Pastor Glen Shaffer told the Planning Commission, in what might be considered prophetic words, that commercial development is destined for south Claremore.

Shaffer was specifically talking about Section 19, Township 21N, Range 16E, better known as the land between South Haven Road and Highway 66, bordered on the south by Flint Road and the city limits of Verdigris.

J.D. Basler and Brian Green agree.

“There are only two tracts of very developable land in Claremore,” Basler pointed out. “One is along Archer and the other is the Piguet property.” Basler, a real estate broker is representing the Piguet family. Green, who also sits on the Planning Commission, is an interested developer who is working with OLT Claremore on the proposed South Claremore Commercial Center project to be located on that property.

Coincidentally, adjacent to the Piguets’ highly desirable 168-plus acres is the 17.67 acres owned by Pastor Shaffer’s church.

The future commercial development of the Church at Claremore property is on Monday evening’s City Council agenda.

Darrell and Bessie Piguet’s land will be addressed at the Thursday afternoon Planning and Zoning meeting.

Together the church-owned and family-owned properties represent nearly 185 contiguous acres. Currently both are zoned agriculture.

Shaffer told the Planning Commission April 20th when members voted to deny rezoning that commercial development in the area will happen whether the Church of Claremore was the first or not.

“It’s inevitable,” Shaffer said.

The fulfillment of Shaffer’s words, if not seen Monday, could be only weeks away when the Piguet application comes before the Council.

Interested developers, including Commissioner Green, believe plans before the State Transportation Department showing a convergence of three major highways on or near the properties makes them highly desirable for shopping centers, individual retail space, restaurants and hotels.

Both the church and Piguet properties are bisected by plans for the proposed Highway 20 bypass.

The Church at Claremore property is also impacted by future plans for a realignment of State Highway 88 to converge with Highway 20.

The Highway 20-66 interchange and overpass is planned east of the Piguet property

“You have three roads coming together, Highway 66, Highway 88 and Highway 20 with the turnpike only one mile away,” Basler said.

Protestors have voiced concerns that rezoning is only a means of increasing property values prior to right-of-way acquisition by the state. Also an issue for residents in the area is the introduction of commercial development and traffic to what has been heretofore a residential area in a rural setting.

“For those in the area, I have sympathy,” Shaffer said. “I know it’s hard. Change is hard.”

In support of their request, Church at Claremore leaders provided commissioners an overview of their plans to construct retail spaces on the property as a support system for the church and school complex to be built at a later date.

Monday’s appeal to the City Council will be the fourth time church leaders have defended and explained their zoning request in public hearings.

The original request called for rezoning of the entire 60-acre tract owned by the church to C-4 (which could allow for restricted industry and manufacturing). That request was denied by the City Council.

Shaffer said he understands C-4 was too intense and that the lesser C-2 (community shopping center) zoning was more appropriate. So on April 20, church leaders revamped their request as allowed by law and went back before the City-County Planning Commission and requested the less intensive commercial classification, C-2. and also scaled back their rezoning request from 60 to just over 17 acres.

Still planning commissioners failed to support the church’s most recent request. The vote was four “yes” to deny the rezoning change, one “no” (Commissioner Newt Clements) and one abstention by Green.

Green, who has interest in the future development of the Piguet property, commented that the request was just not within the right “time frame.”

Otherwise, commissioners based their lack of approval on a need to protect pre-existing residential development on adjacent lands.

A similar scenario has taken place with the Piguet Family property. Thursday’s Planning Commission appearance will be the third public hearing on their rezoning request.

The Piguets, like the church, requested C-4 zoning late last year. In their case, the Piguets’ request was approved by the Planning Commission but denied by the City Council. The Piguets new application calls for the lesser C-2 zoning with promises to provide buffers to adjacent residential areas.

City Council meets 6:30 p.m. Monday, City Hall Complex, Council Chambers, 104 S. Muskogee.

On the agenda: Church at Claremore rezoning request

Virginia Rhine requests rezoning for 202 N. Oseuma (also a residential to commercial request)

City-County Planning Commission meets 4 p.m. Thursday, City Hall Complex, Council Chambers, 104 S. Muskogee.

On the agenda: Piguet Family rezoning request