Oklahoma Planning Commission Ignores United Property Owners Protest V Goodwill Industries

Robert R. Robles Attorney at Law 
411 NW 5th Street	                   Office (405) 232-7980
Oklahoma City, OK 73102	                   FAX (405) 236-2188
		      Rrrobles@sbcglobal.net 
March 7, 2011

City of Oklahoma City
Planning Commission
Mayor of Oklahoma City
Manager of Oklahoma City
City Council

Re: My Protest of Goodwill Industries Application for a Special Use
Permit to Allow Recycling at: 520 N. Hudson

Dear City Council, Planning Commission, Mayor of Oklahoma City, 
and Manager of Oklahoma City:

Please allow me to introduce myself.  I am a property owner at 411 
N.W. 5th Street in the Downtown Business District.  I live and work
at the same address.  I submitted a written protest to the 
proposed application of Cheek Properties and Goodwill Industries  
for a Special Use Permit to allow Recycling Operations to be 
conducted at 520 N. Hudson.

It would be instructive to me and to future investors in the 
Downtown Business District if the Office of the Municipal Counselor
would issue an informal opinion regarding whether the Planning 
Commission has the power to recommend the approval of a special 
permit, for a recycling operation (estimated 1.2 million pounds of 
recycling per year) which is clearly prohibited under the current 
zoning regulations found within the Downtown Design District.  The 
opinion could instruct the applicants that they must apply for a 
zoning variance instead of a special use permit.

Recycling, as a business use, is prohibited from being conducted 
in the downtown business district. A review of the various zoning 
tables show that certain uses in the downtown business district are
allowed by special permit, however, recycling is not allowed by a
special permit.  

According to  Goodwill Industry’s argument made to the Planning 
Commission, the recycling operations would be conducted indoors 
and hidden from the public eye.  Their recycling  operation is 
characterized as downtown drop off and distribution operation where
they will sort the good from the bad recyclable materials.  
Goodwill’s idea is that the recycling operation should be allowed 
by special permit as a warehouse operation, please see warehouse 
distribution restricted to special use permit.  According to 
municipal ordinance: 59-8350.11, any collection sorting, processing  
and redistribution of reusable materials is: recycling.  

Goodwill is the recipient of a grant from the Department of Energy 
administered by the City of Oklahoma City specifically for the 
purpose of recycling 10,000,000 pounds of junk and redirecting it 
to Goodwill’s custody instead of the Oklahoma City landfill.  
There is no reason why a recycling center has to be located in the  
downtown business district.

The staff of the Planning Commission was persuaded by Goodwill that
the recycling operation could be classified as a drop off and 
distribution warehouse operation because the recycling (sorting the
good from the bad materials) will conducted inside a warehouse.  
If you review the recycling ordinance, all recycling must be 
conducted indoors and all recycling must be conducted in an 
industrial zone.  

The City Planning Commission is scheduled to take up the application
for the special use of Goodwill Industries on March 10, 2011. Your
recommendation of denial of the application is requested.

In order to show you that my protest is not mere spiteful conject-
ure or enthusiastic personal opinion please review my legal research.
The City Ordinances support my protest:   City Ordinance  
section 59-8350 describes the various industrial uses contemplated 
by the zoning laws related to industrial operations.  59-8350.11 
describes with particularity operations related to recycling. 
Recycling is prohibited in all city zones and only allowed in the 
industrial zones: I-1, I-2, and I-3 by special permit (please see 
table 6250.1). 

Recycling is not allowed in the technological park (TP)  industrial
zone.  Section 59-6250 controls the various uses to be conducted 
in the industrial sections.  Recycling is not allowed along the  
scenic Oklahoma River, it is not allowed in residential zones, it
is not allowed in any  of the commercial zones. 

Recycling shares common characteristics and overlaying descriptions 
common to salvage operations restricted by City ordinace.  
Recycling may be characterized as Scrap Operations by using the 
definitions found in 59-9350.58.  In order to operate a scrap 
operation, the site must be a minimum of 2 acres.  I am not 
persuaded that the City Planning Commission would approve or 
recommend a special use permit to allow "scrap operations", in the 
downtown business district. 

Section 54-71 defines "Junk as previously used - second hand 
bottles, cans, paper, and machinery purchased as salvage.  When a 
store or business operation conducts business defined as collecting
or trading in Junk, it must be licensed by the City.  Currently 
there is no proposal for the business operation proposed at 
520 N. Hudson to be an operation controlled by the Junk store laws, 
however, trading in recycled materials certainly appear to be 
within the jurisdiction of the "Junk" ordinances of Oklahoma City. 
Recycled material is junk, it is not gently used merchandise.

Goodwill Industries stated at the  Planning Commission meeting that
it was  their plan  to redefine the intersection of N.W. 5th and 
Hudson.  N.W. 5th and Hudson has  the best view of the Bombing 
Memorial. According to the proposed design of their sign, 
restrictions applicable within the area of the Bombing Memorial 
prohibit their sign.  The gigantic sign, with the Goodwill Logo, 
is clearly prohibited.  Please be aware of the intentions of 
Goodwill Industries to have one of their recycling centers and 
giant signs placed at  the intersection of NW 5th and Hudson in 
order to  redefine the view to the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. 

Sincerely,

Robert R. Robles
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