Leavitt's North Park
Attorney J. Kelly Work addresses the Edmond City Council on behalf of Leavitt's North Park neighborhood residents opposed to a rezoning request from Wayne Frost (seated) Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (Joe Tomlinson)

After hearing grievances from Leavitt’s North Park residents claiming commercial intrusion, the Edmond City Council voted 4-1 to approve a business owner’s rezoning request that will allow construction of commercial storage buildings to house boats and recreational vehicles at 4618 Rhode Island Ave. The request was one of several items acted upon by the council Monday night.

Wayne Frost, the owner of Frost Auto Accessories and Design located at 4646 Rhode Island Ave., had faced opposition for a similar rezoning request last year, which also requested to rezone the same lot from a single-family dwelling to a planned unit development.

Ward 3 City Councilwoman Christin Mugg, whose ward includes the Leavitt’s North Park neighborhood, cast the lone dissenting vote against Frost’s proposal Monday.

“Ultimately, you’re taking a single-family lot and turning it into commercial. What’s to say that you’re not setting precedent from going further and further into the neighborhood?” Mugg said. “It is a person who runs a great business. It’s not to say that it’s not going to be attractive.”

Frost made changes to his requested PUD from a year ago to address some of the neighbors’ concerns on the request. The storage facility will be built on the south side of the lot to accommodate the proper set back requirement from the residential property to the north. Frost has also committed to paving the lot with concrete and keeping all vehicles on the property covered. However, he was still met with stiff opposition.

“Of the 32 residential properties that front on Rhode Island Avenue, 26 have joined in signing written protest to this requested rezoning,” said J. Kelly Work, an attorney representing Frost’s neighbors. “Even with the revisions that have been made at the Planning Commission meeting, it is still not appropriate and should not be approved.”

A plat restriction within the neighborhood provides that β€œall lots shall be known and described as residential property and no structure shall be erected, altered, placed or permitted to remain on any lot, other than one detached single-family dwelling and structures customarily appurtenant thereto.”

Two Leavitt’s North Park residents spoke in support of Frost’s rezoning request, while one spoke against. One resident, Becky Raines, said Frost has already shown the neighborhood that he will take care of his property.

“Mr. Frost I think has already proven himself that he can build something decent in the neighborhood,” Raines said. “Before he bought the property, it was pretty shabby, and he has turned that around.”

Frost will now submit a site plan to the city for review.

Revised CJAC agreement approved without Midwest City

The Edmond City Council unanimously voted to approve an interlocal agreement and revised professional services agreement with the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council during Monday night’s meeting.

The approved agreement is identical to the interlocal agreement that the Edmond City Council previously approved Sept. 26, apart from Midwest City’s withdrawal. The City Council of Midwest City voted 5-2 to reject a proposal to renew its agreement with CJAC on Sept. 27 after a nearly six-hour meeting where councilmembers and the public discussed their grievances with CJAC’s effectiveness. Midwest City’s withdrawal spurred the need for a revised proposal to be approved in Edmond and Oklahoma City, the only two remaining municipalities with an agreement to fund CJAC, an organization created by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce to make recommendations about the county jail.

“Sept. 26, the council approved these agreements. Since that time, Midwest City has decided not to participate, so that leaves us with the city of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County,” said Steve Murdock, Edmond city attorney. “It doesn’t increase our participation rate of $17,400 (per year) as previously approved.”

Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County had already approved the revised agreement prior to Edmond’s approval last night. The agreement still includes a 10-year renewal and an amendment which allows any of the three currently cooperating entities to withdraw from the agency upon a 60-day notice. The amendment also allows for other municipalities to join CJAC, with the approval of each currently participating entity.

“We are grateful for our partnership with the city of Edmond. They have been wonderful community partners from the beginning of this process more than five years ago,” said CJAC executive director Tim Tardibono. “We look forward to continued efforts to make our county justice system more fair and effective. This collaborative partnership between Oklahoma County, Oklahoma City and Edmond is a true model of how governments can find common ground to solve pressing problems.”

Council implements family violence waiver

Assistant City Attorney Madeline Sawyer delivered a presentation on the city’s implementation of a family violence waiver form, which victims of domestic violence can submit to the Edmond’s utility customer service department in lieu of the deposit that is typically required to start, restore or transfer utility service.

“The intention of this policy is to mitigate at least one of the barriers β€” in this case the financial barrier β€” associated with leaving an abusive situation,” Sawyer said. “Survivors often don’t have access to leave a situation like that. Even if they do have that access, it’s not something that can be done safely.”

City staff collaborated with the Young Women’s Christian Association and Palomar to develop the waiver. According to the waiver, a person seeking to have their deposit waived may do so in one of the following ways:

1. By providing the form along with a protective order of an incident of such violence within 30 days of the date of the order;

2. By providing the completed form signed by a representative of the Palomar Family Justice Center or the YWCA OKC within 30 days of signature;

3. By providing the form signed by a representative of the Edmond Police Department within 30 days of signature.

The Edmond City Council also voted to approve a five-year agreement with Oklahoma County to allow Edmond police officers to be cross-deputized as Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputies.

The agreement allows for Edmond police officers to conduct investigations or other activities outside of Edmond, relating to crimes that occurred within city limits.

“It doesn’t cross-deputize the department. It just allows for individual officers to be cross-deputized that the sheriff sees fit,” J.D. Younger, chief of the Edmond Police Department said. “My understanding is our current plan is to deputize I think five.”

Younger said those cross-deputized officers will primarily deal with property crimes and other crimes that cross jurisdictional boundaries.

“The intent is to provide more judicial certainty in the application for warrants and those types of things,” Younger said.

(Update: This article was updated at 11:16 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 29, to include comment from J.D. Younger, chief of the Edmond Police Department.)