De-annexation: A 'Slippery Slope' for Park Plan

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August 2, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

Aerial view shows Morris Motorsports (at top) which proposes to build a small RV park behind its retail store in Chickasha, Okla. Google Map

The Chickasha City Council will decide on Aug. 5 the future of a potential temporary RV park behind Morris Motorsports in this central Oklahoma city

Owner Mark Morris and General Manager Steve Danieley have asked the council to de-annex the land behind their business, so the pair can build the park in an area governed by Grady County, the Chickasaw Express Star reported.

"It would cost us an excess of $385,000 more than what we budgeted for if we had to build within the city limits," Danieley said. "The project was based on the council's interpretation that the land we wanted to build on belonged to Grady County and not the city."

Located at 4400 S. 4th St., Morris Motorsports sits on the southern border of Chickasha, and the original interpretation came from a 1996 map that showed a 300-foot strip as the dividing line between the city and the county.

That interpretation was wrong, according to Danieley, and if the council votes against de-annexation, the project will stop and Morris Motorsports will lose $100,000 already spent on construction.

"I explained to the city that I understand it's unfair to give us variances for paved roads and other things when they haven't done it for other businesses, but this is the only way we can complete this project," said Danieley.

The RV park is intended to increase rental housing in Grady County in an effort to deal with the population surge accompanied with excavating the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province.

Outlook Dim

Mayor Hank Ross said the issue is a tough one to navigate and he doesn't think the council will vote in Danieley's favor.

"My guess is it will be voted down and the council will not be moving forward on this project," he said. "It's a slippery slope."

The extra cost that comes with building in the city is from ordinances detailing issues such as proper water, sewer and road construction, said Ross.

"Other RV parks in the city have paid these costs," Ross said.

Danieley said should the vote go his way, he hopes to hold the park for three to four years before applying to be annexed back into the city of Chickasha.

"Our plans at that point are to turn it into a subdivision with single family homes or duplexes," he said.

Given this plan, Ross said he's confused why Danieley does not want to build within city limits.

"If we wants to eventually build permanent housing, then why not do it right the first time," Ross said. "The thing is, if we do this for them, then we open Pandora's Box for anyone who wants to build an RV park right outside the city limits."

Even if Danieley's construction plans come to fruition, he said getting water and sewage lines to the homes would still be a problem.

"We are in County Rural Water District 7, so the city will never provide water regardless of who owns the land."

Ross said he was unsure whether Danieley's information was correct, but typically it is the developer's responsibility to bring water to their properties.

Although variances allowing for cost cuts are possible, Danieley said unless the area is de-annexed, the project will be scrapped.

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