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Posted on: August 25, 2022

SPOTLIGHT: East Edmond 2050 helping shape the plans for Edmond of the future

East Edmond 2050 CollageA wise man once said, “Having a plan is great, but that’s not the finish line – it’s what gets you to the starting line.”

Nearly two years ago, Ken Bryan found himself at the starting line … and the route to the finish line changed.

“We knew that was going to happen,” said Bryan, the senior long-range planner for the City of Edmond.

It was August of 2020, and the City – amid its ongoing efforts to identify and prepare for the continued growth throughout Edmond – looked at a long-developing trend. Growth was coming across Edmond, but one of the fastest growing parts was the area around and east of I-35.

And that meant the City – with a comprehensive land use plan, Edmond Plan 2018, already in place – needed to take a strategic, in-depth look at what that concentration of growth in the eastern part of Edmond would mean for the future.

“We had to take the time to put the analysis and numbers behind the rationale and why that was the case,” Bryan said. “As we got into it, we asked ourselves, ‘What if all the growth by 2050 takes place in this area? What are the impacts of continuing to grow the same way we have in the recent past? What if we grow in a different way?’”

The Planning team put together a study, utilizing several workshops and nearly 2,900 survey responses, to identify the associated costs, benefits, and impacts of future development in that fast-growing part of the city, and provide community leaders with data to make informed decisions as growth in Edmond continues.

And when they looked at the finished product, they realized it addressed more than just east Edmond – it could be a road map to success throughout the city.

“We looked at the rest of the city, the areas that were underutilized and in need of a refresh,” Bryan said. “If we do that in a different way – in a forward-thinking manner – there is a chance to promote more mindful development patterns. Not just in the eastern part of Edmond, but also throughout the city – to best take advantage of the use of open space and resources.”

The result was the East Edmond 2050 plan, which was officially adopted by City Council in March 2022. The plan sets the city’s strategy for future development to accommodate the 40,000 new residents projected to call Edmond home between now and 2050 – and that includes 16,200 new homes and 8 million square feet of new commercial area.

Five major themes emerged during the development of the plan:

  • Preservation/protection of forested area.
  • Preservation/protection of rural area.
  • Ample opportunity for open recreation and space.
  • Preference for mixed use vs. single-use development.
  • Preference for strong fiscal performance and responsible use of public resources.

“An important point was that we recognized the value of green space, which is more than just trees, but also thinking about the terrain, the fauna and natural assets of the area, and things like drainage and run-off,” said Elizabeth Waner, a former City Council member who has a long history of work on planning and zoning concerns around the city, and who worked with the team putting East Edmond 2050 together.

While the plan does focus on the growing east side of Edmond – prioritizing coordinated growth along I-35, including promotion of walkable, mixed-use projects and maintaining open spaces and the natural character of the area – it also addresses further development on the west side of the city, including further development of the south Broadway corridor and downtown.

“The City recognized the growth in east Edmond and, as important, recognized that it was different than west Edmond,” Waner said. “Parts of what we saw while looking closely at east Edmond obviously could be beneficial to all of Edmond, and we can use those points when we begin to revisit the master plan for Edmond from 2018.”

Input on the plan also helped create a “preferred scenario” with overarching initiatives:

  • Preserve and restore the Cross Timbers forest.
  • Update the city’s development codes, including update zoning, subdivision, and draining ordinances
  • Modernizing the city’s approach and role in the development process.
  • Create a fiscally resilient balance between costs, charges, benefits, and value.
  • Establish a maintenance and monitoring process for the plan.

“Is it a perfect plan? No. No plans ever are because things change so rapidly,” Waner said. “But we are talking about a lot of things that are important now and will be important in the future. It’s a place to begin the discussion.”

And a starting line with a vital finish now in sight.

Learn more about the East Edmond 2050 Plan at edmondok.gov/EastEdmond2050.

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