentrated outfalls.
  • Creating attractive open space amenities that double as stormwater detention, retention, and / or filtering systems.
  • Utilizing pervious pavement, pavers, or asphalt in appropriate locations (i.e. sidewalks, parking spaces, trails, patios, etc.).
  • Utilizing planters (at grade or raised), vegetated landscape strips adjacent to roads and parking areas, and alternative curbing designs (allowing stormwater to easily move from impervious areas to pervious areas), to encourage stormwater infiltration and temporary detention.
  • Rain Gardens
  • Bioswales
  • Green streets and alleys
  • Green roofs
  • Rooftop collection
  • Underground detention
  • Increased tree canopy preservation/tree planting
  • Land/open space conservation
  • Cluster development

Establish development regulations to help protect Oklahoma City’s water resources through standards that:

  • Require buffers, setbacks, and vegetation conservation requirements to protect riparian and littoral zones and filter waterborne pollutants from development activities and storm water runoff. Buffer widths should be based on water quality function and wildlife habitat needs.
  • Encourage natural drainage systems and methods for onsite infiltration and onsite sediment retention.
  • Require new developments to maintain or decrease the site’s pre-development runoff rate.
  • Allow low-impact development design features such as pervious pavement, rain gardens, landscaped parkways, and alternative curbing designs.
  • Reduce the amount of impervious surfaces allowed in buffer zones around Environmentally Sensitive Areas.
  • Restore watershed features such as forest, wetlands, and natural stream channels.

Revise policies, codes and development regulations to reduce the risk of damage resulting from flooding and preserve water quality and stream related habitat by avoiding alterations to the 100-year floodplain (as depicted on the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map). Allow these areas to remain in their natural state to the greatest extent possible. Revised policies should allow positive alterations, such as restoration of natural riparian areas with appropriate vegetation.

Preserve wetlands in their natural state to the greatest extent possible to increase water quality, minimize quantity of runoff, and increase groundwater recharge. Maintain wetland headwaters and avoid the alteration of surface or subsurface drainage patterns that would eliminate, reduce, or severely alter the frequency and volume of water entering wetland areas.

Develop a comprehensive watershed management strategy that identifies programs, partnerships, actions, and incentives that the City and partners can take to protect the city’s water resources and aquatic areas. The strategy should address the following:

  • Creation of a Stormwater Master Plan.
  • Update to the City’s sediment control program and establishment of performance measures.
  • Coordinated watershed restoration projects.
  • Preparation and implementation of Small Watershed Action Plans (SWAPs) and participation in studies to identify needs and opportunities for stream restoration, wetland creation and restoration, and storm water management.
  • Identification of opportunities to create wetlands to offset construction and other land development impacts.
  • Identification and utilization of “receiving lands” that can absorb storm surge overflows.
  • Public education on how to conserve water and minimize chemicals, pathogens, sediment, and nutrients in urban and rural watersheds.
  • Acquisition and protection of greenways, river buffers and flood prone areas.

Evaluate the City’s stormwater detention/retention requirements, including the current fee-in-lieu of program, and compare to current best management practices. Based on findings, modify codes, policies and development regulations to update stormwater detention/retention requirements. These requirements should focus on:

  • Reducing the risks of property damage due to flooding.
  • Managing runoff rates and minimizing stream bank erosion by ensuring that post-development runoff rates do not exceed pre-development rates, even in areas where risks of flooding have historically been low.
  • Maintaining surface water quality by managing the release of the first flush stormwater volume in order to encourage settling and filtering of particle and chemical pollutants before releasing water into adjacent water bodies.

Revise development regulations to require the following factors to be addressed in development and redevelopment proposals:

  • Preservation of existing natural resources, such as wooded areas, habitat areas, and floodplains.
  • Utilization of natural treatments and methods to stabilize or rehabilitate stream and river banks as a means to preserve downstream habitats.
  • Integration of a variety of native or compatible non-native, non-invasive plant species.
  • Mitigation of impacts of development on habitat, wildlife corridors, riparian and littoral areas, and water quality, through actions such as restoration or re-vegetation of disturbed natural areas and replacement of trees/habitat on-site or off-site.
  • Management of invasive plant and animal species.
  • Management and maintenance of natural areas, common areas and drainage areas.
  • Impact on surface and groundwater supply.
  • Impact on water quality caused by land uses and activities.
  • Impacts on floodplains, riparian and littoral areas and wetlands and areas with significant landforms.

In areas where standard on-site wastewater systems are not feasible (such as in areas with shallow or poor soils), require very low-density development or development that utilizes conservation design and a centralized treatment facility or other environmentally sensitive systems for wastewater treatment.

Develop a manual of best management practices that can be integrated into City codes. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Tree care and management.
  • Tree planting.
  • Tree protection.
  • Street trees (location, conflicts, maintenance, etc. – in addition to general tree care guidelines).
  • Placement of utilities (e.g., under streets vs. under park strips)
  • Low impact development techniques.
  • Habitat protection and restoration.
  • Conservation easements and/or subdivisions.

Revise the landscape ordinance to include the following:

  • Define terms such as invasive species, exotic/non-native species, and native/indigenous species
  • Require removal of invasive species from existing sites, and prohibit such species from being planted or maintained in new development.
  • Provide a reference list of native plants and drought-tolerant plants.
  • Provide incentives for using native and drought-tolerant plants and disincentives for using high-water plants and turf grass.
  • Establish requirements for using design practices that minimize the need for supplemental irrigation.

Preserve natural habitat, maintain wildlife food sources, and reduce the risk of propagating invasive plant species by utilizing vegetation native to Oklahoma, preferably central Oklahoma, for all mitigation and habitat restoration efforts associated with new development and redevelopment projects, public and private, to the greatest extent possible.

Establish an Urban Forestry Program and City Urban Forester position to achieve the following:

  • Measure and monitor tree canopy coverage and habitat on a regular basis so that any policies, programs, and regulations may be adjusted accordingly as situations change. Establish a process to maintain current data.
  • Develop and maintain regulations, policies, processes, and programs that focus on protection and preservation of native trees.
  • Provide assistance with proper tree selection, location, and maintenance to prevent power outages, reduce property damage, and coordinate emergency response during natural disaster events (excessive snow and ice, tornadoes, etc.), address the urban heat island effect, and reduce energy costs, etc.
  • Establish programs such as tree give-aways, neighborhood planting programs, and education workshops.
  • Provide resources to the public about tree selection, management, and care.
  • Seek grant funding for community tree planting to improve City parks, publicly maintained rights-of-way and other areas of the city.
  • Inventory the City’s street trees and develop a tree replacement program.
  • Partner with volunteer and nonprofit organizations to recruit volunteers for tree planting and maintenance and to coordinate community-wide tree planting efforts.

Develop and adopt a tree preservation ordinance that achieves the following:

  • Defines methods of preservation;
  • Defines situations where preservation of trees is mandatory versus optional;
  • Establishes incentives for tree preservation;
  • Establishes mitigation options if preservation cannot be accomplished; and
  • Establishes penalties for unauthorized tree removal.

Preserve mature healthy trees and incorporate them into the design of new development or redevelopment projects to the greatest extent possible. Include provisions and best management practices to ensure proper tree protection throughout the construction process. Best management practices include but are not limited to:

  • The use of proper pruning techniques;
  • Appropriate watering;
  • Installation of protective fencing at the drip lines of trees or groups of trees;
  • Designated material storage areas; and
  • Approved equipment and vehicle parking and maintenance areas.

Provide the public with resources, tools, and guidance to deal with environmental hazards, such as:

  • Information about safe disposal options for household contaminants such as motor oils, paints, computers, televisions, batteries, etc.
  • Information on environmental hazards, such as brownfield sites.
  • Information about funds available to assist with environmental cleanups.

Modify development and subdivision regulations, and City policies to minimize alteration of natural landforms and native vegetation and maximize retention of distinctive natural features for public and private projects.

Coordinate with local, regional, and State agencies to pursue initiatives and regulations that help reduce automobile emissions, such as:

  • Transitioning commercial and City fleets to alternative-fueled and hybrid vehicles;
  • Determining the feasibility of an idling restriction ordinance for all vehicles.

Establish development regulations that help improve air quality, including:

  • Specifying construction controls that reduce airborne dust;
  • Increasing landscaping and tree planting to absorb carbon dioxide and air pollutants; and
  • Encouraging development patterns and densities that support alternative modes of transportation in the urban LUTAs.

Promote improved air quality and reduced ground-level ozone levels by developing a public education program that will inform residents about the air quality benefits of:

  • Proper automobile maintenance
  • Proper maintenance and use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment
  • Limiting car idling times
  • Alternative fuels
  • Alternative / active transportation modes (public transit, walking, biking, car-sharing, etc.)
  • Reducing vehicle-miles traveled (VMT)
  • Employer sponsored emission reduction programs (carpooling, work from home, telecommuting, etc.)
  • Native landscaping (requiring less maintenance)
  • Energy efficient housing / buildings

Establish strategies, procedures and policies for City construction projects to achieve higher energy efficiency, including:

  • Implementing an energy management plan for City facilities.
  • Monitoring energy consumption of City facilities, tracking conservation progress, and communicating results to City administrators, employees, elected officials and the public.
  • Assessing water use in City facilities to identify opportunities for conservation and implement appropriate measures.

Partner with agencies, non-profits, and private entities to:

  • Implement a sustainable development online forum – an educational and networking resource that will inform the public about local opportunities and the benefits of sustainable development while increasing builder and developer participation.
  • Educate citizens on energy and water conservation opportunities both at work and at home.
  • Encourage appropriate re-use and reclamation of water in new development and redevelopment to reduce the reliance on potable water use.
  • Provide detailed cost-benefit information about green building practices to encourage increased use of such practices in Oklahoma City.
  • Reduce reliance on electricity produced by fossil fuel by encouraging the use of renewable energy sources in new development and redevelopment.
  • Explore mechanisms (incentives, regulations, programs) to divert demolition debris from landfills and redirect to facilities that can reuse these materials.
  • Establish a promotion/award program to showcase innovative development that utilizes low-impact development practices and energy-efficient building techniques / equipment, conserves riparian buffers, and extends greenway networks with hiking/biking trails.

Preserve overall landscape character and natural landforms (rolling hills, native vegetation, etc.) to the greatest extent possible.

Increase the amount of biodiversity-rich green space in urban and suburban areas by:

  • Integrating vegetation to support biodiversity in parks, gardens, trails, and green roofs. Native vegetation that provides food and habitat for native wildlife such as “micro prairies” and urban forests will have the greatest effect.
  • Encouraging optimal mowing practices on large lots that are adjacent to natural features.

Enrich natural biodiversity in agricultural areas by promoting practices that provide food, water, and habitat for wildlife and minimize negative impacts. Strategies to achieve the goal include:

  • Working with farmers, rancher, conservationists, sustainable agricultural organizations, and other stakeholders to develop a plan to conserve nature in farming and ranching landscapes.
  • Implementing optimal mowing strategies, which include harvesting grasses at a growing height of 10 plus inches; creating early successional habitat with burning, disking, and haying every 3-5 years; mowing from the center of a field outward to allow wildlife to escape the surrounding areas; adding flushing bars to mowing equipment to minimize bird injuries and death; leaving 4-6 inches of stubble after harvest to capture snow and water; harvesting or mowing after first frost to avoid disturbing bird nests and improve grass quality; and leaving portions of fields as standing crops.
  • Increasing nesting habitat.
  • Adopting best practices for fertilizer and pesticide applications.
  • Developing landscape conservation cooperatives.
  • Encouraging grassland ranching as an ecologically beneficial alternative to cultivation, particularly practices such as “mob grazing” that mimic natural grazing patterns.
  • Promoting ranching of bison, which benefit conservation efforts by dispersing seeds, increasing plant biodiversity, and enhancing groundwater recharge.
  • Restoring grassland on previously cultivated landscapes, particularly in buffer zones near natural features.
  • Encouraging and supporting agricultural parks that combine recreation and food production and foster appreciation for agricultural heritage.
  • Promoting sustainable intensification, which increases production and profitability while providing rich sources of habitat for biodiversity.

Protect and preserve natural resources, by:

  • Identifying and mapping valuable natural resources, such as, native prairies.
  • Maintaining a comprehensive inventory and assessment of natural resources and critical habitats.
  • Identifying opportunities to create an interconnected green infrastructure network throughout and beyond Oklahoma City’s municipal boundaries via existing trail and greenway projects, parks, stream corridors, and natural areas.
  • Seeking the voluntary sale of land or dedication of conservation easements on private land that is identified as critical habitat or is necessary to link wildlife corridors.
  • Pursuing protection of strategically identified natural areas by placing them in conservation easements or land banks, and reserving them for future use as open space and passive recreational areas.
  • Managing invasive plant and animal species.
  • Partnering with applicable State agencies and non-profit entities.

Strive to preserve natural open spaces, including native prairies, and re-plant native vegetation to take advantage of their drought tolerance and deep root structures that slow and adsorb stormwater runoff and reduce erosion by anchoring the soil.

Identify and protect critical habitats for state and federally listed threatened or endangered species.

Establish strategies, procedures and policies that prevent degradation or loss of critical habitat and sensitive areas, such as Cross Timbers, upland forests, wetlands, wildlife corridors, groundwater recharge zones, and riparian areas. Protection methods should ensure that placement of lots, alignment of roads, and installation of structures and infrastructure minimize disturbance of the environmentally sensitive areas using tools such as:

  • Directing development to appropriate locations;
  • Greenbelt preservation;
  • Assurance of no development in protected open space;
  • Clustering / conservation subdivisions;
  • Pervious surface treatments;
  • Density transfers; and/or
  • Conservation easements.

Ensure that strategies, procedures, and policies incorporate principles of connectivity, minimal fragmentation, representativeness, and heterogeneity.

Modify codes to allow residential clustering in rural land use typology areas, provided water supply and sewage disposal requirements are met, and permanently preserve nearby open space through means such as conservation easements.

Adopt subdivision regulations that ensure new neighborhoods meet the basic needs of residents while supporting an efficient development pattern. Regulations should cover:

  • Open space (passive and active),
  • Demonstration of sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs,
  • Walkability and bikeability,
  • Internal and external street connectivity,
  • Block length,
  • Integration of uses,
  • Integration of a variety of home sizes,
  • Integration of a variety of unit types, and
  • Preservation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Regulations could be based on a point scale to allow flexibility, while still requiring basic minimum thresholds be met.
New regulations should remove the existing requirement for development in Rural LUTAs to connect to water and sewer systems and establish a minimum one-acre lot size for lots with on-site sewer treatment.

We will ensure that street improvements and expansions to the network serve the development vision of planokc. The Land Use Plan, the foundation of planokc, is based on efficient use of land resources, and incremental, market-based extensions of urban development. Road construction projects in undeveloped areas can have the opposite effect by encouraging decentralized development. Both city and regional road plans should reinforce the vision of efficiency by focusing on enhancing the existing network, addressing areas of congestion and poor operation, increasing network connectivity and route choice, and using new street extensions to guide development in desirable directions.

We will implement the street typology concept. The street typologies combine the function and context of streets to produce design standards. Our subdivision ordinances and design practices should be amended to be consistent with these standards. Different land uses and intensities of development also require streets with the ability to handle the traffic they generate. Therefore, new development should be located on streets of appropriate type and capacity, or include measures necessary to supply the required capacity.

Click to expand policy information.


Coordinate the design, development, expansion, and/or investment in transportation projects with the Land Use Typology map.

Require traffic impact analyses with all comprehensive plan amendments requests to change to a higher intensity LUTA.

Require the construction of new streets, streetscapes, and street widening projects to implement the design components of the assigned street typologies established in this plan.

Share parking among contiguous developments.

Revise Subdivision Regulations and development standards to reflect the street typology standards.

Identify and prioritize freight infrastructure projects that are needed to maintain mobility and enhance the city’s (and region’s) economic competitiveness.

Undertake targeted parking studies to determine existing parking capacity and develop appropriate parking standards based on land use, location, and demand.

Require sidewalks on both sides of all streets in urban LUTAs and in the Rural Residential LUTA for subdivisions with densities greater than 1 unit per acre.

Maintain historical lot and block sizes where possible and appropriate.

Assess the need for additional funds for citywide road maintenance beyond past average annual expenditures. If additional funds are needed for street maintenance, explore the feasibility of:

  • Implementing a transportation utility fee; or
  • Increasing the proportion of G.O. Bond money spent on street maintenance over past levels.

We will provide good street connections within and between neighborhoods to provide a choice of routes and separate local traffic from major arterials. Good street connectivity has many benefits. By providing alternative routes for short distance trips, it indirectly increases the capacity of arterial streets. It also provides better quiet street opportunities for pedestrians and bicyclists, and improves the efficiency of delivering emergency access and city services.

Click to expand policy information.


Maintain the traditional grid street pattern where it currently exists, reconnect it where possible, and keep alleys open and functioning. When improving older streets in neighborhoods, maintain original street widths and curb radii.

Improve the functionality and efficiency of the street network by:

  • Providing direct connections from residential developments to nearby places and to each other.
  • Providing street and sidewalk stubs to adjacent vacant land in anticipation of future development.
  • Connecting new development to existing street and sidewalk stubs, and to existing trail, open space, and bicycle networks.
  • Reducing block sizes and use of dead-end streets.
  • Maintaining the existing street grid to preserve connectivity and mobility options.

Revise subdivision regulations to include connectivity standards and guidelines that require greater street connectivity, and provide allowances for pedestrian and bicycle connections when street connectivity cannot be made.

Change subdivision regulations to determine the number of entries into a residential development based on number of lots in order to improve connectivity of the roadway network and emergency response.

Maintain existing alleys or construct new alleys where feasible to provide trash collection service and parking behind primary buildings and minimize curb cuts along the primary street frontage.

Target specific areas of the city for enhanced safety and proactive enforcement. Selection of target areas will be informed by the Intelligence Led Policing program, with coordinated involvement from Police, Code Enforcement, Public Works Department, Planning, and community-based organizations.

Evaluate development proposals to assess design components that contribute to or detract from safety and analyze emergency response capacity and capability.

We will implement the general recommendations of the Transportation Service Analysis (TSA) and the Fixed Guideway Study (FGS). These two studies together define a transit future for Oklahoma City. The Service Analysis addresses enhancements of the existing bus system while the FGS provides a long-term direction that introduces new transit technologies. We have begun implementing elements of both studies. The restructured EMBARK system has made the substantial short-term route adjustments and re-imaging recommended by the TSA. The MAPS 3 program, approved by the voters, includes capital funding for a modern streetcar serving the Downtown area, a major recommendation of the FGS. Both projects will change the image and visibility of transit in the city.

The TSA established basic principles to guide short-term adjustments and longer-term system design. These guiding principles include simplicity of service, directness of routes, minimized transfer waits, operation along arterials, route symmetry in both directions, and service to rider destinations. Key long-term recommendations include weekend service expanded evening hours, and more frequent service on routes with high ridership potential. These service expansions are vital to expanding the relevance of transit to more people. The analysis also recommends new routes with available funds, including a direct service to the airport. New service should also serve destinations of special interest to both residents and visitors, using routes that will appeal to specific markets.

The FGS proposes a future system utilizing four technologies:

  1. Enhanced bus on the basic system, using conventional buses with more frequent service, longer operating hours, rider amenities such as shelters and schedule information at stops, less frequent stops, and faster operating speeds.
  2. Bus rapid transit (BRT) on four corridors: Reno Avenue, Northwest Expressway, 59th Street, and Meridian Avenue.
  3. Modern streetcar, to be implemented on a starter basis through MAPS 3 as noted earlier.
  4. Commuter rail on two corridors: the primary north-south route from Edmond to Norman via Downtown Oklahoma City and Downtown to Midwest City/Tinker Air Force Base.

Scheduling and funding for this 2008 study must be re-evaluated, but the basic long-term system concept remains sound.

Click to expand policy information.


Increase frequency and time of transit operations to ensure adequate, convenient and safe service for visitors, employees, and residents.

Focus transit improvements in high density areas with high ridership potential and along express routes that move people to activity nodes and downtown.

Implement policies and strategies recommended in the 2013 COTPA Transit Service Analysis.

Develop an urban rail and/or bus rapid transit system to connect downtown with strategic corridors and nodes.

We will incorporate transit access into street design standards and projects on appropriate corridors. As streets that carry transit routes are improved or modified, their design should include features that specifically encourage amenities, pedestrian access, and smoother operations. These features may include enhanced pedestrian access and street crossings at transit stops; signal cycles that give pedestrians time to cross streets; space for shelters; signal controls; and reserved lanes or "JUMP" lanes for bus rapid transit. In addition, street typology standards that include transit-friendly features should be implemented.

We will implement standards that provide good transit access and user connections to major projects on transit routes. The length and nature of the path between a transit stop and the entrance to a major destination determines whether a project really has adequate transit service. For example, a stop should not require people to find their way across a large parking lot to enter the development. New design standards for large projects with transit potential should provide safe and comfortable links from the transit stop, or provide routes into the project for transit use.

Click to expand policy information.


Revise development standards to require sidewalks and transit stops along existing and planned transit routes.

Develop design standards for bus stops and transit stations that consider location, make connections to sidewalks and bicycle routes/trails, and provide safe, comfortable, and attractive waiting areas for riders.

Ensure that new publicly financed developments – those which directly use or receive public dollars – with more than 100 units or with densities greater than 10 units/acre are located where they have easy access to frequent transit service.

We will design and implement a bicycle route system based on getting people to priority destinations. The current Bicycle Transportation Plan provides a two-phased network of potential bike routes. This network is based on evaluating various streets for bicycle suitability, and provides a solid foundation for implementation. The system should now be refined by considering destinations and designing routes that assemble on-street segments and trails into an entire network that serves multiple destinations.

We will incorporate appropriate support features such as bike parking and wayfinding signage into the system. On and off-street facilities function best with relatively inexpensive support facilities like parking and information graphics. Zoning ordinances and cost-sharing programs can both require, and encourage through incentives, bike parking for appropriate land uses, like major commercial, multi-family, and mixed use development. Desirable city actions include installing bike parking in public parking structures and business districts and encouraging bike "corrals" in which one parking space is dedicated to bike parking in neighborhood business districts.

Click to expand policy information.


Identify areas that could be used to establish a greenbelt network throughout the City that connect major employment centers, commercial sites, parks, and key locations within major residential neighborhoods. Use the greenbelt as the backbone for a bicycle trails network which all other bicycle trails feed into.

Create and implement a citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan that addresses riders of all levels.

Require the placement of secure, properly positioned bicycle parking within multi-family and commercial development, and in all public parking garages.

We will identify major obstacles to completion of important system connections and implement projects that bridge these barriers. Most interstate crossings are arterial streets, often with interchanges, creating conditions that many cyclists find hazardous. The city has previously developed projects to address these barriers such as the SkyDance Bridge over I-40 and the Woodson Park Bridge over I-44. Other barriers persist, such as the lack of safe crossings over I-44 between May Avenue and I-235, a high intensity area with many important destinations. Options for these projects include dedicated pathway bridges or retrofit of existing interchanges and arterial crossings for better pedestrian and bicycle accommodation.

Click to expand policy information.


Prioritize construction of pedestrian and bicycle facilities that improve connectivity and eliminate gaps in the transportation network.

We will design or retrofit trails to provide convenient and barrier-free access to adjacent streets and major destinations. A trail that provides miles but does not connect to its surroundings may provide benefits to people seeking workouts, but it fails in its transportation mission to move people to places. In addition, poor access or visibility to and from surroundings can create public safety problems as well. We must design new trails and retrofit existing trails to provide frequent and comfortable access to wayside destinations and streets, with clear signage that helps orient users to their location.

Click to expand policy information.


Create a standards for trails based on industry standards, “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” principles, expected use, and surrounding land uses.

Acquire easements in new and existing developments to develop and connect trails.

Establish connections between parks, residential areas, and other points of interest by constructing additional bike routes, trails and pedestrian paths to meet the growing demands for recreation and alternative transportation routes.

Require that new development tie into the park and trail system by providing linkages to existing parks or dedicating new park land. Connect existing parks and neighborhoods to create a continuous system of open spaces, for example along stream corridors.

We will implement sidewalk requirements for both land use typology areas (LUTAs) and street typology standards in city development ordinances and standard practice. Different LUTAs will have different levels of pedestrian activity. Thus, different solutions may be applied to achieve the overall goal of providing appropriate pedestrian service. For example, a loop of local streets in an Urban-Low Intensity LUTA and a street grid in an Urban High-Intensity area will require different approaches to achieve areawide service. Different types of streets also have different sidewalk requirements based on their function and context. City design standards and implementing ordinances should reflect these differences in width, setback, connection, density, and presence of alternatives like trails or other off-street paths.

Click to expand policy information.


Establish regulations that require pedestrian connections between new commercial development and adjoining residential areas.

Prioritize street maintenance projects in the Capital Improvement Plan based on the Public Works Department’s street condition data and traffic volumes.

We will adopt land use and development practices that reduce the distance people must drive to meet their daily needs. In Oklahoma City, transportation is the principal cause of our most significant air quality problems. The policies included in the land use and transportation elements of planokc, which promote more compact development, mixed use, and improved transportation choice, will have a beneficial effect on automobile emissions. While cars will continue to be the primary means of transportation in Oklahoma City, even small changes in the number of miles driven, combined with greater fuel efficiency and technologies that reduce emissions, will substantially improve air quality.

We will coordinate initiatives and regulatory changes with local, regional, and state agencies to reduce motor vehicle emissions. In addition to reducing the number of miles that each person must drive, we need to make the vehicles that we use more efficient. We will improve overall fuel efficiency and reduce emissions by taking actions alone or in concert with other agencies that will increase use of alternative fuels in public and private car fleets, and consider new legislation and implement educational programs to reduce unnecessary emissions.most significant air quality problems. The policies included in the land use and transportation elements of planokc, which promote more compact development, mixed use, and improved transportation choice, will have a beneficial effect on automobile emissions. While cars will continue to be the primary means of transportation in Oklahoma City, even small changes in the number of miles driven, combined with greater fuel efficiency and technologies that reduce emissions, will substantially improve air quality.

We will develop incentives and adopt regulatory standards to reduce transportation emissions. In addition to reducing the number of miles driven, we must also improve vehicles fuel efficiency and emissions standards. Working in collaboration with local, regional, and state agencies, we will seek to increase use of clean fuels in public and private automobile fleets, consider new legislation, and implement educational programs.

We will preserve forests and encourage tree planting to improve air quality. Vegetation, particularly trees, plays a large role in both regulating and improving air quality, especially in urban areas. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases, while replenishing the atmosphere with oxygen. They also help trap particle pollutants that can damage human lungs. We will improve our landscape ordinance to more effectively increase tree cover, reduce airborne pollutants, and reduce surface temperatures in the summer. We will also preserve existing trees and forested areas and encourage new tree plantings associated with development and streetscape projects. 

A QUICK CALCULATION

Oklahoma City has about 227,000 households, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. Most studies and trip generation estimates indicate that the typical household generates 10 trips daily. In Oklahoma City, this equals about 2.3 million trips. Estimates of the percentage of trips under two miles range from 25% to 40% of the total. For OKC, this ranges from 575,000 to 920,000 trips per day. If only one-quarter of these trips were made by active transportation modes (on foot or by bike), between 143,000 and 230,000 trips would be diverted from cars – the total number of trips on two of our busiest freeways. Assuming an average trip length of one mile, this means that in a course of a year, Oklahoma City residents would drive between 52 and 84 million fewer miles per year! According to the Environmental Protection Administration's report on Average Annual Emissions, a typical car emits .81 pounds (368.4 grams) of carbon dioxide per mile driven. So if one-quarter of short trips in our city were made by walking or biking, we would reduce CO2 emissions per year by between 42 and 68 million pounds annually.

BENEFITS OF TREES

Trees absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses such as sulfur dioxide from the air and release oxygen that humans, and other species, need for survival.
According to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension, trees provide the following benefits related to air quality and air pollution reduction:

  • One large tree can supply a day's supply of oxygen for four people.
  • A healthy tree can store 13 pounds of carbon each year. For an acre of trees, that equals 2.6 tons of carbon storage.
  • Each gallon of gasoline burned produces almost 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. For every 10,000 miles driven, it takes 7 trees to remove the amount of carbon dioxide produced if the vehicle gets 40 miles per gallon (mpg); it will take 10 trees at 30 mpg; 15 trees at 20 mpg; 20 trees at 15 mpg; and 25 trees at 12 mpg.

Click to expand policy information.


Improve the functionality and efficiency of the street network by:

  • Providing direct connections from residential developments to nearby places and to each other.
  • Providing street and sidewalk stubs to adjacent vacant land in anticipation of future development.
  • Connecting new development to existing street and sidewalk stubs, and to existing trail, open space, and bicycle networks.
  • Reducing block sizes and use of dead-end streets.
  • Maintaining the existing street grid to preserve connectivity and mobility options.

Prioritize opportunities to restore and reconnect the street grid.

Prioritize construction of pedestrian and bicycle facilities that improve connectivity and eliminate gaps in the transportation network.

Identify areas that could be used to establish a greenbelt network throughout the City that connect major employment centers, commercial sites, parks, and key locations within major residential neighborhoods. Use the greenbelt as the backbone for a bicycle trails network which all other bicycle trails feed into.

Market the trails system as a transportation and recreation system to residents and visitors.

Change subdivision regulations to determine the number of entries into a residential development based on number of lots in order to improve connectivity of the roadway network and emergency response.

Support the creation of a regional transit authority and pursue the establishment of a dedicated funding source, such as sales tax or property tax to achieve long term transit service goals.

Increase frequency and time of transit operations to ensure adequate, convenient and safe service for visitors, employees, and residents.

Implement policies and strategies recommended in the 2013 COTPA Transit Service Analysis.

Develop an urban rail and/or bus rapid transit system to connect downtown with strategic corridors and nodes.

Work with the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments to implement the Early Action Compact to mitigate air quality issues.

Support and incentivize the adaptive use of existing buildings, infill development, and brownfield development.

Preserve natural habitat, maintain wildlife food sources, and reduce the risk of propagating invasive plant species by utilizing vegetation native to Oklahoma, preferably central Oklahoma, for all mitigation and habitat restoration efforts associated with new development and redevelopment projects, public and private, to the greatest extent possible.

Establish an Urban Forestry Program and City Urban Forester position to achieve the following:

  • Measure and monitor tree canopy coverage and habitat on a regular basis so that any policies, programs, and regulations may be adjusted accordingly as situations change. Establish a process to maintain current data.
  • Develop and maintain regulations, policies, processes, and programs that focus on protection and preservation of native trees.
  • Provide assistance with proper tree selection, location, and maintenance to prevent power outages, reduce property damage, and coordinate emergency response during natural disaster events (excessive snow and ice, tornadoes, etc.), address the urban heat island effect, and reduce energy costs, etc.
  • Establish programs such as tree give-aways, neighborhood planting programs, and education workshops.
  • Provide resources to the public about tree selection, management, and care.
  • Seek grant funding for community tree planting to improve City parks, publicly maintained rights-of-way and other areas of the city.
  • Inventory the City’s street trees and develop a tree replacement program.
  • Partner with volunteer and nonprofit organizations to recruit volunteers for tree planting and maintenance and to coordinate community-wide tree planting efforts.

Develop and adopt a tree preservation ordinance that achieves the following:

  • Defines methods of preservation;
  • Defines situations where preservation of trees is mandatory versus optional;
  • Establishes incentives for tree preservation;
  • Establishes mitigation options if preservation cannot be accomplished; and
  • Establishes penalties for unauthorized tree removal.

Pursue methods to reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect on Oklahoma City by:

  • Establishing a minimum canopy coverage requirement over paved surfaces such as parking lots.
  • Instating a “continuous canopy” requirement for new streets and street reconstruction projects.
  • Promoting the use of building and roofing materials that reduce heat island effects.

Coordinate with local, regional, and State agencies to pursue initiatives and regulations that help reduce automobile emissions, such as:

  • Transitioning commercial and City fleets to alternative-fueled and hybrid vehicles;
  • Determining the feasibility of an idling restriction ordinance for all vehicles.

Promote improved air quality and reduced ground-level ozone levels by developing a public education program that will inform residents about the air quality benefits of:

  • Proper automobile maintenance
  • Proper maintenance and use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment
  • Limiting car idling times
  • Alternative fuels
  • Alternative / active transportation modes (public transit, walking, biking, car-sharing, etc.)
  • Reducing vehicle-miles traveled (VMT)
  • Employer sponsored emission reduction programs (carpooling, work from home, telecommuting, etc.)
  • Native landscaping (requiring less maintenance)
  • Energy efficient housing / buildings

Study of the public health and environmental impacts of degraded air quality on sensitive populations living near highways.

Establish strategies, procedures and policies for City construction projects to achieve higher energy efficiency, including:

  • Implementing an energy management plan for City facilities.
  • Monitoring energy consumption of City facilities, tracking conservation progress, and communicating results to City administrators, employees, elected officials and the public.
  • Assessing water use in City facilities to identify opportunities for conservation and implement appropriate measures.

Develop an enforcement mechanism for the City’s Building Energy Code. Develop a healthy building code to support construction of durable, health-promoting and energy efficient buildings that incorporate proven green development practices, locally-sourced and environmentally responsible materials, water conservation fixtures, innovative design and construction techniques, and low waste construction practices. Incentivize their use with shorter approval procedures, priority permits and inspections, and reduced fees.

Partner with agencies, non-profits, and private entities to:

  • Implement a sustainable development online forum – an educational and networking resource that will inform the public about local opportunities and the benefits of sustainable development while increasing builder and developer participation.
  • Educate citizens on energy and water conservation opportunities both at work and at home.
  • Encourage appropriate re-use and reclamation of water in new development and redevelopment to reduce the reliance on potable water use.
  • Provide detailed cost-benefit information about green building practices to encourage increased use of such practices in Oklahoma City.
  • Reduce reliance on electricity produced by fossil fuel by encouraging the use of renewable energy sources in new development and redevelopment.
  • Explore mechanisms (incentives, regulations, programs) to divert demolition debris from landfills and redirect to facilities that can reuse these materials.
  • Establish a promotion/award program to showcase innovative development that utilizes low-impact development practices and energy-efficient building techniques / equipment, conserves riparian buffers, and extends greenway networks with hiking/biking trails.

Establish strategies, procedures and policies that prevent degradation or loss of critical habitat and sensitive areas, such as Cross Timbers, upland forests, wetlands, wildlife corridors, groundwater recharge zones, and riparian areas. Protection methods should ensure that placement of lots, alignment of roads, and installation of structures and infrastructure minimize disturbance of the environmentally sensitive areas using tools such as:

  • Directing development to appropriate locations;
  • Greenbelt preservation;
  • Assurance of no development in protected open space;
  • Clustering / conservation subdivisions;
  • Pervious surface treatments;
  • Density transfers; and/or
  • Conservation easements.

Ensure that strategies, procedures, and policies incorporate principles of connectivity, minimal fragmentation, representativeness, and heterogeneity.

Encourage redevelopment and infill development on vacant, underutilized, and brownfield sites in urbanized areas.

Encourage the integration of different land uses in urban areas through the following means:

  • Promote the use of performance standards in place of existing zoning methods (which address incompatibility by separating uses). Performance-based regulations should focus on achieving compatibility between uses by addressing the following:
    • Noise, odors and air quality
    • Traffic and parking (allow flexible, but sufficient parking)
    • Site layout and building design
    • Waste
    • Safety
    • Lighting (glare control, placement, and shielding)
    • Delivery hours
  • Enhance transit service (bus and rail).
  • Prevent large areas of concentration of any particular land use such as multi-family or commercial.

Establish development regulations that help improve air quality, including:

  • Specifying construction controls that reduce airborne dust;
  • Increasing landscaping and tree planting to absorb carbon dioxide and air pollutants; and
  • Encouraging development patterns and densities that support alternative modes of transportation in the urban LUTAs.

We will incorporate design and maintenance practices to create safer environments in both established and new neighborhoods. Addressing the impact of the neighborhood environment on public safety will follow two tracks: 1) reviewing new projects (including subdivisions and major new developments) and incorporating safe environmental design standards into their design, and 2) auditing existing neighborhoods for unsafe conditions and correcting problem areas.

Safety evaluation of new projects will start with developing design standards and guidelines, using the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design as a starting point. Our public safety departments should develop specific areas of expertise in these principles and be fully integrated into the City's project review and approval process.

Established neighborhoods present different challenges. Partnerships between City staff and community organizations will analyze the neighborhood environment and local crime patterns to identify and correct specific problems. The most common issues include overgrown lots, hidden spaces, and vacant and deteriorated buildings. We must be aggressive in such areas as vegetation control and demolition of buildings beyond feasible repair.

Response times when emergencies occur are also an important factor in the interaction between public safety and environmental design. Neighborhood designs should increase the efficiency of public safety operations and ensure that the greatest number of residents can be reached in the shortest amount of time by emergency responders. This should include strategic improvements in existing neighborhoods and efficient design in new neighborhoods.

Systematic evaluation and correction of design aspects of new projects and inherently unsafe environments in established areas will be necessary to ensure a safe environment for all residents of Oklahoma City.

We will correct unsafe building elements and design conditions in public facilities and outdoor spaces. The City should lead in providing safe and secure facilities and properties. This is especially important in distressed neighborhoods, where a public park or center may be seen as a refuge. All publicly accessed properties should be assessed for unsafe conditions, including but not limited to poor lighting, blind spots, and maintenance hazards. Once this inventory has been completed, priorities for repair should be set and incorporated into the capital program.

Graffiti and vandalism in public areas are special and persistent problems. Uncorrected incidents suggest neglect in a neighborhood, which in turn encourages both more vandalism and serious criminal activity. Graffiti can be controlled through an aggressive removal policy, best accomplished in partnership with neighborhood residents. Cooperative action for productive purposes has the secondary benefit of building a sense of neighborhood effectiveness and establishing credibility for improvement efforts all of which help reconstruct the social fabric.

Click to expand policy information.


Improve the functionality and efficiency of the street network by:

  • Providing direct connections from residential developments to nearby places and to each other.
  • Providing street and sidewalk stubs to adjacent vacant land in anticipation of future development.
  • Connecting new development to existing street and sidewalk stubs, and to existing trail, open space, and bicycle networks.
  • Reducing block sizes and use of dead-end streets.
  • Maintaining the existing street grid to preserve connectivity and mobility options.

Revise subdivision regulations to include connectivity standards and guidelines that require greater street connectivity, and provide allowances for pedestrian and bicycle connections when street connectivity cannot be made.

Establish a process for existing neighborhoods to request traffic calming, including how to evaluate the request, select the appropriate type of calming treatment, and fund recommendations.

Require sidewalks on both sides of all streets in urban LUTAs and in the Rural Residential LUTA for subdivisions with densities greater than 1 unit per acre.

Reverse the detrimental impact of vacant and abandoned buildings through the following efforts:

  • Develop an Abandoned Buildings program geared toward a significant reduction in vacancies by creating incentives and/or penalties that discourage prolonged building abandonment and help the City to recoup the costs associated with vacated buildings. Use fees generated by this program to help fund redevelopment of abandoned buildings.
  • Assess the feasibility of potential reuse options for dilapidated or abandoned buildings. Define and establish criteria to help identify buildings that are too far gone and/or too costly to feasibly rehabilitate, and consider a coordinated demolition program for those buildings.
  • Seek changes in state legislation to enhance the City’s ability to maintain and improve its neighborhoods including:
    • Laws which would speed up the demolition process for long-term dilapidated or abandoned properties that cannot be rehabilitated, and
    • Laws which would strengthen the City’s ability to require property owners to rehabilitate or sell neglected, boarded-up properties.

Target specific areas of the city for enhanced safety and proactive enforcement. Selection of target areas will be informed by the Intelligence Led Policing program, with coordinated involvement from Police, Code Enforcement, Public Works Department, Planning, and community-based organizations.

Create regulations/standards/guidelines that focus on design and/or compatibility principles which are sensitive to the surrounding urban form, especially in areas that are stable or improving and whose character is well-established. These provisions should also help ensure compatibility between lower- and higher- intensity land uses.

Improve parking provisions in neighborhoods that are near vibrant commercial corridors/areas by improving parking and corridor design, non-vehicular networks, transit, and signage.

Establish a Crime-Free Multifamily Housing Program designed to keep multifamily housing developments safe from crime and perceptions of crime by:

  • Supporting partnerships between the police, property managers, property owners, and tenants.
  • Providing training to managers and owners about screening applicants, fire safety, fair housing, and other components of ‘active property management’.
  • Providing a security assessment based on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles.
  • Conducting safety meetings with residents/tenants.

Ensure that safety is factored into the design of neighborhoods through the following policies:

  • Incorporate development standards and guidelines into the Subdivision Regulations that integrate the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and increase safety and social interaction.
  • Create a pre-development checklist with criteria to evaluate how safety is designed into a project.
  • Establish a pre-development process wherein safety is considered in the design of projects.
  • Involve the Fire and Police Departments in reviewing proposed development and redevelopment to provide input on any safety-related design concerns.

Evaluate public facilities and public property for unsafe conditions such as poor lighting (quality and quantity); blind spots; poor maintenance conditions; and other unsafe conditions. Prioritize improvements to these facilities and properties based on the following criteria: a) Proximity and condition of nearby neighborhoods; and b) Cost/benefit associated with mitigating the unsafe condition and maintaining the improvement.

Establish criteria for locating, designing, and improving public and private parks to enhance safety and security, including:
Locating new parks in areas that are highly visible and accessible from surrounding residential streets and utilize trails to increase activity and visibility in parks.
Utilizing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles, which includes controlled access, visibility, lighting, etc. for new parks and retrofitting/redesign of existing parks.

Improve safety of users of the parks and trails system by:

  • Providing good lighting, emergency call boxes, and regular police patrols along the trail system.
  • Providing shelter structures along the trail networks and determining the appropriate spacing for such structures. Structures could be relatively small to keep costs down but should be sturdy and easy to maintain.

Utilize existing natural streams as amenities in public parks, and regularly monitor and maintain stream banks for safety of park users.

Revise subdivision regulations to require development adjacent to parks and public open spaces to maintain open sight lines to parks and public open space.  Reduce/limit residential rear yards, fences, walls, and physical and visual enclosures around park and public open space perimeters.  Encourage designs that allow homes to face into parks or where side yards are located near parks.

Incorporate Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles into city-wide design standards for development and redevelopment of public and private projects. CPTED principles include: 1) Territorially – physically define spaces as public or private and the appropriate use is obvious even to outside observers; 2) Access Control – deny access to soft targets; 3) Natural Surveillance – make it easy to observe all users of/in a particular territory/space; 4) Maintenance and Management – ensure equipment is functioning (lights, gates, etc.), landscape is kept neat especially to preserve surveillance.

Maximize fire safety through actions such as:
Modifying regulations and guidelines to prevent subdivisions with a single point of access – except those with fewer than 10 homes.
Developing a vegetation management program targeting the wildland/urban interface, including rights-of-way in rural areas, and incorporating recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities initiative.
Requiring residential sprinklers for developments located in Rural Land Use Typologies.
Requiring exceptional, effective, and easy access to sites augmented by a thorough system of connections within and between developments.

Evaluate development proposals to assess design components that contribute to or detract from safety and analyze emergency response capacity and capability.

Ensure resources and funds remain dedicated to crime prevention programs, including but not limited to: block watches; graffiti removal; education and outreach associated with elder fraud, identity theft, and sexual predators; safe driver programs for automobiles, motorcycles, and bicycles; after-school and youth diversion programs that provide recreational and educational support (tutoring, homework help, etc.); and other crime prevention programs. Ensure planokc is maintained to support and reflect the City’s priorities to provide a safe and secure community.

Reinforce existing partnerships and create new partnerships with allied agencies and non-profits to intervene early and often with at-risk youth redirecting them from participation in criminal activities to educational opportunities, job training, community service projects, neighborhood and business improvement programs, and other community building projects and/or programs.

Adopt design standards to enable emergency management resources to be highly effective, such as resilient buildings, interconnected transportation networks, and other design considerations that help ensure community safety and recovery.

Reduce crime and improve feelings of safety through long term efforts such as:

  • Improving design regulations to maximize crime prevention through appropriate urban design,
  • Developing community-based activities, programs, and facilities that reduce crime and develop life skills, such as after school and youth diversion programs and facilities for recreation and educational support (e.g., tutoring, homework help, etc.),
  • Encouraging more compact development to increase effectiveness of individual officers by ensuring less travel time and more engagement,
  • Implementing a “good landlord” program,
  • Exploring enhancements to police operations such as:
    • Committing to a certain number of officers per capita and/or per square mile of urbanized area,
    • Increasing patrols (automobile, bicycle, or on foot) in targeted areas,
    • Evaluating needs on a regular basis for increasing the number of key positions, such as detectives, to meet demands,
    • Coordinating neighborhood improvement efforts (such as the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative and the Vacant and Abandoned Buildings program) with policing efforts, and
    • Supporting efforts to obtain more effective criminal justice law, such as stricter gang laws.

Catalyze infill development on vacant, underutilized, and brownfield sites in urbanized areas by:

  • Investing in infrastructure improvements;
  • Improving multi-modal transportation networks;
  • Improving parks and open spaces;
  • Improving schools and other civic resources;
  • Exploring innovative methods such as:
    • A public-private partnership to purchase problem properties in target areas and build or rehabilitate homes while improving infrastructure and amenities
    • An infill house plan program similar to Sacramento or Milwaukee
  • Identifying and removing barriers to rehabilitation and/or replacement of residential buildings.
  • Establishing a position in the City to facilitate medium- and large-scale redevelopment projects through the development process by guiding interactions with City departments, allied agencies, and utility companies.

Encourage the adaptive reuse of underutilized structures and the revitalization of older, economically distressed neighborhoods.

We will establish partnerships between the City and school districts to assist in non-educational functions. School districts deal with a variety of non-educational or indirectly educational functions on a regular basis. This includes siting of new schools, redeveloping closed schools, addressing crime and crime prevention, and other community outreach functions. By working together, funding should be leveraged and resources used efficiently to strengthen neighborhoods, making them viable choices for young households.

We will co-locate new public projects in coordination with local school districts. Strong civic institutions strengthen neighborhood identify, social interaction and appeal to investors. Co-locating public projects such as libraries, fire stations, parks, recreation centers, and schools create neighborhood activity centers and realize efficiencies through joint use arrangements.

Click to expand policy information.


Establish a working partnership between the City, Oklahoma City Public Schools, Putnam City Schools, Western Heights Schools, and other metro area school districts and educational entities to help school districts complete a variety of non-educational (or indirectly educational) functions such as planning for and siting new schools, working on shared use issues, and redeveloping closed schools. The partnership should coordinate efforts to seek funding and appropriate resources to accomplish the following:

  • Establish multiuse recreational and exercise facilities in schoolyards to increase opportunities for physical activity and strengthen the relationship between schools and neighborhoods.
  • Establish a program to increase the number of community members and schools that make effective use of Senate Bill 1882 (effective 11/1/2012) allowing shared use of school facilities for recreational purposes.

Support diverse and high-achieving student bodies through the creation of mixed-income neighborhoods that encourage parental and community involvement by:

  • Integrating home sizes and types at neighborhood and block scales,
  • Avoiding concentrations of low-income households by encouraging income diversity within neighborhoods and by spending City housing funds in a manner that does not concentrate low income households in one development or neighborhood, but instead creates opportunities for these households to live in income-diverse neighborhoods, and
  • Encouraging school districts to open schools and school grounds after school hours to support community engagement and more convenient opportunities for active recreation.

We will create public/private partnerships that fill critical demands like workforce housing that are not normally satisfied by the private market. The Housing Market Preference and Demand Study defined housing preferences for different age and income groups, including residential types and locations. This information provides valuable guidance to city agencies, community organizations, builders, and developers that can help all parties make policy and business decisions. However, these data rapidly become outdated. Regular updates, funded by a mutually beneficial partnership of public and private sectors, can ensure that this information remains relevant and useful.

But information must be put to use. The 2013 housing study identified a major demand for "workforce" housing – equity and rental units affordable to people in a range from 60% to 120% of the citywide median household income. The normal private market has difficulty producing housing for much of this income range because of perceived risk and small profit. Partnerships between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including employers, can develop programs that remove obstacles to workforce housing production and marketing. Options include site acquisition, landbanking, interim financing, appraisals, mortgage financing, neighborhood infrastructure, and streamlined development reviews.

Click to expand policy information.


Collaborate with local development and real estate professionals to prepare a city-wide Housing Demand Market Study every 5 years which includes analyses and recommendations related to:

  • Projected demand and trends in supply;
  • Special needs housing;
  • Housing conditions;
  • Work force housing and its associated program; and,
  • Overall health of the housing market, including owner-occupied and renter-occupied.

Modify codes and/or regulations to create opportunities for more income diversity and mixed-income neighborhoods by allowing a variety of housing ownership and leasing arrangements, diverse housing sizes and types – including accessory dwelling units, carriage homes, lofts, live-work spaces, cottages, and manufactured/modular housing. Modifications should allow an increase the variety of ownership opportunities to include condominiums, ownership cooperatives (such as mutual housing associations, limited equity cooperatives, etc.) by identifying and removing regulatory barriers. Recommend improvements to protections for owners, developers, and lenders.
Priority should be given to projects that achieve efficiencies described elsewhere in planokc, such as dwelling units that are located to have easy access to each other and to other daily needs including jobs, recreation, and schools.

Develop a workforce housing program, particularly for projects in the UM, UH, and DT LUTAs, based on the following basic considerations:

  • Partnerships with large employers;
  • Density bonuses;
  • Height bonuses; and,
  • Transfer of development rights.

Maximize the use of all appropriate state, federal, local, and private funding for the development, preservation, and rehabilitation of housing affordable to a variety of income groups, including those that integrate low-income housing units in otherwise market-rate housing developments and support the creation and/or expansion of mixed-income communities.

Ensure that new publicly financed developments – those which directly use or receive public dollars – with more than 100 units or with densities greater than 10 units/acre are located where they have easy access to frequent transit service.

Provide tools and incentives for targeted housing and neighborhood revitalization through programs such as a housing trust fund, land bank, abatement of permit and connection fees, employer assisted housing, inclusionary housing development, tax abatements, credits or deductions, abatement of permit and connection fees, and an expedited review and approval processes.

Integrate housing rehabilitation programs with neighborhood revitalization programs. These programs should include assistance to property owners to renovate the existing housing stock with improvements that reduce utility and maintenance costs for owners and occupants, conserve energy, conserve water, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Establish new or expand existing financing methods and/or mechanisms available to new and redevelopment mixed-income projects in urban areas. These could include: direct investment of public housing funds, tax-increment financing, bonds, revolving loans, housing program funds and/or other proven public-private partnership models.

Create and/or enhance Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs) to increase their capacity to provide mixed-income housing, especially in targeted infill areas.

Strategically use subsidized housing programs along with other City services and programs to revitalize targeted areas of the city.

Incorporate preventive health care and wellness education into public schools, recreation centers, senior centers, and technical/trade schools.

Promote the downtown area as an attractive place to live and play for all household types, including families with children by:

  • Requiring human scale site and building designs
  • Focusing on pedestrian friendliness
  • Adding family-friendly public amenities including parks, open space, greenways, plazas, bikeways, public art, etc.
  • Limiting noise and protecting privacy
  • Ensuring new buildings and sites are designed to be attractive and to enhance safety and the sense of safety.
  • Encouraging employment and residential uses in close proximity
  • Encouraging or requiring a percentage of condominium or apartment units to be 2 and 3 bedroom units
  • Encouraging “child-friendly” development near schools and discouraging uses that could be detrimental to schools’ viability
  • Instituting on-street police officers on foot or bicycle to maintain “eyes on the street” and enhance public safety and security

In Downtown and adjacent areas, encourage the development of affordable housing for moderate-income households through incentives or requirements such as:

  • Requiring a percentage of units in all new apartment and condominium developments to be affordable to working households with incomes of 80 to 100 percent of the area median family income as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Developments may be exempted through payment of an in-lieu fee to go towards development of affordable housing.
  • Establishing a density bonus program where appropriate.
  • Establishing financial incentives for development of affordable housing.

We will create forces that produce housing diversity through implementation of the land use plan. Development markets are conservative in the sense that builders become familiar with a certain housing type and build to their specialization. The land use plan is built on the principle of mixing uses and densities, and greater housing variety is a beneficial outcome of this new approach. Moving the local housing industry into the new territory of mixed products and densities is a gradual process that requires the cooperation of both regulators and builders.

Implementation of the Land Use Plan will include new regulations that both allow and support a variety of housing types. In addition to permitting variety, guidelines and review procedures may be developed that require mixes of lot sizes and housing configurations in large projects. Additionally, redevelopment should be encouraged through incentives like density bonuses, fee waivers, and assistance with site preparation and infrastructure.

Major new concepts will require close consultation with the development sector.

We will create more opportunities for income diversity and mixed-income neighborhoods. Greater income diversity can be achieved in a variety of ways, but one of the most effective ways is to ensure a variety of housing styles and sizes. Additionally, financing tools like direct investment of public housing funds, tax-increment financing, bonds, revolving loans, housing program funds, and other public/private partnerships should be used to develop new or redevelop existing mixed-income projects in the urban and downtown land use typologies. The capacity of nonprofit developers like Community Development Corporations and Community Housing Development Organizations should also be expanded to provide mixed-income housing in targeted areas.

Click to expand policy information.


Collaborate with local development and real estate professionals to prepare a city-wide Housing Demand Market Study every 5 years which includes analyses and recommendations related to:

  • Projected demand and trends in supply;
  • Special needs housing;
  • Housing conditions;
  • Work force housing and its associated program; and,
  • Overall health of the housing market, including owner-occupied and renter-occupied.

Modify codes and/or regulations to create opportunities for more income diversity and mixed-income neighborhoods by allowing a variety of housing ownership and leasing arrangements, diverse housing sizes and types – including accessory dwelling units, carriage homes, lofts, live-work spaces, cottages, and manufactured/modular housing. Modifications should allow an increase the variety of ownership opportunities to include condominiums, ownership cooperatives (such as mutual housing associations, limited equity cooperatives, etc.) by identifying and removing regulatory barriers. Recommend improvements to protections for owners, developers, and lenders.
Priority should be given to projects that achieve efficiencies described elsewhere in planokc, such as dwelling units that are located to have easy access to each other and to other daily needs including jobs, recreation, and schools.

Maximize the use of all appropriate state, federal, local, and private funding for the development, preservation, and rehabilitation of housing affordable to a variety of income groups, including those that integrate low-income housing units in otherwise market-rate housing developments and support the creation and/or expansion of mixed-income communities.

Develop design standards that incorporate ‘universal design’ principles or other design considerations that make a space easy to use for people with mobility restrictions.

Reuse brownfield, greyfield, and other vacant building sites to provide new opportunities for mixed-used and mixed-income housing.

Prevent concentration of low-income populations by providing housing opportunities for all income groups in targeted redevelopment areas of the city with a particular focus on mixed-income projects, especially on those projects that have a public funding component.

In conjunction with City regulatory changes, such as significant modifications to zoning ordinances, building codes, or subdivision regulations, assess the effects of the proposed modifications on housing development costs and overall housing affordability, considering the balance between housing affordability and other objectives such as environmental quality, urban design quality, maintenance of neighborhood character and protection of public health, safety and welfare. This assessment should be integrated into the code amendment process, identify barriers to housing affordability, and include recommended mitigation.

Modify codes to allow residential clustering in rural land use typology areas, provided water supply and sewage disposal requirements are met, and permanently preserve nearby open space through means such as conservation easements.

Facilitate the development of housing in the Downtown, Bricktown, and Core to Shore areas in order to increase activity levels and demand for retail and amenities.

Increase the viability of townhomes and condominiums as housing products by:

  • Adopting and supporting new local and state laws to increase consumer protection for condos and townhomes (e.g., better funding mechanisms and maintenance enforcement for common areas).
  • Requiring developers to demonstrate sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs.

Support diversity and integration of housing unit types and sizes in all land use typology areas in order to meet the diverse needs of households of different sizes, generational needs, incomes, and preferences. New residential subdivisions should achieve a mixture of housing types within a unified development.

In Downtown and adjacent areas, encourage the development of affordable housing for moderate-income households through incentives or requirements such as:

  • Requiring a percentage of units in all new apartment and condominium developments to be affordable to working households with incomes of 80 to 100 percent of the area median family income as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Developments may be exempted through payment of an in-lieu fee to go towards development of affordable housing.
  • Establishing a density bonus program where appropriate.
  • Establishing financial incentives for development of affordable housing.

Avoid concentrations of apartment complexes. Instead, integrate multifamily units into neighborhoods with mixes of housing types or in mixed-use developments.

Amend the zoning ordinance to better accommodate the integration of various residential densities, building types, and styles.

Adopt subdivision regulations that ensure new neighborhoods meet the basic needs of residents while supporting an efficient development pattern. Regulations should cover:

  • Open space (passive and active),
  • Demonstration of sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs,
  • Walkability and bikeability,
  • Internal and external street connectivity,
  • Block length,
  • Integration of uses,
  • Integration of a variety of home sizes,
  • Integration of a variety of unit types, and
  • Preservation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Regulations could be based on a point scale to allow flexibility, while still requiring basic minimum thresholds be met.
New regulations should remove the existing requirement for development in Rural LUTAs to connect to water and sewer systems and establish a minimum one-acre lot size for lots with on-site sewer treatment.

Revise subdivision and zoning regulations to allow increased densities as appropriate. For example, density potential could be increased by allowing “cottage” or “pocket” neighborhoods and accessory dwelling units (additional dwelling units allowed on owner-occupied properties) where appropriate.

We will institute neighborhood design guidelines and practices that build community in lower-density settings. We recognize that different people have different preferences. Many people seek new houses but still want the diversity and neighborliness of the best of established neighborhoods. Others seek the bigger lots and greater personal space offered by low-density development. But almost everyone wants an attractive living environment, a sense of belonging to a community, public space, and connection. As we move toward new standards that implement the land use plan, we should ensure that new development designs reflect patterns that create better communities. These include such items as encouraging lot clusters to maintain open space, even in low-density development; street connections for both community contact and public safety access; trail and pathway systems; and housing variety where appropriate. Planned unit developments should be used in their intended way, to encourage creative design by looking at developments in their entirety.

Click to expand policy information.


Revise subdivision regulations to include connectivity standards and guidelines that require greater street connectivity, and provide allowances for pedestrian and bicycle connections when street connectivity cannot be made.

Establish regulations that require pedestrian connections between new commercial development and adjoining residential areas.

Change subdivision regulations to determine the number of entries into a residential development based on number of lots in order to improve connectivity of the roadway network and emergency response.

Establish a process for existing neighborhoods to request traffic calming, including how to evaluate the request, select the appropriate type of calming treatment, and fund recommendations.

Require sidewalks on both sides of all streets in urban LUTAs and in the Rural Residential LUTA for subdivisions with densities greater than 1 unit per acre.

Develop and adopt new standards/guidelines to promote new residential subdivision designs that orient residential neighborhoods toward adjacent complementary uses or features such as parks, schools, open space, and neighborhood serving commercial sites, promoting improved direct accessibility and more seamless community integration.

Define responsibilities and assurances for maintaining, repairing, or replacing community walls and fences. Consider creating programs for routine and consistent maintenance of fencing along arterial roadways that could include fencing assessment districts, long-term bonds, or assigned HOA maintenance of community fencing.

Create regulations/standards/guidelines that focus on design and/or compatibility principles which are sensitive to the surrounding urban form, especially in areas that are stable or improving and whose character is well-established. These provisions should also help ensure compatibility between lower- and higher- intensity land uses.

Create places and opportunities for neighborhood events that allow neighbors to interact.

Strengthen existing businesses and business districts within and adjacent to established residential areas. Promote the development of new businesses to provide additional jobs and higher income opportunities for nearby residents.

Use established mechanisms/tools to allow property owners to provide for the perpetual maintenance, repair and reconstruction of private roads, sidewalks, trails, utilities, and parks in new housing developments by requiring funding mechanisms such as:

  • Maintenance bonds/escrows
  • Special assessment districts, such as Business Improvement District or Special Improvement District
  • Covenants requiring compulsory membership in an incorporated Property Owners Association whose members will be financially liable for any such maintenance, repair, or reconstruction costs.

Incorporate these financing options into the platting process (or zoning process in the case of PUDs).
Construct all private roads and utilities to comply with minimum design and paving standards as outlined in the City of Oklahoma City Subdivision Regulations, including those related to the appropriate Street Typology.

Modify codes to allow residential clustering in rural land use typology areas, provided water supply and sewage disposal requirements are met, and permanently preserve nearby open space through means such as conservation easements.

Maximize fire safety through actions such as:
Modifying regulations and guidelines to prevent subdivisions with a single point of access – except those with fewer than 10 homes.
Developing a vegetation management program targeting the wildland/urban interface, including rights-of-way in rural areas, and incorporating recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities initiative.
Requiring residential sprinklers for developments located in Rural Land Use Typologies.
Requiring exceptional, effective, and easy access to sites augmented by a thorough system of connections within and between developments.

Adopt new citywide site design and building regulations that ensure new developments meet basic functional and aesthetic minimums related to:

  • Walkability and bike-ability
  • Internal and external street connectivity
  • Integration of uses
  • Signage
  • Building location
  • Building appearance
  • Open space (passive and active)

Encourage the integration of different land uses in urban areas through the following means:

  • Promote the use of performance standards in place of existing zoning methods (which address incompatibility by separating uses). Performance-based regulations should focus on achieving compatibility between uses by addressing the following:
    • Noise, odors and air quality
    • Traffic and parking (allow flexible, but sufficient parking)
    • Site layout and building design
    • Waste
    • Safety
    • Lighting (glare control, placement, and shielding)
    • Delivery hours
  • Enhance transit service (bus and rail).
  • Prevent large areas of concentration of any particular land use such as multi-family or commercial.

Amend the zoning ordinance to better accommodate the integration of various residential densities, building types, and styles.

Adopt subdivision regulations that ensure new neighborhoods meet the basic needs of residents while supporting an efficient development pattern. Regulations should cover:

  • Open space (passive and active),
  • Demonstration of sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs,
  • Walkability and bikeability,
  • Internal and external street connectivity,
  • Block length,
  • Integration of uses,
  • Integration of a variety of home sizes,
  • Integration of a variety of unit types, and
  • Preservation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Regulations could be based on a point scale to allow flexibility, while still requiring basic minimum thresholds be met.
New regulations should remove the existing requirement for development in Rural LUTAs to connect to water and sewer systems and establish a minimum one-acre lot size for lots with on-site sewer treatment.

We will update and improve the city's landscape ordinances. Improvements will address the objectives of improving community appearance, minimizing land use incompatibilities, improving air quality, and managing the city's micro-climate. These ordinances also must address the long-term by including maintenance in their requirements. This starts with requiring native trees and plants that are adapted to the central Oklahoma climate. Use of native and drought tolerant plants lowers irrigation requirements, lowers cost, and conserves water.

We will educate the public on the use of native materials and proper maintenance. Preconceived notions of an aesthetically pleasing landscape often lead to the use of high-maintenance materials like non-native grasses. To overcome these inclinations, educational materials, demonstration gardens, and targeted corridor improvement projects should advertise both the beauty and benefits of proper installation and maintenance of native landscapes.

We will develop better procedures for reporting, citing and enforcement of violations. The current system for enforcement of landscaping requirements is complaint based, resulting in inconsistent maintenance on private properties and along many public rights-of-way. Improved procedures for code enforcement affecting private properties and additional funding sources for public areas should establish a clear level of expectation across the city.

Click to expand policy information.


Routinely assess the City’s development standards, design guidelines, and development review procedures to ensure that they reflect current trends in best-practice and allow for innovative design techniques and evolving methods in low-impact development.

Enhance existing development standards and establish design guidelines for areas outside of the City’s existing Design Review Overlay Districts. Development standards and design guidelines could include the following provisions:

  • Minimize views and prominence of parking lots in relation to structures on a site.
  • Sense of proportion (street width to building height, human scale)
  • Pedestrian orientation of structures and architectural detailing/fenestration
  • Terminated vistas
  • Reduce the predominance of residential garages in the design of the front facades of single-family residences.
  • Inclusion of front porches into the design of residential structures.
  • Internal orientation of parking facilities and garages in multi-family developments.
  • Improved pedestrian safety and enhanced pedestrian access through parking lots.

Develop distinctive standards for different types and categories of walls and fences, emphasizing durability, aesthetics, and visual continuity in materials and design with particular consideration of zoning classification.

Initiate new efforts to reduce sign clutter and improve the aesthetics of signs, while allowing for adequate and visible business identification by the following potential measures:

  • Restrict new billboards and eliminate or reduce the number of existing billboards.
  • Require non-conforming signs to be removed or be brought into compliance with existing regulations within a specific timeframe.
  • Consider new standards in the Sign Ordinance to improve limits on the size, height, and number of signs.
  • Improve proactive enforcement of the City’s sign regulations to curtail the placement of illegal signs and ensure adequate maintenance of signs.

Incorporate natural features (such as ponds, lakes, streams, rock outcroppings, stands of mature trees, and/or sizable individual trees) into the design of all residential, commercial, and industrial projects rather than eliminating, hiding, or limiting access to those features.

Establish streetscape standards requiring attractive entry features and the provision of accessible common open space in new neighborhoods.

Develop and adopt new standards/guidelines to promote new residential subdivision designs that orient residential neighborhoods toward adjacent complementary uses or features such as parks, schools, open space, and neighborhood serving commercial sites, promoting improved direct accessibility and more seamless community integration.

Develop and adopt new standards to minimize the detrimental appearance of accessory utility equipment (i.e. transformers, cable cabinets, telephone cabinets, utility meters, valves, etc.) by integrating them into less prominent areas of the site design or by screening them with landscaping, artistic features, or architectural materials compatible with the primary structures. If not encouraged, artistic embellishment (creating urban ambiance with imaginatively designed/painted screens) should not be prohibited. Ensure that such facilities are situated so that they do not impede pedestrian access.

Enhance the City’s Landscape Ordinance by accomplishing the following objectives:

  • Add guidelines and recommendations for landscape design that minimizes the need for supplemental irrigation.
  • Clarify responsibilities and standards for landscape maintenance, including within public rights-of-way.
  • Incentivize the use of drought-tolerant and native plants.
  • Restrict the use of turf grass to the greatest extent feasible.
  • Evaluate existing landscape standards for parking lots and consider making revisions that would result in more landscape buffering on parking lot fringes and more internal landscaping.
  • Evaluate existing landscape standards to determine whether new standards should be adopted to help screen or buffer parking structures.
  • Evaluate existing landscape standards in comparison to best practices and peer cities to determine whether minimum site landscaping standards should be revised and/or restructured to result in increased landscaping.

Consider the adoption of improved requirements to screen parked vehicles from view with enhanced landscaping, berming, low screen walls, and existing or proposed buildings, or some combination of those elements.

Establish a funded beautification program and source of funding to provide facade and landscaping enhancements along targeted industrial corridors.

Improve landscape design, installation, and landscape maintenance compliance through the following actions:

  • Produce informational materials and work with local media to publicize the benefits of limiting turf areas (e.g. reduced water use, less mowing) and highlight the positive effects on property values and aesthetics that result from proper installation and maintenance of landscaping.
  • Develop a program, including informational outreach, to inform property owners of their responsibilities to maintain right-of-way areas, the procedures for enforcement, and the applicable fines.
  • Identify specific corridors with the worst landscape maintenance conditions and initiate coordinated clean-up programs in those locations.
  • Install demonstration gardens/landscapes in select civic/public locations to provide practical examples of how to integrate drought tolerant and low maintenance plants in commercial and residential installations.
  • Improve efficiency and effectiveness of the process for reporting, citing, and proactive enforcement violations for maintenance and compliance with landscape requirements.
  • Explore the establishment of landscape improvement/maintenance districts where property owners are assessed a pro-rata share of the costs to properly and uniformly maintain landscaping within the district boundaries.

Develop a Master Streetscape Program to improve the appearance along major arterial streets. The program should outline methods for establishing a uniform streetscape appearance (with distinctive designs for individual streets or classifications of streets) through appropriate tree placement, species, and spacing, and coordinating the location of street trees in proximity to utilities, sidewalks, street lights and structures, and appropriate sidewalk designs. Differentiation in streetscape designs could be designated by street typology, designated areas, or other factors.

Using performance standards related to flow quantity, quality, and pattern, modify development regulations, codes, and policies to support the use of green infrastructure/low impact development techniques to mimic natural systems for developments within aquifer recharge zones with moderate or high vulnerability or in areas where streams and riparian areas have been channelized or developed (primarily in the Downtown, UH, and UM LUTAs). Low impact development techniques include but are not limited to:

  • Onsite treating or filtering of stormwater contaminants.
  • Discharging run-off as sheet-flow after passing through grassy or vegetated open space areas, rather than discharging run-off through concentrated outfalls.
  • Creating attractive open space amenities that double as stormwater detention, retention, and / or filtering systems.
  • Utilizing pervious pavement, pavers, or asphalt in appropriate locations (i.e. sidewalks, parking spaces, trails, patios, etc.).
  • Utilizing planters (at grade or raised), vegetated landscape strips adjacent to roads and parking areas, and alternative curbing designs (allowing stormwater to easily move from impervious areas to pervious areas), to encourage stormwater infiltration and temporary detention.
  • Rain Gardens
  • Bioswales
  • Green streets and alleys
  • Green roofs
  • Rooftop collection
  • Underground detention
  • Increased tree canopy preservation/tree planting
  • Land/open space conservation
  • Cluster development

Revise development regulations to require the following factors to be addressed in development and redevelopment proposals:

  • Preservation of existing natural resources, such as wooded areas, habitat areas, and floodplains.
  • Utilization of natural treatments and methods to stabilize or rehabilitate stream and river banks as a means to preserve downstream habitats.
  • Integration of a variety of native or compatible non-native, non-invasive plant species.
  • Mitigation of impacts of development on habitat, wildlife corridors, riparian and littoral areas, and water quality, through actions such as restoration or re-vegetation of disturbed natural areas and replacement of trees/habitat on-site or off-site.
  • Management of invasive plant and animal species.
  • Management and maintenance of natural areas, common areas and drainage areas.
  • Impact on surface and groundwater supply.
  • Impact on water quality caused by land uses and activities.
  • Impacts on floodplains, riparian and littoral areas and wetlands and areas with significant landforms.

Revise the landscape ordinance to include the following:

  • Define terms such as invasive species, exotic/non-native species, and native/indigenous species
  • Require removal of invasive species from existing sites, and prohibit such species from being planted or maintained in new development.
  • Provide a reference list of native plants and drought-tolerant plants.
  • Provide incentives for using native and drought-tolerant plants and disincentives for using high-water plants and turf grass.
  • Establish requirements for using design practices that minimize the need for supplemental irrigation.

Preserve natural habitat, maintain wildlife food sources, and reduce the risk of propagating invasive plant species by utilizing vegetation native to Oklahoma, preferably central Oklahoma, for all mitigation and habitat restoration efforts associated with new development and redevelopment projects, public and private, to the greatest extent possible.

Establish an Urban Forestry Program and City Urban Forester position to achieve the following:

  • Measure and monitor tree canopy coverage and habitat on a regular basis so that any policies, programs, and regulations may be adjusted accordingly as situations change. Establish a process to maintain current data.
  • Develop and maintain regulations, policies, processes, and programs that focus on protection and preservation of native trees.
  • Provide assistance with proper tree selection, location, and maintenance to prevent power outages, reduce property damage, and coordinate emergency response during natural disaster events (excessive snow and ice, tornadoes, etc.), address the urban heat island effect, and reduce energy costs, etc.
  • Establish programs such as tree give-aways, neighborhood planting programs, and education workshops.
  • Provide resources to the public about tree selection, management, and care.
  • Seek grant funding for community tree planting to improve City parks, publicly maintained rights-of-way and other areas of the city.
  • Inventory the City’s street trees and develop a tree replacement program.
  • Partner with volunteer and nonprofit organizations to recruit volunteers for tree planting and maintenance and to coordinate community-wide tree planting efforts.

Develop and adopt a tree preservation ordinance that achieves the following:

  • Defines methods of preservation;
  • Defines situations where preservation of trees is mandatory versus optional;
  • Establishes incentives for tree preservation;
  • Establishes mitigation options if preservation cannot be accomplished; and
  • Establishes penalties for unauthorized tree removal.

Pursue methods to reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect on Oklahoma City by:

  • Establishing a minimum canopy coverage requirement over paved surfaces such as parking lots.
  • Instating a “continuous canopy” requirement for new streets and street reconstruction projects.
  • Promoting the use of building and roofing materials that reduce heat island effects.

Modify development and subdivision regulations, and City policies to minimize alteration of natural landforms and native vegetation and maximize retention of distinctive natural features for public and private projects.

Establish development regulations that help improve air quality, including:

  • Specifying construction controls that reduce airborne dust;
  • Increasing landscaping and tree planting to absorb carbon dioxide and air pollutants; and
  • Encouraging development patterns and densities that support alternative modes of transportation in the urban LUTAs.

We will update and enhance design standards and guidelines that apply to areas outside existing Design Review Districts. The Community Appearance Survey identified residents' support for pedestrian-oriented amenities and human-scaled development. Appealing living spaces combine ingredients such as street and sidewalk environments, properly scaled buildings, visual interest, well-placed and designed furniture, and other elements. Updated standards will address the lessons and results of the Community Appearance Survey and provide practical and cost-effective design guidance and choices. They will address scale, materials, variety, visual quality, signs and graphics, and environmental sensitivity. The effort to update and enhance these standards will involve all stakeholders. They will also be routinely reviewed against best practices, allowing innovative design techniques and incorporating new techniques in low-impact development.

We will remove obstacles to greater design variety within residential construction. Community Appearance Survey participants strongly supported residential designs that included front porches and minimized garage exposure. These findings and the Housing Demand Study results both indicated interest in smaller lots and greater housing product variety, especially among younger households. Both the sustainokc and liveokc elements speak to the need for more diverse housing types. Design guidelines should illustrate ways to achieve higher densities in configurations that are consistent with citizen preferences. In addition, city standards and regulations that discourage design features like rear-loaded garages or mixed density housing should be modified.

We will improve regulation of sign scale, number, and placement. Sign images were the lowest rated urban design element in the Community Appearance Survey. New sign regulations will be fashioned as part of land development ordinance revisions to reduce clutter and increase legibility. Code direction will include limits on the number of permitted signs, increased use of ground signs, location standards, better overall size limitations, and requirements for sign master plans for large projects.

We will develop a Great Streets Program to improve the appearance of major arterial streets. Oklahoma City has implemented a Downtown Streetscape Master Plan, and should extend the concept of cohesive standards for landscaping, lighting, street furniture, sidewalk and crosswalk design, utility placement and treatment, and other elements to other streets of civic importance. This effort is related to the street typology concept presented in Chapter Two. The master planning effort will identify corridors of visual significance and establish vocabularies of materials and treatments that will be applied during widenings or reconstruction projects or on a stand-alone basis.

Click to expand policy information.


Routinely assess the City’s development standards, design guidelines, and development review procedures to ensure that they reflect current trends in best-practice and allow for innovative design techniques and evolving methods in low-impact development.

Enhance existing development standards and establish design guidelines for areas outside of the City’s existing Design Review Overlay Districts. Development standards and design guidelines could include the following provisions:

  • Minimize views and prominence of parking lots in relation to structures on a site.
  • Sense of proportion (street width to building height, human scale)
  • Pedestrian orientation of structures and architectural detailing/fenestration
  • Terminated vistas
  • Reduce the predominance of residential garages in the design of the front facades of single-family residences.
  • Inclusion of front porches into the design of residential structures.
  • Internal orientation of parking facilities and garages in multi-family developments.
  • Improved pedestrian safety and enhanced pedestrian access through parking lots.

Establish a list of preferred and discouraged building materials for all zoning districts.

Develop distinctive standards for different types and categories of walls and fences, emphasizing durability, aesthetics, and visual continuity in materials and design with particular consideration of zoning classification.

Initiate new efforts to reduce sign clutter and improve the aesthetics of signs, while allowing for adequate and visible business identification by the following potential measures:

  • Restrict new billboards and eliminate or reduce the number of existing billboards.
  • Require non-conforming signs to be removed or be brought into compliance with existing regulations within a specific timeframe.
  • Consider new standards in the Sign Ordinance to improve limits on the size, height, and number of signs.
  • Improve proactive enforcement of the City’s sign regulations to curtail the placement of illegal signs and ensure adequate maintenance of signs.

Make it easier for arts and cultural projects to navigate the City’s design review, zoning, licensing, and permit processes.

Establish new incentives and raise awareness of existing incentives that stimulate the preservation and rehabilitation of historic resources. Incentives could include:

  • Preservation easements, low-interest or forgivable rehabilitation loans, and Tax Increment Financing Districts for historic buildings, sites, and districts.
  • Tools and practices for public/private partnerships to ensure the preservation and retention of top-priority historic resources whose deterioration or demolition would present an irreparable and highly significant loss to the City and beyond.
  • Existing city, state, and federal tools and incentives for rehabilitation, including state and federal tax credits for certified rehabilitation.
  • Expedited review process for projects involving infill sites.

Develop and implement a Comprehensive Public Art Master Plan to:

  • Establish goals and a framework for the rational development of a public art program for Oklahoma City
  • Integrate public art into each of the City’s key development initiatives and community sectors with a plan for both permanent and temporary placement processes that facilitate new public art coordination and investment.
  • Create an administrative and financial structure (with roles and responsibilities) to efficiently and effectively facilitate multi-departmental and multi-agency public art partnerships.
  • Evaluate the current development/design/art review processes and make recommendations for improved and streamlined public art policies and procedures for both permanent and temporary public art (including murals).
  • Involve the community in the process of public art selection to build consensus for the program.
  • Include an educational component to reinforce the value of public art in the public realm for all ages and cultures.
  • Provide a plan for maintaining the value and physical integrity of the City’s public art collection.

Allow the reuse of vacant storefronts as exhibition space for local artists.

Protect the unique character of National Register-listed properties or districts and local Historic Districts and ensure that development and redevelopment is compatible with historic resources and character.

Revise ordinances for design districts and design review procedures to ensure consistency in the treatment of historic properties, including the assessment of demolition proposals, the identification of historic or significant properties, and the consideration of the impact that the alteration or demolition of individual properties has on the context and continuity of the surrounding environment.

Provide incentives for private development projects that include public art.

Incorporate natural features (such as ponds, lakes, streams, rock outcroppings, stands of mature trees, and/or sizable individual trees) into the design of all residential, commercial, and industrial projects rather than eliminating, hiding, or limiting access to those features.

Establish streetscape standards requiring attractive entry features and the provision of accessible common open space in new neighborhoods.

Develop and adopt new standards/guidelines to promote new residential subdivision designs that orient residential neighborhoods toward adjacent complementary uses or features such as parks, schools, open space, and neighborhood serving commercial sites, promoting improved direct accessibility and more seamless community integration.

Develop and adopt new standards to minimize the detrimental appearance of accessory utility equipment (i.e. transformers, cable cabinets, telephone cabinets, utility meters, valves, etc.) by integrating them into less prominent areas of the site design or by screening them with landscaping, artistic features, or architectural materials compatible with the primary structures. If not encouraged, artistic embellishment (creating urban ambiance with imaginatively designed/painted screens) should not be prohibited. Ensure that such facilities are situated so that they do not impede pedestrian access.

Facilitate and coordinate burial of overhead power and communications distribution lines.

Enhance the City’s Landscape Ordinance by accomplishing the following objectives:

  • Add guidelines and recommendations for landscape design that minimizes the need for supplemental irrigation.
  • Clarify responsibilities and standards for landscape maintenance, including within public rights-of-way.
  • Incentivize the use of drought-tolerant and native plants.
  • Restrict the use of turf grass to the greatest extent feasible.
  • Evaluate existing landscape standards for parking lots and consider making revisions that would result in more landscape buffering on parking lot fringes and more internal landscaping.
  • Evaluate existing landscape standards to determine whether new standards should be adopted to help screen or buffer parking structures.
  • Evaluate existing landscape standards in comparison to best practices and peer cities to determine whether minimum site landscaping standards should be revised and/or restructured to result in increased landscaping.

Develop and adopt new standards/guidelines that result in improvements to parking structure design including the following potential measures:

  • Design parking structures to be architecturally integrated with adjoining primary structure(s).
  • Include integrated storefronts or other active uses on the ground floors of parking structures that are adjacent to public sidewalks and other pedestrian plazas.
  • Enhanced exterior façades of structures by integrating architectural features and materials that complement the character of the surrounding area, or screening with vegetation.

Develop standards/guidelines that require architectural articulation, variety, and interest on large structures adjacent to public streets by limiting long stretches of unbroken wall planes.

Define responsibilities and assurances for maintaining, repairing, or replacing community walls and fences. Consider creating programs for routine and consistent maintenance of fencing along arterial roadways that could include fencing assessment districts, long-term bonds, or assigned HOA maintenance of community fencing.

Consider the adoption of improved requirements to screen parked vehicles from view with enhanced landscaping, berming, low screen walls, and existing or proposed buildings, or some combination of those elements.

Use light fixtures and street furniture in the public right-of-way that complement established or evolving cultural or design districts.

Create a public outreach program designed to explain and promote the benefits of urban design principles and design review districts.

Develop a Master Streetscape Program to improve the appearance along major arterial streets. The program should outline methods for establishing a uniform streetscape appearance (with distinctive designs for individual streets or classifications of streets) through appropriate tree placement, species, and spacing, and coordinating the location of street trees in proximity to utilities, sidewalks, street lights and structures, and appropriate sidewalk designs. Differentiation in streetscape designs could be designated by street typology, designated areas, or other factors.

Establish development standards and design guidelines for new cultural, civic, and sporting facilities that address site design, architecture, compatibility, pedestrian-orientation and access, landscaping, and the inclusion of public art.

Using performance standards related to flow quantity, quality, and pattern, modify development regulations, codes, and policies to support the use of green infrastructure/low impact development techniques to mimic natural systems for developments within aquifer recharge zones with moderate or high vulnerability or in areas where streams and riparian areas have been channelized or developed (primarily in the Downtown, UH, and UM LUTAs). Low impact development techniques include but are not limited to:

  • Onsite treating or filtering of stormwater contaminants.
  • Discharging run-off as sheet-flow after passing through grassy or vegetated open space areas, rather than discharging run-off through concentrated outfalls.
  • Creating attractive open space amenities that double as stormwater detention, retention, and / or filtering systems.
  • Utilizing pervious pavement, pavers, or asphalt in appropriate locations (i.e. sidewalks, parking spaces, trails, patios, etc.).
  • Utilizing planters (at grade or raised), vegetated landscape strips adjacent to roads and parking areas, and alternative curbing designs (allowing stormwater to easily move from impervious areas to pervious areas), to encourage stormwater infiltration and temporary detention.
  • Rain Gardens
  • Bioswales
  • Green streets and alleys
  • Green roofs
  • Rooftop collection
  • Underground detention
  • Increased tree canopy preservation/tree planting
  • Land/open space conservation
  • Cluster development

Revise development regulations to require the following factors to be addressed in development and redevelopment proposals:

  • Preservation of existing natural resources, such as wooded areas, habitat areas, and floodplains.
  • Utilization of natural treatments and methods to stabilize or rehabilitate stream and river banks as a means to preserve downstream habitats.
  • Integration of a variety of native or compatible non-native, non-invasive plant species.
  • Mitigation of impacts of development on habitat, wildlife corridors, riparian and littoral areas, and water quality, through actions such as restoration or re-vegetation of disturbed natural areas and replacement of trees/habitat on-site or off-site.
  • Management of invasive plant and animal species.
  • Management and maintenance of natural areas, common areas and drainage areas.
  • Impact on surface and groundwater supply.
  • Impact on water quality caused by land uses and activities.
  • Impacts on floodplains, riparian and littoral areas and wetlands and areas with significant landforms.

Revise the landscape ordinance to include the following:

  • Define terms such as invasive species, exotic/non-native species, and native/indigenous species
  • Require removal of invasive species from existing sites, and prohibit such species from being planted or maintained in new development.
  • Provide a reference list of native plants and drought-tolerant plants.
  • Provide incentives for using native and drought-tolerant plants and disincentives for using high-water plants and turf grass.
  • Establish requirements for using design practices that minimize the need for supplemental irrigation.

Establish an Urban Forestry Program and City Urban Forester position to achieve the following:

  • Measure and monitor tree canopy coverage and habitat on a regular basis so that any policies, programs, and regulations may be adjusted accordingly as situations change. Establish a process to maintain current data.
  • Develop and maintain regulations, policies, processes, and programs that focus on protection and preservation of native trees.
  • Provide assistance with proper tree selection, location, and maintenance to prevent power outages, reduce property damage, and coordinate emergency response during natural disaster events (excessive snow and ice, tornadoes, etc.), address the urban heat island effect, and reduce energy costs, etc.
  • Establish programs such as tree give-aways, neighborhood planting programs, and education workshops.
  • Provide resources to the public about tree selection, management, and care.
  • Seek grant funding for community tree planting to improve City parks, publicly maintained rights-of-way and other areas of the city.
  • Inventory the City’s street trees and develop a tree replacement program.
  • Partner with volunteer and nonprofit organizations to recruit volunteers for tree planting and maintenance and to coordinate community-wide tree planting efforts.

Pursue methods to reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect on Oklahoma City by:

  • Establishing a minimum canopy coverage requirement over paved surfaces such as parking lots.
  • Instating a “continuous canopy” requirement for new streets and street reconstruction projects.
  • Promoting the use of building and roofing materials that reduce heat island effects.

Modify development and subdivision regulations, and City policies to minimize alteration of natural landforms and native vegetation and maximize retention of distinctive natural features for public and private projects.

Modify codes and/or regulations to create opportunities for more income diversity and mixed-income neighborhoods by allowing a variety of housing ownership and leasing arrangements, diverse housing sizes and types – including accessory dwelling units, carriage homes, lofts, live-work spaces, cottages, and manufactured/modular housing. Modifications should allow an increase the variety of ownership opportunities to include condominiums, ownership cooperatives (such as mutual housing associations, limited equity cooperatives, etc.) by identifying and removing regulatory barriers. Recommend improvements to protections for owners, developers, and lenders.
Priority should be given to projects that achieve efficiencies described elsewhere in planokc, such as dwelling units that are located to have easy access to each other and to other daily needs including jobs, recreation, and schools.

Ensure that new publicly financed developments – those which directly use or receive public dollars – with more than 100 units or with densities greater than 10 units/acre are located where they have easy access to frequent transit service.

Establish a program or series of programs that significantly improve the quality, appearance, and perception of rental housing throughout the city. Program components should include: 1) owner, manager, and tenant education; 2) code enforcement and inspections; 3) design standards/considerations that promote safety; 4) high attention to property maintenance; and 5) other relevant best practices.

Establish new or expand existing financing methods and/or mechanisms available to new and redevelopment mixed-income projects in urban areas. These could include: direct investment of public housing funds, tax-increment financing, bonds, revolving loans, housing program funds and/or other proven public-private partnership models.

Create regulations/standards/guidelines that focus on design and/or compatibility principles which are sensitive to the surrounding urban form, especially in areas that are stable or improving and whose character is well-established. These provisions should also help ensure compatibility between lower- and higher- intensity land uses.

In conjunction with City regulatory changes, such as significant modifications to zoning ordinances, building codes, or subdivision regulations, assess the effects of the proposed modifications on housing development costs and overall housing affordability, considering the balance between housing affordability and other objectives such as environmental quality, urban design quality, maintenance of neighborhood character and protection of public health, safety and welfare. This assessment should be integrated into the code amendment process, identify barriers to housing affordability, and include recommended mitigation.

Use established mechanisms/tools to allow property owners to provide for the perpetual maintenance, repair and reconstruction of private roads, sidewalks, trails, utilities, and parks in new housing developments by requiring funding mechanisms such as:

  • Maintenance bonds/escrows
  • Special assessment districts, such as Business Improvement District or Special Improvement District
  • Covenants requiring compulsory membership in an incorporated Property Owners Association whose members will be financially liable for any such maintenance, repair, or reconstruction costs.

Incorporate these financing options into the platting process (or zoning process in the case of PUDs).
Construct all private roads and utilities to comply with minimum design and paving standards as outlined in the City of Oklahoma City Subdivision Regulations, including those related to the appropriate Street Typology.

Adopt design standards applicable to both new and remodeled libraries focusing on integrating the building and the site into existing neighborhoods and urban fabric, reducing their dependence on automobiles and increasing their access by other modes, especially walking, biking, and transit.

Maximize fire safety through actions such as:
Modifying regulations and guidelines to prevent subdivisions with a single point of access – except those with fewer than 10 homes.
Developing a vegetation management program targeting the wildland/urban interface, including rights-of-way in rural areas, and incorporating recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities initiative.
Requiring residential sprinklers for developments located in Rural Land Use Typologies.
Requiring exceptional, effective, and easy access to sites augmented by a thorough system of connections within and between developments.

Adopt design standards to enable emergency management resources to be highly effective, such as resilient buildings, interconnected transportation networks, and other design considerations that help ensure community safety and recovery.

Adopt new citywide site design and building regulations that ensure new developments meet basic functional and aesthetic minimums related to:

  • Walkability and bike-ability
  • Internal and external street connectivity
  • Integration of uses
  • Signage
  • Building location
  • Building appearance
  • Open space (passive and active)

Require all new utility lines to be buried and bury existing utility lines when possible (e.g., when roads are widened).

Mitigate negative impacts of compactness by:

  • Updating nuisance code to better address noise, smell, vibration, property maintenance, panhandling, animal control, delivery hours limits, and other possible negative effects.
  • Updating the sign ordinance to reduce visual clutter.

In order to promote compatibility between different uses, establish standards and guidelines that ensure all developments are pedestrian-friendly and human scale at street frontages and property lines.

Develop design standards and guidelines for industrial development. Standards and guidelines should address: sensitive design and placement of buildings; screening or prohibiting outdoor storage; parcel sizes which allow for long term expansion for individual users; special landscaping requirements addressing screening and landscaping adjacent to residential areas and along  highway and arterial streets; standards for the suitable location, orientation and screening of loading bays; and buffering treatments for truck access points.

Create design standards and guidelines for the design, materials, shared amenities, and accessibility of high density urban residential development. Standards and guidelines should promote privacy and livability in a high density, mixed-use environment.

Evaluate existing regulations for effectiveness in promoting density and mixed-use development and in addressing surface parking. Develop a new urban design code for downtown and other key districts to promote healthy mixes of land uses that are compatible and complementary.

Adopt subdivision regulations that ensure new neighborhoods meet the basic needs of residents while supporting an efficient development pattern. Regulations should cover:

  • Open space (passive and active),
  • Demonstration of sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs,
  • Walkability and bikeability,
  • Internal and external street connectivity,
  • Block length,
  • Integration of uses,
  • Integration of a variety of home sizes,
  • Integration of a variety of unit types, and
  • Preservation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Regulations could be based on a point scale to allow flexibility, while still requiring basic minimum thresholds be met.
New regulations should remove the existing requirement for development in Rural LUTAs to connect to water and sewer systems and establish a minimum one-acre lot size for lots with on-site sewer treatment.

We will increase landscaping and design requirements in parking areas. Tree plantings and landscaping in parking lots have multiple benefits. Trees shade parking areas and decrease the heat island effect, help orient customers in large parking lots, manage circulation, and can be integrated into design elements that provide safe paths for pedestrians. In addition, parking lots should provide safe and pleasant paths from public walks and paths and transit stops to the front door of major projects and destinations. In some cases, parking lots can be designed for multiple purposes, acting as public spaces or markets during specific events. New parking design standards for Oklahoma City should incorporate contemporary practices for improved parking lot design.

We will integrate parking structures into primary structures. In appropriate high intensity settings, parking structures should be used to the maximum degree possible. When located along streets, parking structures should be activated at street level by storefronts, public art, or other details to avoid blank walls. The exterior facades of structures should be enhanced and complement the architectural features and materials of the surrounding area as a means to disguise the function of the structure and to minimize the detrimental aesthetic impacts of such facilities.

Click to expand policy information.


Enhance existing development standards and establish design guidelines for areas outside of the City’s existing Design Review Overlay Districts. Development standards and design guidelines could include the following provisions:

  • Minimize views and prominence of parking lots in relation to structures on a site.
  • Sense of proportion (street width to building height, human scale)
  • Pedestrian orientation of structures and architectural detailing/fenestration
  • Terminated vistas
  • Reduce the predominance of residential garages in the design of the front facades of single-family residences.
  • Inclusion of front porches into the design of residential structures.
  • Internal orientation of parking facilities and garages in multi-family developments.
  • Improved pedestrian safety and enhanced pedestrian access through parking lots.

Enhance the City’s Landscape Ordinance by accomplishing the following objectives:

  • Add guidelines and recommendations for landscape design that minimizes the need for supplemental irrigation.
  • Clarify responsibilities and standards for landscape maintenance, including within public rights-of-way.
  • Incentivize the use of drought-tolerant and native plants.
  • Restrict the use of turf grass to the greatest extent feasible.
  • Evaluate existing landscape standards for parking lots and consider making revisions that would result in more landscape buffering on parking lot fringes and more internal landscaping.
  • Evaluate existing landscape standards to determine whether new standards should be adopted to help screen or buffer parking structures.
  • Evaluate existing landscape standards in comparison to best practices and peer cities to determine whether minimum site landscaping standards should be revised and/or restructured to result in increased landscaping.

Develop and adopt new standards/guidelines that result in improvements to parking structure design including the following potential measures:

  • Design parking structures to be architecturally integrated with adjoining primary structure(s).
  • Include integrated storefronts or other active uses on the ground floors of parking structures that are adjacent to public sidewalks and other pedestrian plazas.
  • Enhanced exterior façades of structures by integrating architectural features and materials that complement the character of the surrounding area, or screening with vegetation.

Consider the adoption of improved requirements to screen parked vehicles from view with enhanced landscaping, berming, low screen walls, and existing or proposed buildings, or some combination of those elements.

Develop a Master Streetscape Program to improve the appearance along major arterial streets. The program should outline methods for establishing a uniform streetscape appearance (with distinctive designs for individual streets or classifications of streets) through appropriate tree placement, species, and spacing, and coordinating the location of street trees in proximity to utilities, sidewalks, street lights and structures, and appropriate sidewalk designs. Differentiation in streetscape designs could be designated by street typology, designated areas, or other factors.

Using performance standards related to flow quantity, quality, and pattern, modify development regulations, codes, and policies to support the use of green infrastructure/low impact development techniques to mimic natural systems for developments within aquifer recharge zones with moderate or high vulnerability or in areas where streams and riparian areas have been channelized or developed (primarily in the Downtown, UH, and UM LUTAs). Low impact development techniques include but are not limited to:

  • Onsite treating or filtering of stormwater contaminants.
  • Discharging run-off as sheet-flow after passing through grassy or vegetated open space areas, rather than discharging run-off through concentrated outfalls.
  • Creating attractive open space amenities that double as stormwater detention, retention, and / or filtering systems.
  • Utilizing pervious pavement, pavers, or asphalt in appropriate locations (i.e. sidewalks, parking spaces, trails, patios, etc.).
  • Utilizing planters (at grade or raised), vegetated landscape strips adjacent to roads and parking areas, and alternative curbing designs (allowing stormwater to easily move from impervious areas to pervious areas), to encourage stormwater infiltration and temporary detention.
  • Rain Gardens
  • Bioswales
  • Green streets and alleys
  • Green roofs
  • Rooftop collection
  • Underground detention
  • Increased tree canopy preservation/tree planting
  • Land/open space conservation
  • Cluster development

Revise development regulations to require the following factors to be addressed in development and redevelopment proposals:

  • Preservation of existing natural resources, such as wooded areas, habitat areas, and floodplains.
  • Utilization of natural treatments and methods to stabilize or rehabilitate stream and river banks as a means to preserve downstream habitats.
  • Integration of a variety of native or compatible non-native, non-invasive plant species.
  • Mitigation of impacts of development on habitat, wildlife corridors, riparian and littoral areas, and water quality, through actions such as restoration or re-vegetation of disturbed natural areas and replacement of trees/habitat on-site or off-site.
  • Management of invasive plant and animal species.
  • Management and maintenance of natural areas, common areas and drainage areas.
  • Impact on surface and groundwater supply.
  • Impact on water quality caused by land uses and activities.
  • Impacts on floodplains, riparian and littoral areas and wetlands and areas with significant landforms.

Revise the landscape ordinance to include the following:

  • Define terms such as invasive species, exotic/non-native species, and native/indigenous species
  • Require removal of invasive species from existing sites, and prohibit such species from being planted or maintained in new development.
  • Provide a reference list of native plants and drought-tolerant plants.
  • Provide incentives for using native and drought-tolerant plants and disincentives for using high-water plants and turf grass.
  • Establish requirements for using design practices that minimize the need for supplemental irrigation.

Establish an Urban Forestry Program and City Urban Forester position to achieve the following:

  • Measure and monitor tree canopy coverage and habitat on a regular basis so that any policies, programs, and regulations may be adjusted accordingly as situations change. Establish a process to maintain current data.
  • Develop and maintain regulations, policies, processes, and programs that focus on protection and preservation of native trees.
  • Provide assistance with proper tree selection, location, and maintenance to prevent power outages, reduce property damage, and coordinate emergency response during natural disaster events (excessive snow and ice, tornadoes, etc.), address the urban heat island effect, and reduce energy costs, etc.
  • Establish programs such as tree give-aways, neighborhood planting programs, and education workshops.
  • Provide resources to the public about tree selection, management, and care.
  • Seek grant funding for community tree planting to improve City parks, publicly maintained rights-of-way and other areas of the city.
  • Inventory the City’s street trees and develop a tree replacement program.
  • Partner with volunteer and nonprofit organizations to recruit volunteers for tree planting and maintenance and to coordinate community-wide tree planting efforts.

Pursue methods to reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect on Oklahoma City by:

  • Establishing a minimum canopy coverage requirement over paved surfaces such as parking lots.
  • Instating a “continuous canopy” requirement for new streets and street reconstruction projects.
  • Promoting the use of building and roofing materials that reduce heat island effects.

Modify development and subdivision regulations, and City policies to minimize alteration of natural landforms and native vegetation and maximize retention of distinctive natural features for public and private projects.

Improve parking provisions in neighborhoods that are near vibrant commercial corridors/areas by improving parking and corridor design, non-vehicular networks, transit, and signage.

Amend the landscape ordinance to increase the number of trees and landscaped islands required in parking lots.

Provide incentives for developers to build parking garages in high density areas. Include design requirements for projects receiving incentives.

We will use private parks to meet local needs in certain settings in developing areas, subject to maintenance standards and commitments. Parks, including neighborhood parks, have traditionally been part of civic life, open and welcome to the general public. On the other hand, smaller neighborhood parks are primarily used by residents of a specific local area and are increasingly difficult and expensive for a municipal parks department to develop and maintain. This leads to an increasing acceptance and even encouragement of private parks, controlled and maintained by the residents of a specific neighborhood or subdivision and not necessarily available to the general public.

The Parks Master Plan anticipates that most local park demands in new growth and rural areas will be met by private parks. Oklahoma City should accept the development of private parks as part of a program to meet level of service standards for these areas. However, public neighborhood parks should be developed as part of or adjacent to school sites, along trails and major pedestrian or bicycle routes, and along greenway corridors. New private parks, when developed, should follow specific management and maintenance standards.

Click to expand policy information.


Use established mechanisms/tools to allow property owners to provide for the perpetual maintenance, repair and reconstruction of private roads, sidewalks, trails, utilities, and parks in new housing developments by requiring funding mechanisms such as:

  • Maintenance bonds/escrows
  • Special assessment districts, such as Business Improvement District or Special Improvement District
  • Covenants requiring compulsory membership in an incorporated Property Owners Association whose members will be financially liable for any such maintenance, repair, or reconstruction costs.

Incorporate these financing options into the platting process (or zoning process in the case of PUDs).
Construct all private roads and utilities to comply with minimum design and paving standards as outlined in the City of Oklahoma City Subdivision Regulations, including those related to the appropriate Street Typology.

Develop a downtown park master plan that identifies the following:

  • Opportunities for providing private parks and open space while still maintaining a dense, urban environment (such as vest pocket parks, rooftop gardens, plazas and courtyards);
  • Linkages and connections between public and private parks;
  • Programming and amenities that complement and support parks in the system; and
  • Funding for operations and maintenance.

Require new subdivisions in under-served areas to construct and maintain private parks to serve those residents. Establish standards for private parks so that their quality is on par with public parks.

Approve construction of new private parks only when the following provisions are specified:

  • Identification of a party, group, or entity responsible for park maintenance;
  • Adoption of maintenance standards for private park facilities, equipment, and natural areas;
  • Establishment of a maintenance and inspections schedule;
  • Guarantees of a funding source for long-term maintenance (maintenance bonds, open space escrow, fees etc.).

We will create development-ready sites with access to infrastructure in strategic areas.
An adequate and ongoing supply of immediately developable land provides the ability to respond nimbly to economic opportunities. Meeting the recommendation of the Employment Land Needs Assessment and Action Plan for maintaining a constant inventory of 1,000 acres of development-ready land involves a two-part strategy that:

  • Protects land appropriate for major employment development from short-term encroachment by other uses.
  • Extends services and infrastructure to this land so that major employers can build with minimum delay.

The Employment Reserve (ER) LUTA is specifically designed to preserve the integrity of land best suited for large-scale employment growth. Through the development approval process, the City can avoid compromising these sites by approving uses that will prove incompatible with future major employment centers. This may require creation of public or community-based development groups with the patience and ability to hold large assemblages of land for industrial, business park, or office headquarters uses.

The other leg of the strategy involves preparing this land for timely development by financing and installing (or being immediately prepared to install) infrastructure. Accomplishing this will require mobilization of existing agencies such as the Urban Renewal Authority, the Oklahoma Industries Authority, and the Oklahoma City Industrial and Cultural Facilities Trust. It will also require establishing a reliable and repeatable method of funding capital investments that may include tax increment financing, general obligation limited tax bonds, and other public sources.

We will continue to provide incentives to major employers, targeted to specific industry clusters and locations. The City will continue to provide direct financial incentives to attract and retain major employers. These incentives should be targeted to:

  • Industrial and employer clusters whose requirements are matched to our attributes and who move in the direction of greater economic diversification. These natural affinities for Oklahoma City include aerospace, aviation, defense, bio-science and other high-technology industries, renewable energy, new-to-market company headquarters, and advanced manufacturing.
  • Sites where major community investments have been made in land, infrastructure, amenities, and other capital improvements; major redevelopment areas; or other desirable sites where these facilities are already available.

We will update public incentive programs to provide maximum leverage per dollar spent. The City provides incentives to businesses through its Strategic Investment Program. This incentive structure will be reviewed and optimized to provide the greatest community benefit and return on investment. This update should include specific evaluation criteria and objective measures of benefit. Preferred investments should move in the direction of private, front-end investment with incentive reimbursement tied to meeting performance criteria such as job creation and greater retail activity.

We will support locally-owned businesses and existing assets. Locally-owned businesses can have greater multiplier effects on the local economy than similar businesses that are non-local. This includes even the smallest businesses, such as home businesses, mobile food vendors, pop-up retail or vendors at farmer's markets. The City can support locally-owned businesses and entrepreneurs through favorable tax policies, flexible regulations, and partnerships with local educational institutions to support business incubators and other programs that encourage business start-ups. We must also look carefully at measures that level the playing field among retail entities and allow local retailers to compete on at least an equal footing with on-line and out-of-city competitors.

Click to expand policy information.


Strengthen existing businesses and business districts within and adjacent to established residential areas. Promote the development of new businesses to provide additional jobs and higher income opportunities for nearby residents.

Create and promote development-ready sites in Employment Reserve (ER) areas using the following strategies:

  • Task the Oklahoma Industries Authority (OIA) and/or the Oklahoma City Industrial and Cultural Facilities Trust (OCICFT) to help public and private entities create development-ready sites.
  • Partner with the State School Land Trust to prepare their sites located in ER areas for development.
  • Pursue public purchase or optioning of key properties in ER areas in cooperation with the Urban Renewal Authority, the Oklahoma Industries Authority (OIA), and/or the Oklahoma City Industrial and Cultural Facilities Trust (OCICFT).
  • Conduct a market analysis and feasibility study for a new business park.
  • Facilitate development of ER sites by providing:
    • Infrastructure financing options, such as tax-increment financing,
    • Prioritized delivery of infrastructure, and
    • Accelerated or facilitated permitting.

Provide adequate infrastructure for new or expanding companies by giving priority to Capital Improvements in ER areas. Additionally, consider the implementation of impact fees for infrastructure in order to provide infrastructure in a timely manner and to better coordinate with private development.

Consider updating the City’s Strategic Investment Program and retail incentive guidelines to maximize public benefit and return on investment from business recruitment and retention incentive structures according to the following order of preference:

  • The prospective company pays for infrastructure and/or amenities and is reimbursed by the City as performance standards are achieved.
  • The City pays for infrastructure and/or amenities, which the prospective company must repay if performance standards are not met.
  • Direct, performance-based payments are made to the prospective company.

Continue providing direct financial incentives on a limited basis to attract and retain large, well-paying employers in areas where public infrastructure and amenities are already adequate. Financial incentives may include:

  • Payments from general obligation limited tax bonds
  • Performance-based rebate of all or a portion of future impact fees (if implemented)
  • Revolving loan fund for small business starts/expansions
  • Industrial revenue bonds

Increase economic diversity by supporting development of industry clusters such as aerospace, aviation, defense, bioscience (and other high-technology industries), renewable energy, new-to-market company headquarters, and advanced manufacturing. Strategies can include:

  • Prioritizing incentives administered by the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust for these industries
  • Prioritizing installation of infrastructure to support aviation-related industrial development on the east side of the Will Rogers Airport
  • Engaging ODOT in discussions to make improvements to I-44 in the vicinity of the Will Rogers Airport to relieve congestion and improve access to the airport-owned lands from I-44
  • Protecting Airports and Tinker Air Force Base from encroachment by incompatible uses by analyzing the effectiveness of current Airport Environs overlay zoning districts and implementing necessary changes
  • Facilitating expansion of Tinker-related operations to the east and south by prioritizing improvements to transportation, water, and sewer infrastructure
  • Coordinating with the Chamber of Commerce to prepare sector acceleration plans for targeted industries

Support locally-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, which have greater multiplier effects on the local economy, by the following actions:

  • Establish online sales taxes to correct a competitive imbalance currently suffered by local “brick and mortar” merchants.
  • Facilitate entrepreneurial growth by working with local companies and universities and supporting business incubators.
  • Consider amending the Strategic Investment Program guidelines to give higher priority to locally-owned businesses.
  • Consider creating incentives and/or easing regulations for small, locally-owned businesses such as home businesses, farmers’ markets, mobile food vendors, pop-up retail, etc.

Support development of land designated for large employers and employment centers within the Employment Reserve LUTA, using the following strategies:

  • When major infrastructure is extended to allow specific properties to develop in an Employment Reserve area, the City should place a condition on the land (through a development agreement) limiting future development to employment uses.
  • Guide employment land development through the proactive and strategic installation of infrastructure to accomplish the large-site employment land inventory objectives outlined in the Employment Land Needs Assessment & Action Plan.

We will continue to create and enhance amenities such as parks, roadways, transit, cultural and recreational facilities, special districts, and gateways. The MAPS programs have generated tremendous momentum for our city, but we cannot rest on past accomplishments. Instead we must continue our efforts to create great places at neighborhood, citywide, and street levels. In the future, these amenities will include public spaces, street corridors, transit facilities, cultural and recreational attractions, special districts, and community gateways.

Connections like the Bricktown Canal connecting Bricktown and the riverfront, the SkyDance Bridge, the riverfront greenway and in the near future the modern streetcar and trails projects have been as important as individual destinations. Signature transportation corridors are also vital parts of the cityscape. To this end, the City will explore the feasibility of installing and maintaining landscaping and public art along key transportation corridors to enhance the City’s appearance, image, and sense of place. Features like gateways can mark the transition from one district to another, and help emphasize the distinctiveness of Oklahoma City's special districts.

We will build on the success of our special districts to attract residents and businesses. Downtown, Bricktown, Midtown, the Plaza, Deep Deuce, the Paseo, Stockyards City, Automobile Alley, Heritage Hills, and others are important districts that contribute strongly to Oklahoma City's sense of place and identity. Future districts like Core to Shore will contribute to Oklahoma City's collection of urban places. The City will continue to invest in features that make these existing and future places centerpieces of our community by catalyzing development, increasing land use diversity, building quality of life amenities, and promoting family-friendly features.

Catalyzing development. Urban housing has proven to be a staple of downtown and urban district revitalization. Residential development not only creates a market for more local services but also creates a comfortable environment that brings other people in from around the city and region. The City will continue to guide housing development to urban districts to increase activity and support demand for new retailing. Special focuses will include Downtown and surrounding areas and the new Core to Shore neighborhood. The City should also place a priority on establishing a signature retail development or a retail/housing mixed-use development.

Diversifying land use. Increasing land use diversity in urban districts will help attract and retain visitors and support development momentum. For example, Bricktown's first development phases concentrated on offices, bars, and restaurants. But the historic district has become more vital with nearby housing, retailing at different scales, and hospitality uses, and this type of diversification should accelerate. In special districts, City policy should attract a balance of retail, residential, employment, and recreational uses.

Investing in amenities and activities. The City can strengthen downtown’s and other districts' senses of place and increase activity by encouraging and investing in more public plazas, public art, parks, indoor recreation facilities, and arts and cultural facilities.

Building family-friendliness. We can help attract and retain a variety of households to downtown and other urban districts by promoting and enhancing them as family-friendly places to live and play. Attention to street design, land uses (particularly around the downtown school) and public safety can help promote this image.

We will establish a place-making program. The City will establish a program to develop place-making capacity in the city and promote both the economic and quality-of-life value of place-making investments. The program will establish partnerships and provide funding on a regular basis, including attention to small, neighborhood-scaled projects.

A significant part of this program is communicating the message of Oklahoma City's places to the outside world. This both benefits businesses directly through promotion and supports city marketing and talent recruitment efforts. The Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau are major partners in this effort.

We will designate additional special districts. The City will foster more specialized districts for large cultural or ethnic groups to promote diversity and improve perceptions of the city. For example, Capitol Hill could grow as the center of an emerging Hispanic/Latino district, with appeal to people throughout the region. New special districts would include thematic infrastructure, amenities, design, public art, and streetscape improvements. Appropriate areas should be identified for special districts, followed by preparation of plans that establish design guidelines and strategies to capitalize on cultural meaning.

Click to expand policy information.


Provide tools and incentives for targeted housing and neighborhood revitalization through programs such as a housing trust fund, land bank, abatement of permit and connection fees, employer assisted housing, inclusionary housing development, tax abatements, credits or deductions, abatement of permit and connection fees, and an expedited review and approval processes.

Create regulations/standards/guidelines that focus on design and/or compatibility principles which are sensitive to the surrounding urban form, especially in areas that are stable or improving and whose character is well-established. These provisions should also help ensure compatibility between lower- and higher- intensity land uses.

Establish a program to develop place-making capacity in the city. The program should promote the economic and quality-of-life benefits of place-making investments and should:

  • Establish and maintain partnerships between the City, the private sector, and “place management” organizations.
  • Provide funding and City staff support for “place management” organizations.

Create specialized districts for large cultural or ethnic groups to enhance the diversity and perceptions of the city. Identify appropriate areas and create master plans with urban design guidelines specialized to the cultural history on display. For example, one special district could be themed for the Hispanic/Latino community. Such a district would include associated thematic infrastructure, amenity, design, public art, and streetscape improvements.

Promote the downtown area as an attractive place to live and play for all household types, including families with children by:

  • Requiring human scale site and building designs
  • Focusing on pedestrian friendliness
  • Adding family-friendly public amenities including parks, open space, greenways, plazas, bikeways, public art, etc.
  • Limiting noise and protecting privacy
  • Ensuring new buildings and sites are designed to be attractive and to enhance safety and the sense of safety.
  • Encouraging employment and residential uses in close proximity
  • Encouraging or requiring a percentage of condominium or apartment units to be 2 and 3 bedroom units
  • Encouraging “child-friendly” development near schools and discouraging uses that could be detrimental to schools’ viability
  • Instituting on-street police officers on foot or bicycle to maintain “eyes on the street” and enhance public safety and security

Attract and retain young professionals to downtown and its environs to support and enhance place-making efforts and investments.

  • Explore the possibility of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce contracting with the City to facilitate and promote civic engagement and social opportunities for young professionals.

Facilitate the development of housing in the Downtown, Bricktown, and Core to Shore areas in order to increase activity levels and demand for retail and amenities.

Strengthen downtown’s sense of place and activity levels by encouraging more housing, retail, public plazas, public art, parks, indoor recreation facilities, and arts and cultural facilities.

Increase land use diversity in Bricktown to attract and retain visitors and development momentum. Specifically, encourage more retail, office, and recreational uses rather than additional bars and restaurants, so that visitors of all ages and interests will be motivated to visit and stay longer.

Encourage the use of special service districts with enhanced levels of service.

Ensure adequate funds to maintain enhanced levels of service (including staffing) in places that have been or will be designated as special districts.

Initiate an effort to create and publicize a brand and image for the city. Examples of specific outcomes include:

  • Coordinate with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber to advertise the city’s quality of life to national and regional audiences during major events such as the NBA playoffs, and at other appropriate times and places, and in appropriate media.
  • Overhaul of City logo (buses, police cars, streetcar)
  • Overhaul of City Website

Increase tourism, publicize the city’s quality of life, and increase the city’s profile as a regional vacation destination by working with the Conventions and Visitors Bureau using the following strategies:

  • Package vacations that highlight the city’s amenities and destinations.
  • Conduct a tourism market study and plan to identify opportunities to increase visitation from in-state and out-of-state groups and households.
  • Publicize information highlighting the city’s amenities, destinations and transportation options (e.g., Spokies, transit, walking tours, and river boat tours).
  • Direct visitors (through maps, walking, biking, and river tours, and driving and streetcar routes) to Oklahoma City’s cultural and historic sites, and commercial districts.

Continue to create and enhance “big league city” amenities such as parks, public spaces, roadways, transit, cultural and recreational facilities, special districts, and gateways. Two specific possibilities for amenity enhancement include:

  • Explore the feasibility of City-supported, high-quality landscaping along key transportation corridors as a means of enhancing the city’s appearance, image, and sense of place.
  • Create gateways using public art features.

Create and implement small area plans for neighborhoods or districts with special strategic importance or complications related to development or redevelopment.

Identify priority areas where the City can maximize private investment by providing public infrastructure and amenities including:

  • Transit;
  • Parks, trails, sidewalks;
  • Streets;
  • Arts and cultural facilities.

Enhance Downtown Oklahoma City’s prominence by maintaining and increasing its role as the major business center, establishing it as a major urban residential center, and focusing on developing retail, office, entertainment, and arts and cultural uses.

Work to establish a critical mass of retail uses in the downtown area. A lifestyle center or mixed-use town center presents the most viable option for a major infusion of retail into downtown.

We will promote redevelopment of vacant or under-used sites. Infill development on vacant, under-utilized, and brownfield sites should receive special attention through changes to land use regulations, infrastructure upgrades in target neighborhoods, incentives, favorable tax policies, expedited processing, and greater flexibility. The City recently produced a study on vacant and abandoned buildings to help address this issue and will continue to pursue implementation of the recommendations of that study.

We will encourage diversity in our neighborhoods. The City should use its housing and land use policies to encourage neighborhoods that have a diverse range of home sizes and types, and avoid concentration of low income households. Diversity builds unique and resilient neighborhoods, increases community involvement, and expands support for neighborhood schools. From an economic development point of view, housing and price-point diversity provides solid, affordable residential areas for members of the labor force at all levels of income and tends to encourage upward mobility.

We will support the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative. The City should continue to support the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative and consider permanent funding for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help reverse decline and create valuable places.

We will require good neighborhood design. Good neighborhood design can increase citizens’ access to jobs, housing, schools, and daily needs. It will also contribute to positive perceptions of neighborhoods, thereby encouraging investment.

New citywide site design and building regulations should establish basic functional requirements for features that produce good urban places. These include encouraging active transportation; integrating residential areas and activity centers; implementing good basic standards for signage, building materials, and site planning; and developing public spaces designed for desirable person to person contact.

Click to expand policy information.


Support and incentivize the adaptive use of existing buildings, infill development, and brownfield development.

Establish a program or series of programs that significantly improve the quality, appearance, and perception of rental housing throughout the city. Program components should include: 1) owner, manager, and tenant education; 2) code enforcement and inspections; 3) design standards/considerations that promote safety; 4) high attention to property maintenance; and 5) other relevant best practices.

Provide tools and incentives for targeted housing and neighborhood revitalization through programs such as a housing trust fund, land bank, abatement of permit and connection fees, employer assisted housing, inclusionary housing development, tax abatements, credits or deductions, abatement of permit and connection fees, and an expedited review and approval processes.

Integrate housing rehabilitation programs with neighborhood revitalization programs. These programs should include assistance to property owners to renovate the existing housing stock with improvements that reduce utility and maintenance costs for owners and occupants, conserve energy, conserve water, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Identify, evaluate, and mitigate challenges associated with neighborhoods where housing values are rising quickly in response to public investment.

Establish new or expand existing financing methods and/or mechanisms available to new and redevelopment mixed-income projects in urban areas. These could include: direct investment of public housing funds, tax-increment financing, bonds, revolving loans, housing program funds and/or other proven public-private partnership models.

Create and/or enhance Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs) to increase their capacity to provide mixed-income housing, especially in targeted infill areas.

Catalyze the rehabilitation of abandoned structures by amending codes to facilitate the adaptive reuse of existing buildings for residential use.

Develop a City program to rehabilitate or redevelop dilapidated properties, including a land bank to receive donated properties from property owners who can no longer maintain their properties.

Create regulations/standards/guidelines that focus on design and/or compatibility principles which are sensitive to the surrounding urban form, especially in areas that are stable or improving and whose character is well-established. These provisions should also help ensure compatibility between lower- and higher- intensity land uses.

In conjunction with City regulatory changes, such as significant modifications to zoning ordinances, building codes, or subdivision regulations, assess the effects of the proposed modifications on housing development costs and overall housing affordability, considering the balance between housing affordability and other objectives such as environmental quality, urban design quality, maintenance of neighborhood character and protection of public health, safety and welfare. This assessment should be integrated into the code amendment process, identify barriers to housing affordability, and include recommended mitigation.

Add legislative priorities for state laws to:

  • Strengthen the City’s ability to obtain specific performance of property owners cited for code violations.
  • Speed up the demolition process for long-time boarded properties that cannot be rehabilitated.
  • Strengthen the City’s ability to require property owners to rehabilitate or sell neglected, boarded-up properties.
  • Expedite the clearing of properties involved in probate.

Improve parking provisions in neighborhoods that are near vibrant commercial corridors/areas by improving parking and corridor design, non-vehicular networks, transit, and signage.

Strengthen existing businesses and business districts within and adjacent to established residential areas. Promote the development of new businesses to provide additional jobs and higher income opportunities for nearby residents.

Strategically use subsidized housing programs along with other City services and programs to revitalize targeted areas of the city.

Facilitate the development of housing in the Downtown, Bricktown, and Core to Shore areas in order to increase activity levels and demand for retail and amenities.

Increase land use diversity in Bricktown to attract and retain visitors and development momentum. Specifically, encourage more retail, office, and recreational uses rather than additional bars and restaurants, so that visitors of all ages and interests will be motivated to visit and stay longer.

Adopt new citywide site design and building regulations that ensure new developments meet basic functional and aesthetic minimums related to:

  • Walkability and bike-ability
  • Internal and external street connectivity
  • Integration of uses
  • Signage
  • Building location
  • Building appearance
  • Open space (passive and active)

Support diverse and high-achieving student bodies through the creation of mixed-income neighborhoods that encourage parental and community involvement by:

  • Integrating home sizes and types at neighborhood and block scales,
  • Avoiding concentrations of low-income households by encouraging income diversity within neighborhoods and by spending City housing funds in a manner that does not concentrate low income households in one development or neighborhood, but instead creates opportunities for these households to live in income-diverse neighborhoods, and
  • Encouraging school districts to open schools and school grounds after school hours to support community engagement and more convenient opportunities for active recreation.

Study the impact of vacant parcels on places and special districts, and determine how best to mitigate any negative impacts.

Support infill development on vacant, underutilized, and brownfield sites by:

  • Allowing densities sufficient to incentivize infill in older areas
  • Focusing resources on target neighborhoods to build positive momentum
  • Evaluating and adjusting zoning in areas where infill is desired
  • Reducing permit fees and processing time for infill development proposals
  • Waiving the requirement for traffic impact analyses for infill development proposals
  • Establishing an Abandoned Buildings Program and enhancing it over time by:
    • Seeking changes in City ordinance and State statute where necessary to allow for cost recovery of police and fire services costs caused by vacant buildings
    • Using revenue collected beyond Vacant and Abandoned Buildings program administration cost for neighborhood improvements
    • Submitting land bank legislation to the State Legislature and establishing a land bank authorized to acquire, rehabilitate, and dispose of abandoned properties
  • Offering temporary or short term catalyzing incentives for the first “infillers” in target neighborhoods. Incentives may include small grants and/or low interest loans from a revolving loan fund or for property improvements.
  • Evaluating the possibility of basing property taxes on only land value and not improvements, thereby encouraging high intensity use of well-positioned land and discouraging underutilization and long–term vacancy.

Rather than rely solely on federal CDBG funding, seek other sources to continue to support the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative and Neighborhood Stabilization Program in order to enhance their ability to reverse decline and create valuable places.

Increase the viability of townhomes and condominiums as housing products by:

  • Adopting and supporting new local and state laws to increase consumer protection for condos and townhomes (e.g., better funding mechanisms and maintenance enforcement for common areas).
  • Requiring developers to demonstrate sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs.

Encourage redevelopment and infill development on vacant, underutilized, and brownfield sites in urbanized areas.

Catalyze infill development on vacant, underutilized, and brownfield sites in urbanized areas by:

  • Investing in infrastructure improvements;
  • Improving multi-modal transportation networks;
  • Improving parks and open spaces;
  • Improving schools and other civic resources;
  • Exploring innovative methods such as:
    • A public-private partnership to purchase problem properties in target areas and build or rehabilitate homes while improving infrastructure and amenities
    • An infill house plan program similar to Sacramento or Milwaukee
  • Identifying and removing barriers to rehabilitation and/or replacement of residential buildings.
  • Establishing a position in the City to facilitate medium- and large-scale redevelopment projects through the development process by guiding interactions with City departments, allied agencies, and utility companies.

Encourage the adaptive reuse of underutilized structures and the revitalization of older, economically distressed neighborhoods.

Continue promoting the re-use, redevelopment, and revitalization of low-performing or declining commercial areas.

Support diversity and integration of housing unit types and sizes in all land use typology areas in order to meet the diverse needs of households of different sizes, generational needs, incomes, and preferences. New residential subdivisions should achieve a mixture of housing types within a unified development.

Amend the zoning ordinance to better accommodate the integration of various residential densities, building types, and styles.

Create design standards and guidelines for the design, materials, shared amenities, and accessibility of high density urban residential development. Standards and guidelines should promote privacy and livability in a high density, mixed-use environment.

Adopt subdivision regulations that ensure new neighborhoods meet the basic needs of residents while supporting an efficient development pattern. Regulations should cover:

  • Open space (passive and active),
  • Demonstration of sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs,
  • Walkability and bikeability,
  • Internal and external street connectivity,
  • Block length,
  • Integration of uses,
  • Integration of a variety of home sizes,
  • Integration of a variety of unit types, and
  • Preservation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Regulations could be based on a point scale to allow flexibility, while still requiring basic minimum thresholds be met.
New regulations should remove the existing requirement for development in Rural LUTAs to connect to water and sewer systems and establish a minimum one-acre lot size for lots with on-site sewer treatment.

We will incorporate crime prevention principles into the City's design regulations and guidelines. Previous elements of the plan, including playokc and liveokc, introduced the concept of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles (CPTED), which use common-sense design features to minimize opportunities for criminal activity. CPTED principles apply on a wide range of scales, from individual site vegetation choices to citywide development patterns.

Oklahoma City should incorporate CPTED principles into its design standards for development and redevelopment of public and private projects. Some cities (including Wichita, Kansas) have established ordinances that officially integrate CPTED principles into their design standards, while others use them as guidelines and adapt for their own use.

The City can encourage the use of CPTED principles through:

  • Encouraging land use planning that mixes uses and extends hours of activity and "eyes on the street."
  • Establishing neighborhood territoriality by which adjacent residents and businesses can monitor activity in the public realm. a mixture of uses in neighborhoods.
  • Lighting and building design guidelines.
  • Landscaping guidelines that avoid hidden places.
  • Building code enforcement and resolution and elimination of chronic vacancy and structural deterioration.

The City's project review and approval process should include Police Department participation to provide specific public safety recommendations. The department should maintain an officer on staff with a specialty in CPTED and its principles. This staff member should also provide outreach to the development community to provide special training to builders, developers, and design professionals on safe community design.

Click to expand policy information.


Create a standards for trails based on industry standards, “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” principles, expected use, and surrounding land uses.

Establish access management requirements that limit driveways on arterials and collectors and increase connections between uses to improve safety and traffic efficiency.

Limit driveways on arterials and collectors and increase connections between uses to improve safety and traffic efficiency.

Ensure proper access to and between subdivisions in order to offer a choice in routes for residents, multiple access points for emergency responders, and to reduce vehicle congestion at arterial intersections. Contiguous developments should share access whenever feasible.

Establish a process for existing neighborhoods to request traffic calming, including how to evaluate the request, select the appropriate type of calming treatment, and fund recommendations.

Require sidewalks on both sides of all streets in urban LUTAs and in the Rural Residential LUTA for subdivisions with densities greater than 1 unit per acre.

Target specific areas of the city for enhanced safety and proactive enforcement. Selection of target areas will be informed by the Intelligence Led Policing program, with coordinated involvement from Police, Code Enforcement, Public Works Department, Planning, and community-based organizations.

Establish a Crime-Free Multifamily Housing Program designed to keep multifamily housing developments safe from crime and perceptions of crime by:

  • Supporting partnerships between the police, property managers, property owners, and tenants.
  • Providing training to managers and owners about screening applicants, fire safety, fair housing, and other components of ‘active property management’.
  • Providing a security assessment based on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles.
  • Conducting safety meetings with residents/tenants.

Ensure that safety is factored into the design of neighborhoods through the following policies:

  • Incorporate development standards and guidelines into the Subdivision Regulations that integrate the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and increase safety and social interaction.
  • Create a pre-development checklist with criteria to evaluate how safety is designed into a project.
  • Establish a pre-development process wherein safety is considered in the design of projects.
  • Involve the Fire and Police Departments in reviewing proposed development and redevelopment to provide input on any safety-related design concerns.

Establish criteria for locating, designing, and improving public and private parks to enhance safety and security, including:
Locating new parks in areas that are highly visible and accessible from surrounding residential streets and utilize trails to increase activity and visibility in parks.
Utilizing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles, which includes controlled access, visibility, lighting, etc. for new parks and retrofitting/redesign of existing parks.

Improve safety of users of the parks and trails system by:

  • Providing good lighting, emergency call boxes, and regular police patrols along the trail system.
  • Providing shelter structures along the trail networks and determining the appropriate spacing for such structures. Structures could be relatively small to keep costs down but should be sturdy and easy to maintain.

Incorporate Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles into city-wide design standards for development and redevelopment of public and private projects. CPTED principles include: 1) Territorially – physically define spaces as public or private and the appropriate use is obvious even to outside observers; 2) Access Control – deny access to soft targets; 3) Natural Surveillance – make it easy to observe all users of/in a particular territory/space; 4) Maintenance and Management – ensure equipment is functioning (lights, gates, etc.), landscape is kept neat especially to preserve surveillance.

Maximize fire safety through actions such as:
Modifying regulations and guidelines to prevent subdivisions with a single point of access – except those with fewer than 10 homes.
Developing a vegetation management program targeting the wildland/urban interface, including rights-of-way in rural areas, and incorporating recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities initiative.
Requiring residential sprinklers for developments located in Rural Land Use Typologies.
Requiring exceptional, effective, and easy access to sites augmented by a thorough system of connections within and between developments.

Evaluate development proposals to assess design components that contribute to or detract from safety and analyze emergency response capacity and capability.

Ensure that planokc is periodically updated to coordinate/correspond with the City’s Emergency Operation Plan and vice versa.

Adopt design standards to enable emergency management resources to be highly effective, such as resilient buildings, interconnected transportation networks, and other design considerations that help ensure community safety and recovery.

Encourage the integration and mixing of land uses in urban areas.

In order to promote compatibility between different uses, establish standards and guidelines that ensure all developments are pedestrian-friendly and human scale at street frontages and property lines.

We will implement land use and design policies that reduce the probability of loss of life and property and expedite response and reconstruction. Emergencies are inevitable and can never be fully prevented. But we will pursue a coordinated program to reduce their probability from avoidable causes and respond effectively when they do occur. We can reduce the probability of emergencies by building code revisions that limit threats from fire, weather, and other disasters; manage vegetation to reduce flammable vegetation around buildings and where urban and rural environments meet; and implementing the recommendations of the Oklahoma City Hazard Mitigation Plan (2012). Some high priority mitigation measures recommended by the plan include construction of safe-rooms and storm shelters, enhanced warning systems for potential hazards, regulation of development in the floodplain, and better stormwater management.

Once emergency situations occur, quick response and rapid access become critical. A well connected transportation network promotes efficient emergency response by providing multiple route options and shorter travel distances between emergency sites and service providers. In catastrophic disasters like floods and tornados, an interconnected street network provides alternative ways in and out of affected areas. Just as the development review process must address public safety through CPTED standards, it should also address fire safety and emergency response criteria, using available sources like the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities.

Click to expand policy information.


Revise subdivision regulations to include connectivity standards and guidelines that require greater street connectivity, and provide allowances for pedestrian and bicycle connections when street connectivity cannot be made.

Prioritize opportunities to restore and reconnect the street grid.

Change subdivision regulations to determine the number of entries into a residential development based on number of lots in order to improve connectivity of the roadway network and emergency response.

Support the creation of a regional transit authority and pursue the establishment of a dedicated funding source, such as sales tax or property tax to achieve long term transit service goals.

Maximize fire safety through actions such as:
Modifying regulations and guidelines to prevent subdivisions with a single point of access – except those with fewer than 10 homes.
Developing a vegetation management program targeting the wildland/urban interface, including rights-of-way in rural areas, and incorporating recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities initiative.
Requiring residential sprinklers for developments located in Rural Land Use Typologies.
Requiring exceptional, effective, and easy access to sites augmented by a thorough system of connections within and between developments.

Evaluate development proposals to assess design components that contribute to or detract from safety and analyze emergency response capacity and capability.

Adopt design standards to enable emergency management resources to be highly effective, such as resilient buildings, interconnected transportation networks, and other design considerations that help ensure community safety and recovery.

Require all new utility lines to be buried and bury existing utility lines when possible (e.g., when roads are widened).

We will provide City services in areas that create the most benefit for dollar spent and where market demand exists. New services should be provided in areas of the city are the most efficient to serve considering both operating costs and capital investments. In many cases, this will involve incremental infrastructure extensions in contiguous areas, or where a new drainage basin can be opened in areas where market demand and city growth goals coincide. Possible sources to demonstrate market demand include housing demand studies, employment land studies, retail strategies, land supply analyses, and system-wide study for specific services. The findings from these market studies should be incorporated into planokc and used to inform General Obligation bonds, Capital Improvement Projects, and the land use plan.

Public financing is a particularly important instrument for directing growth. In general, public financing should be directed to areas that promote planokc's overriding goal of healthy and sustainable development. For example, extending a strategic interceptor sewer that opens a basin to development may receive front-end public financing through revenue bonds.

When developing new areas, the City should ensure that services can support new development without diminishing service to existing neighborhoods. For example, the need to extend water to new development should not jeopardize the availability of fire suppression flow in existing neighborhoods.

We will use municipal utilities and services as catalysts to leverage neighborhood revitalization and redevelopment. Investments in infrastructure and City facilities support revitalization efforts by both targeting and preparing key areas for redevelopment. Improvements to infrastructure and City services should be correlated with redevelopment efforts, in order to provide accurate information to the private market regarding preferred land use locations, uses, and intensities.

Click to expand policy information.


Locate, design and upgrade City facilities and infrastructure in a manner that supports neighborhood revitalization and redevelopment.

Provide adequate infrastructure for new or expanding companies by giving priority to Capital Improvements in ER areas. Additionally, consider the implementation of impact fees for infrastructure in order to provide infrastructure in a timely manner and to better coordinate with private development.

Ensure adequate funds to maintain enhanced levels of service (including staffing) in places that have been or will be designated as special districts.

Prioritize and concentrate development where facilities, infrastructure, and services have capacity and in areas where the Police and Fire Departments are best able to respond. Guide the location and timing of development through the proactive and strategic installation of infrastructure.

Use one or more of the following methods to ensure infrastructure and facility capacities are adequate for proposed development:

  • Ongoing master planning to determine the necessary water, sewer, and road infrastructure to serve development.
  • An impact fee system that collects funds for specific areas as they develop and installs needed infrastructure in a timely manner.
  • Use of special service districts to ensure appropriate levels of service, sufficient revenue, and timely installation of infrastructure and facilities for each district.
  • Require developers to construct or fully fund infrastructure or other improvements needed to serve their development, with reasonable accommodation for future adjacent or nearby development.
  • Require developers to wait until the City (or the State as the case may be) constructs the infrastructure needed to serve their development.
  • For development proposed in areas not currently within one-half mile of existing water infrastructure, require a service area study to first be completed to determine the best method for providing water to the service area.

For development proposed in areas not currently within a sanitary sewer drainage basin, a drainage basin study should first be completed to determine the best method for sanitary sewer service.

Create and implement small area plans for neighborhoods or districts with special strategic importance or complications related to development or redevelopment.

X