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Long-term care residential home plan withdrawn

A proposal to convert a house in northeast Lawton to a long-term care residential home was withdrawn by the applicants Thursday before the City Planning Commission even had a chance to discuss the rezoning that was necessary to allow the new use.

The decision by the applicants was welcome news for 75 residents who live in the Heritage Estates Addition and who signed a petition opposing the rezoning. In addition to residential opposition, city planners had opposed the request because the existing house  which would have been converted to use as a care facility  and its 2-acre tract are located in the flood fringe and floodway, and because approving the rezoning would be "spot zoning."

Commissioners had been ready to consider a request to rezone what is now a house on an R-1 Single Family Dwelling District lot to R-3 Multiple Family Dwelling District, which would allow the structure to be used as a long-term care residential home with up to six beds. Community Services Director Richard Rogalski said applicants withdrew their request just before Thursday's CPC meeting, meaning there was no action to take.

But, residents representing the 75 home owners who signed petitions of opposition wanted reassurance the issue would not go to the City Council for consideration, said Bill Reeves, a home owner. CPC Chairman David Denham said that because the rezoning request was withdrawn, there is no action for the council to take. Rezoning requests start with the planning commission, but that body is only an advisory board for such requests, which have to be acted on by the council.

But, because no council action will be taken, that also means applicants can return with a new request without waiting the six months mandated in city code for actions that the council has rejected. Attorney John Mackey, who acts as an advisor to the planning commission, said residential opposition this time could be referenced if the applicants resubmit their application later.

The Lawton Constitution

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