Do you remember that survey Luther residents were asked to complete last summer? The Eastern Oklahoma County Partnership, a public-private organization that focuses on economic development, shared a $500,000 grant with its member towns, including Luther, to tackle the work of comprehensive planning for the growing areas.
The result of that survey and a year’s work of engineering and planning work have been put into a 56-page Comprehensive Plan For Luther, the report breaks down who we are as residents of the Town and analyzes our town’s space, all 15.2 acres of it.
The Comprehensive Plan will be presented this week during a Special Town Board meeting. The meeting is at 5:30 pm, Thursday, June 7, at Town Hall. As with all Town meetings, the public is encouraged to attend.
The members of Luther’s “New Urbanism Committee” fostered the process during the last year working with Freese & Nichols, a planning, architecture and design firm. The work included analyzing the survey data and surveying the town – from floodplain to elevations, from parks to farms, from housing to retail.
Urbanism Committee Chair Matthew Winton said he is thankful to EOCP for funding the project, ” I am looking forward to EOCP completing this work with us through additional funding for the Town to update its zoning ordinances to match the vision set by the comprehensive plan. The plan is the vision; the ordinances are the implementation.”
The Town Board of Trustees will consider adopting the plan at the Thursday meeting.
A driving principle of this Eastern Oklahoma County Partnership planning process is that growth is coming to eastern Oklahoma County and local communities should plan for it. Communities that do plan for growth allow themselves to be on the offensive, making it more likely that residents will benefit from growth, the report said.
While growth is forecast for Luther, the comprehensive plan preserves the Town’s rural roots and “small town” approach to life. The plan recommends future land use be used for “rural estate” (more than one acre), and rural single-family homes, while the areas of Main Street and Highway 66 be preserved as the focus for retail, services and community gathering.
Luther has a number of well-preserved historic buildings. Many communities with a historic building inventory choose to promote and enhance their historic areas for the purposes of economic development and civic pride.
Other potential growth areas include the existing Turner Turnpike Exit and the coming Eastern Oklahoma County Loop. The new turnpike, though it begins in Luther, as evidenced by the dirt work and road construction happening at 164th and Luther Road, will not have any access to the Town. Instead, the high-speed interchange will connect to Turner and go South to I-40 for 21 miles.
At the present time, the Turnpike is not planned to have entry or exit points in Luther. Although there are no plans in place at this time, it is possible in the future that the Turnpike could extend through Luther, northwest toward Guthrie, the report said.
Luther’s Comprehensive Plan also makes mention of a proposal to create a regional trail network throughout EOC. The proposed trail would connect Luther, Harrah, Choctaw, Nicoma Park, Midwest City and Jones with a 55-mile route for bicycles and running. The Trail system is part of EOCP’s Regional Comprehensive Plan, but each city would be responsible for funding the construction of the trail, the report said.
The Urbanism committee emphasizes the report is a guidance document, subject to revision and review.
The current physical layout of the Town is a product of previous efforts put forth by many diverse individuals and groups. In the future, each new development that takes place – whether it is a subdivision that is platted; a home that is built; or a new school, church, or shopping center that is constructed – represents an addition to Luther’s physical form.
The Thursday meeting is at Town Hall at 5:30 pm and the Luther Register plans to broadcast it on Facebook Live. The Parks Commission will also meet Thursday evening.