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In 2019, the Board of the Renaissance Neighborhood Association worked with City Councilor Kara Joy McKee to request the initiation of a zoning overlay for the neighborhood to preserve the existing built character of the neighborhood. In conversations that have followed, Renaissance neighbors expressed concern about existing homes being razed and replaced with overly large, wide, suburban-style homes with prominent driveways and garages, as has already happened in several other neighborhoods.

The proposed Neighborhood Character Overlay will help preserve the built form of the neighborhood through:

  • Limiting the height of new detached houses and duplexes to 30 feet, down from the citywide limit of 35 feet. Early discussions had lower limits, but many of the existing homes in the area would not have even met those height limits.
  • Limiting the width of new buildings to 40 feet. This will discourage the practice of combining multiple lots to build new homes that do not fit the existing development and are out of scale with the rest of the neighborhood.
  • Limiting driveway widths to 18 feet within the street right-of-way and within the street setback. The maximum width is applied to cumulatively to all driveway entrances and exits. For example, each portion of a circle drive that meets the street may only be 9 feet wide, for a total of 18 feet.
  • Requiring garage doors to be set back further from the street. Street-facing garage doors must be set back at least 36 feet from the right-of-way, and may not be located closer to the street than the front façade of the main residential building. On corner lots, the side street setback along a non-arterial street may be reduced to 20 feet.
  • Regulating the size of Accessory Buildings.
    • Accessory buildings are limited to 25 feet in height and a maximum of two stories.
    • Accessory Dwelling Units (aka granny flats, backyard cottages, garage apartments) are allowed by right, as was common when Renaissance was first established.
    • The total floor area of all accessory buildings may not exceed 750 square feet or 40% of the floor area of the main residential structure, whichever is greater.
    • The maximum allowable coverage of the rear setback by accessory buildings is 50%.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is an overlay?

In general, an overlay is a type of special zoning district. Overlay zoning is intended to be used when the base zoning district applied to an area remains generally appropriate, but when an additional, modified or eliminated requirement could help implement the city’s planning goals or address an area-specific planning, design or land use regulation issue. For more information, see Chapter 20 of the Tulsa Zoning Code.

Why does the Renaissance Neighborhood Association want this overlay?

Renaissance neighbors have expressed concerns about other neighborhoods in town where houses were purchased, demolished, and replaced with new houses that towered over the existing houses and were often built right up to the lot line. They are interested in preserving the character of their neighborhood as much as possible.

How will this zoning overlay affect me as a homeowner?
This zoning overlay only applies to new construction or any change that requires a building permit. You will be subject to the new regulations if you:
• Build a new house or duplex
• Build or add onto a garage or garage apartment
• Make changes to your house that require a building permit
• Add a driveway or add to your driveway
When will the overlay be voted on?

There are multiple steps to enact the overlay, including action by the Planning Commission and City Council, and input by the public will be solicited and considered at each step.

The Planning Commission will consider this item, known as ZCA-18, at its meeting on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at 1 p.m.

Upon its review, the Planning Commission will prepare its recommendation and submit it to the City Council and Mayor for their consideration and possible approval. The City Council’s review of the Planning Commission’s recommendation will be at a meeting time and place to be determined by the Council.

Anyone interested in this matter may appear at any of the public hearings and speak in support of or in opposition to the proposed Zoning Code amendment.

Interested persons may also indicate their support of or opposition to the proposed amendments in writing, delivered at the public hearing or addressed to Nathan Foster c/o Tulsa Planning Office at INCOG, 2 West 2nd Street, Suite 800, Tulsa OK 74103, or to esubmit@incog.org. Please reference ZCA-18 in your comments.

Which neighborhoods are included in the overlay boundary?

The overlay will generally apply to properties on residential streets between 11th, 15th, Lewis, and Harvard, which are the boundaries of the Renaissance Neighborhood Association. View this map for more detail.

Map showing the boundaries of the Neighborhood Character Overlay, which includes primarily residential streets between 11th, 15th, Lewis, and Harvard. 

Will new housing be required to match existing housing styles?

Unlike Historic Preservation districts, the proposed overlay will not regulate specific building styles or features such as windows, roof pitch, color, or materials.

Instead, this zoning overlay regulates elements such as maximum heights and widths, and setbacks from the street. Any construction requiring a building permit must comply with the overlay and the Zoning Code.

I want to build a garage apartment or cottage in my backyard. Will this overlay prohibit that?

Under current regulations, you are required to obtain a special exception from the City of Tulsa Board of Adjustment to construct a garage apartment or “accessory dwelling unit” on your lot. The proposed overlay would allow the construction of these units without the need for a special exception or public hearing process.

How can I voice my support, opposition, or questions?

The Planning Commission will consider this item, known as ZCA-18, at its meeting on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at 1 p.m.

Upon its review, the Planning Commission will prepare its recommendation and submit it to the City Council and Mayor for their consideration and possible approval. The City Council’s review of the Planning Commission’s recommendation will be at a meeting time and place to be determined by the Council.

Anyone interested in this matter may appear at any of the public hearings and speak in support of or in opposition to the proposed Zoning Code amendment.

Interested persons may also indicate their support of or opposition to the proposed amendments in writing, delivered at the public hearing or addressed to Nathan Foster c/o Tulsa Planning Office at INCOG, 2 West 2nd Street, Suite 800, Tulsa OK 74103, or to esubmit@incog.org. Please reference ZCA-18 in your comments.

If you have any questions, please contact Nathan Foster, Senior Planner
nfoster@incog.org
918-579-9481

What if I don’t want my house included in this overlay?

Anyone wishing to file objection to the change can email the Tulsa Planning Office at esubmit@incog.org. Please reference ZCA-18 with any correspondence you send.

The Tulsa Planning Office will provide the Planning Commission and City Council with a map of properties proposed for inclusion of the overlay, and will note any property owners who have objected to being included.