City Manager Jim Thomas is evaluating development inside the city limits starting with a recent presentation regarding duplex construction.
Thomas spoke to the city council earlier this week to explain how the duplex development has served as a type of “urban renewal” for Claremore.
“It will probably take a little more conversation, but I want to get it out there,” Thomas said. “It deals with planning and the comprehensive plan.”
The discussion comes on the heels of recent questions raised by Councilor Brandon Smith.
Thomas is preparing for a special council retreat so these issues can be addressed.
From 2007 to 2012 the city has had more single-family homes built than duplex developments, however in the past two years the trend is changing, according to Thomas.
“I don’t think the development we have seen in Claremore is unreasonable,” Thomas said.
There is a difference between a planned development and an infill development, the duplex has served as infill, according to Thomas.
“In my opinion it has provided some beautification to the community,” Thomas said.
Communications Director Cassie Woods assisted with the presentation. Wood’s highlighted a number of addresses that were previously “run down” or abandoned properties, but have been renovated by the development of duplex properties.
“I believe a picture is worth a thousand words and the quality of the construction speaks for itself,” Thomas added.
At one point Councilor Bill Flanagan presented a report to show the other side of the development concern.
Flanagan read off a number of communities in the area that have seen significantly more growth than Claremore.
For example, in 2012 Claremore had six new single family homes built, compared to 46 in Collinsville, 143 in Owasso, 27 in Verdigris and 80 homes in rural Rogers County. Additional comparison to cities in the greater Tulsa area, reveals that the Claremore is still trending behind in single-family development.
Broken Arrow had 223 new home starts in 2012 followed by 114 in Bixby and 41 in Glenpool. The discussion continued as the council made plans to bring the topic forward in a future work session.
“I think that duplexes are a positive aspect of our community,” Thomas said. “I want to make sure we continue to encourage that as well as find a balance for single family homes.
Thomas made a commitment to work to find a city planner for Claremore and to make the comprehensive plan a priority.