With one council member absent and a collective desire to gather more information, Miami City Council members tabled issues regarding a proposed housing development.

Opponents of a development planned for 44 acres just outside of the city's southwest boundary said Monday that they were encouraged by the city's decision to research the project more thoroughly.

Saddle Creek Development is proposing to build a housing project at the site that will put 168 homes at a site just north west of the Miami Municipal Fairgrounds.

City council members were expected to decide two matters regarding the project - preliminary approval and annexation of the property in to the city limits.

Ginny and David Stinson and and Susan Carlson voiced their concerns before the council, citing issues with drainage, floodplain interference and potential liability that could possibly create a burden for the city and, ultimately, tax-paying citizens.

“The leaders of this community need to take the reins and guide this community to safety,” Carlson said as she objected to the proposed preliminary approval of plans. “Approval in its present form should not be granted. It will only result in property loss for the city and future litigation.”

Carlson's concerns focus on the portion of the proposed development that will put construction directly in what is now a stream bed. She also voiced concern of impact to existing wetlands at the site.

City engineer Jerry Ruse reported to the council that a list of requirements has been approved by the the city's planning commission that will force the developers to meet conditions mandated at state, federal and local levels.

“What we are trying to do is give him a process that gives him a comfort level to move forward and spend a lot of money in this design and go through the permitting processes,” Ruse said.

Ruse's listing of conditions that developers must meet include the following:

€ Isolation - One of the accesses, at 15th Place, will become impassible at times as water will exceed the banks of a planned low-water crossing. A planned entrance off of 550 Road, according to Ruse, will also be subject to flooding. The conditions that would flood both, and isolate the subdivision, has occurred 10 times in the past 21 years and will probably will occur in the future, according to the city engineer. When that isolation occurs, there will normally be a three- to four-day notice period for evacuation.

€ Wetlands - An intermittent creek that cuts through the proposed site does flow part of the year, according to Ruse, and there are ponds on the lots. Vegetation and habitats consistent with wetlands do exist. The developer must prepare a wetlands study. He must present all the information needed to avoid or mitigate any encroachment on wetlands. Ruse said he has to have all wetland permit approvals prior to recording the final map.

€ Stormwater permit - The developer must present the city with an erosion control permit and approval granted by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

€ Floodway development/Low water crossing - This is one of the more stringent issues. The developer must submit information that shows he is not going to raise the level of the floodplain by the construction of a planned low water bridge. “Those calculations must be submitted to us, showing that it will work,” Ruse said. “And, the developer must obtain approval from city and submit to federal and state agencies as necessary. That is going to be one of the more complex issues, how to build a low-water crossing there with a large enough space under the bridge area so that the flow in the creek bed is not raised.

€ Floodplain development - The developer must submit documentation to the city that the addition of fill material does not raise the 100-year base flood elevation more than one foot. “That is according to state, federal and city codes,” Ruse said. The process will require the developer to present a revised flooplain map.

€ Traffic issues - There is some concern that a hill on north side of 15th Place causes a restriction in visibility. We are requiring a traffic study.

€ Greenbelt - The developer must dedicate, per city guidelines, 5 percent of the area to be used as a greenbelt. “This is an opportunity to dedicate the creek bottom that is left as a greenbelt, insuring that it will not be developed in the future,” Ruse said.

€ Submit drainage maps - Ruse said preliminary maps have already been presented.

€ Easements - The developers will be required to provide any additional drainage and utility easements.

Ruse reiterated to the council that, even upon the council's approval of preliminary plans, until all the mentioned conditions are met, the plans will not be filed, therefor, will not be a legal document.

Those opposing the development expressed their appreciation of the steps being taken and again asked the council to reconsider the project and the impact it may have, long term.

“II don't see anything in these conditions other than money and time that can't be accomplished and still meet state, federal and city codes,” Ruse said. “It seems like an adequate plan.”

The council will pick the matter back up at the next council meeting slated for Oct. 15 in the city hall council chambers.