On July 18, after nine months of waiting, the Altus City Council denied an annexation ordination filed by Shurway, Inc. in September 2016.
The annexation ordinance would have added a 40.7-acre tract housing development to the intersection of North Park Lane and Heritage Road. Had the ordinance been passed by Altus City Council, the land would have been temporarily classified as an agricultural district zone under the Unified Development Code.
Local business owners involved in the construction and sale of homes in Altus attended the meeting on July 18 with Shurway, Inc. owner Scott Finley.
“If it’s a matter of buying utilities from the city or whatever the problem has been, I would like to know as a realtor,” Greg Buck said. “Shurway provides a product that sells very well and I’d like to have the opportunity to work with them in the future.”
The annexation was first tabled on October 18, 2016, by a unanimous vote from the Altus City Council. It was tabled by unanimous vote again after a public hearing was held on November 15, 2016. According to the recorded minutes, the public discussion lasted 17 minutes.
The annexation was first denied at the December 6, 2016, Altus City Council meeting and tabled again on June 6 and June 20.
Council member Kevin McAuliffe stated his concern about the impact of a new housing addition in the City of Altus before Mayor Jack Smiley opened up the discussion to the audience.
“I’ve worked in home-building for many years. It’s kind of a triple effect that building has in our community,” Bill Kennedy said. “I employ four people, and they’re all Altus residents. The money that we earn stays here in Altus and moves through the community, and that benefit outweighs any short-term perceived cost and I’d love to keep your constituents working.”
While some were concerned for the future of construction in Altus, others took the matter of encroachment to the council.
“I’m wearing a Military Affairs Committee hat today,” Joe Leverett said. “There was a joint land use study that included which crops to grow and home density of one dwelling per acre, which the county had to adopt, and they have done a good job policing that for us. While the addition wouldn’t affect our current mission, if we lay an F-35 noise contour it would. Why would we want to limit [Altus Air Force Base’s] growth?”
Finley acknowledged the importance of guidelines to protect against encroachment and stated modifications would be made to keep from impacting future missions at Altus Air Force Base.
After a brief discussion, Council member Jon Kidwell called for the denial of the annexation.
“Perhaps nine months is a little long to drag something out,” Kidwell said. “In the very beginning I had reservations and they have not been evaded.”
The motion was approved by the council. The annexation was denied again at the July 18 meeting.
“I don’t have any comfortable feeling about having a substantial footprint added to our city,” Jason Winters said. “There are opportunities in our city for construction on streets, sewer lines, water supply lines, and electrical infrastructure that we already have in existence. There’s already discussion about looking at ways to consider older neighborhoods to find ways to make those a possibility for infill.”
According to the City of Altus Utilities Department, the repayment for electrical infrastructure on a new housing addition of that size would take around 30 years.
“There are 195 homes on the market right now, and if the city would like to come up with an area they’d like to remodel we’d be willing to look at it with you,” Finley said.
Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.