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New businesses headed for Cache Road

LAWTON, Okla._Part of one of Lawton's oldest neighborhoods, Morford Hills, will be getting a new neighbor. 

Tuesday night, the Lawton City Council approved two more lots on Northwest Cache Road, near 34th Street, to be designated for commercial use. In total, five lots in that area have now been rezoned. The original site plans were denied by the City Planning Commission last month, citing concerns from nearby residents, but the City Council was not bound by the commission's decision and approved the plan Tuesday night.

The original site plans for the two lots included a drive-thru for an unnamed business, which they felt would create excess noise and be too intrusive for the neighborhood.

Richard Rogalski, city planner, said another concern was the late night hours the drive-thru could be open.

"Some drive-thru restaurants, they're open all night, so whatever that impact is, it doesn't stop," Rogalski said.

He said the public was provided with the opportunity to express their concerns at the city planning meeting in April, but no one showed up. So, as far as what will be built on those lots, Rogalski said that has yet to be announced.

"They said all commercial uses, so they're not limited. A pharmacy with a drive-thru, just as easily as a restaurant with a drive-thru," he said.

Between the time we spoke to Rogalski Tuesday afternoon and the start of the City Council meeting Tuesday evening, the site plans had been modified to remove the drive-thru, clearing the way for City Council's approval, which Rogalski was able to predict.

"I expect that's probably the case in this case, they're going to want to get that rezoning passed," he said.

Rogalski also predicted the rezoning trend to continue moving closer to Northwest 38th Street.

"By the end of the year we would see maybe two or more rezonings on the rest of these lots," he said.

Site plans are binding, so the property that goes on those lots has to match the plans that were approved Tuesday evening. Still no word on what business or businesses will be filling those lots.

City Council also approved an election date for that revised CIP proposal, which will focus primarily on funding for alternative water resources. The election will be held August 11.

They also spent quite some time behind closed doors in executive session. Among the items was the employment of City Manager Bryan Long. Long is currently on paid administrative leave because of an ongoing OSBI probe. Prior to Tuesday night's session, Councilman Doug Wells said he had placed it on the agenda to learn more about the investigation, but was unable to get a copy of the OSBI report.

City Council took no action on Long's employment when they returned from the session.

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