Under intense opposition on Monday, the Rogers County Commissioners approved zoning for a new restaurant near Highway 412 in Inola.
The restaurant is to be located at 30505 Admiral Place near Highway 412 in Inola is being developed by Bill McAnally.
The commissioners approved the measure with a bit of hesitation by commissioner Kirt Thacker. Commissioner Dan DeLozier also voted in support of the measure, while commissioner Mike Helm voted against it.
Thacker said despite his opinion about alcohol consumption and understanding for the neighbors’ concerns, he could not find a reason other than “personal” to deny it.
“Business is business,” Thacker said.
The primary objection to the development is a concern that the restaurant will actually serve as a bar and alcohol sales could contribute to public safety issues.
The citizens were fearful of “what if” circumstances, including an increase in drunk drivers or other alcohol related crimes.
Attorney Bill Higgins assured the critics the project involves developing a nice restaurant to generate sales tax and encourage growth as commonly seen in other areas.
Higgins acknowledged the well meaning citizen’s fears while urging to commissioners to see the value in the project. Vicki Cook said she supports growth, but doesn’t believe a restaurant and bar is an asset to the community.
Cook collected several signatures to demonstrate the level of opposition to the restaurant.
Jessie Tibbs also voiced a concern about a bar. The issue for her was the school bus stop that is located near the property.
Other citizens were concerned about traffic in the area and the possibility the business may complicate current issues.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation is working to address the traffic in the area, according to Higgins.
The zoning for the property was changed to commercial, including stipulations to allow for the sell of alcohol at the recommendation of Rogers County Planning Director Larry Curtis.
The crowd was provided with a lengthy period of time during the public hearing to voice all of their concerns.