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Archive for: December 2012

Public hearing set for Jan.5 to discuss need for county planning commission

Roger Pugh
Publisher

Canadian County Commissioners will hear comments from the public about the merits of establishing a County Planning Commission during a public hearing at 9 a.m., Saturday Jan 5 in the south side meeting room at the Canadian Valley Technical Center in El Reno.

The commissioners are considering calling a special election to establish a planning commission to help “direct orderly, coordinated physical development throughout unincorporated portions of Canadian County.” State law requires voter approval to establishment of such a commission.

If established, a county planning commission could create zoning and other development requirements for those unincorporated areas.

The proposal comes in the midst of an effort by Virginia-based Apex Wind Energy to build a series of large commercial wind farms in the county. Some opponents of the wind farms believe the commission is needed to regulate the placement and operation of those wind farms.

However, the Canadian County Commissioners will not entertain comments on the wind farms, they are there to discuss the merit of establishing a county planning commission, according to Canadian County Clerk Shelley Dickerson

Local group organized to oppose wind farm production in Piedmont

Roger Pugh
publisher@piedmontnewsonline.com

A group has organized and is getting its own wind under its sails to oppose construction of large commercial wind farms near developed areas in the area.

Although large wind turbines for wind farm projects inside Piedmont city limits have been disallowed by the city, major wind projects are underway or being proposed just outside Piedmont and Okarche city limits and near other nearby communities.

Among those opposing these projects is a new group called Oklahomans For Responsible Wind Energy (OFRWE).

Simply put, the group says it does not oppose wind energy, but does not want to see large commercial wind projects going up in the county near developed areas or areas ripe for development.

“The growth sector in Canadian County is on the east side of the county and these big projects will hurt that growth,” said OFRWE spokesperson Pam Suttles of Piedmont.

“We would like to see no wind farm east of Highway 81,” Suttles explained.

Apex Energy has already constructed a Canadian County wind farm which spans from just north of Calumet and continues north for several miles to just past Waterloo Road.

Around 135 wind turbines comprise that project.

Apex is now working to get its next project started in Kingfisher County, just northwest of the Piedmont city limits.

It will span east and northeast to near the northeast edge of Okarche.
Some 120 wind turbines are planned for this project on 15,000 acres.
Initially, 16 turbines for this project were planned on property inside the Piedmont city limits.

However, city officials later nixed the turbines inside the city, but Piedmont, like other affected cities and towns, has no control on turbines located outside the respective boundaries of those communities. Read more →

Residents let commissioners know wind farms aren’t welcome in this county

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Canadian County commissioners mostly heard from citizens Monday morning about wind farms, and when the time finally came one hour and 15 minutes after the meeting started, they made a motion to proceed with a public election to determine whether the county needs a planning and zoning commission.

The commissioners also entertained a motion to proceed with holding a public hearing, but until they hear back from the county’s district attorney, they won’t have the exact time and date set for that. However, the commissioners mentioned holding a public hearing Saturday, Jan. 5 at Redlands Community College in El Reno, and as one of the audience members pointed out, they wanted to keep business in the county seat, El Reno.

The Commissioners’ meeting on paper was to determine the necessity for a planning commission but when the commissioners walked into a standing room only meeting room, they soon realized there were a lot of citizens that ended up talking about the need for windmills in the county. A couple residents were for windmills while the other 20 or so were completely against them.

Some Piedmont residents showed up including Mayor Valerie Thomerson, Eric Berger, Pam Suttles and John Guthrie. Suttles gave a passionate speech speaking out against the wind farms coming anywhere near Piedmont, as did Thomerson and both got overpowering ovations when they were done speaking.

Council approves Comp Plan, Wade Harden explains impact

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

The Piedmont City Council officially adopted the 2030 Piedmont Comprehensive Plan after several months of reviewing and passing it back and forth from the planning commission and the council.

Since the 2030 Comprehensive Plan was first drafted several months ago, Piedmont has hired Wade Harden as Community Development director to revise it and comprise a final draft.

Harden said the first thing Piedmont will look at with regard to the comprehensive plan will be zoning. He added that the initial step the city will do before they began a comprehensive study on zoning will be to conduct a visual preference survey starting online in January.

“The actual survey will take a few months, so when we get enough information that we feel comfortable moving forward as we need to,” he said. “We need to get as much information as we can from citizens and stakeholders. Once we get the information that we’re comfortable with, we will move forward with the zoning.”

After the city conducts the visual preference survey they will look into different gateways into Piedmont, and by gateways into Piedmont, that will entail different routes or the best route or corridor into the city.

“One of the major gateways would be Piedmont Road coming in from the Expressway,” Harden said. “There’s somewhat of a gateway there. We have the sign, the trees and the landscaping.”

He said after the gateways are determined, the city will determine a way finding system, which is essentially signage to different places of interest like parks or Old Town Piedmont that is geared toward people who are coming to town.

He said overall getting this comprehensive plan adopted is going to be the first process in a big step forward for Piedmont.

“This is a big step for the community, getting this adopted and setting a framework for things moving forward like the zoning ordinance and the subdivision ordinance,” he said. “This is a big step but there are other big steps the city will take in order to implement this.”

The city has not yet set a date for when the visual preference survey will be available online or in paper form, but will soon, Harden added.

Owners of 13 land tracts ask to de-annex from city

Roger Pugh
Publisher

A group of property owners have asked the City of Piedmont to de-annex 13 tracts of land in parts of the northwest Piedmont city limits.

A petition was filed with the City of Piedmont at the end of November requesting the tracts to be de-annexed. Attorney Mark Henricksen represents the group.

All but three tracts of the land involved in the de-annexation request are located in parts of sections bounded on the South by N.W. 206th and N.W. 248th on the North. Richland Road is the eastern boundary, while Gregory Road bounds the western edge. Three tracts in the request to opt out of Piedmont city limits are located within Piedmont boundaries just inside Kingfisher County.

The petition indicates the petitioners represent the owners of more than three-fourths of the assessed value of the property for which de-annexation is requested, and also make up three-fourths of the registered voters who reside on those tracts. The petitioners also indicate all of the property is inside the city limits and none of the property has ever been platted in blocks and lots.

Piedmont City Manager Jim Crosby said the city council will take up the request at the next regular city council meeting if the petitioners have properly advertised the petition in advance of that meeting. A legal notice about the de-annexation appears this week and next week in the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette.

If the council does not approve the request, the petitioners may take the matter to district court.

All of the property is located in an area where Apex Energy is attempting to lease land to construct a commercial wind farm. Piedmont recently decided not to allow large commercial wind turbines inside city limits.

Crosby said he and the city staff will recommend to the council that the de-annexation petition be denied.
“We are trying to do something to keep the wind farms at least two miles from the city,” Crosby said.

He said if the landowners are successful in de-annexing, it could hurt future development and have an impact on the local environment if commercial wind turbines should go up on any of the de-annexed land.

Various owners of the tracts are Wade and Irene Moffat, Moffat Land, L.L.C., Joe A. and Sue N. Husmann, Co-Trustees of the Husmann Family Trust, Paul A. and Georgene I. Piatt, Trustees of the Paul A. and Georgene I. Piatt Living Trust, Allen and Patsy Moffat, Moffat Farms Limited Partnership, Andrew W. Moffat, David and Darlene Meiwes, and a number of members of the Wittrock family and various trusts established for members of the Wittrock family.

Wildcats trounce Jets

By Greg Evans

Piedmont got in a quick 9-0 hole on Thursday night against Western Heights but the Wildcats then reeled off nine straight wins to notch a 45-24 victory over the Jets.

“Winning like that kind of takes the pressure off,” Coach Erik Ford said. “You can just go wrestle. You don’t have to worry about the team score. We knew they had some tough wrestlers at the upper weights, so it was good to have it taken care of before we got there.”

Steven Sharp, 106 pounds, lost the opening match of the dual by fall and Michael Lopez, 113 lbs., lost 10-6.

Coulton Parker started Piedmont’s rally by winning with a technical fall, 17-2, at 120 lbs. Alex Cardenas, 126 lbs.; Reece Henry, 132 lbs. and Francisco Lopez reeled off three straight falls for the Wildcats. The 9-0 hole had been turned into a 23-9 Piedmont advantage.

Shelby Miller won the 145 lbs. match with a 12-4 major decision. Chase Biggs, 152 lbs., won 9-2 to extend the lead to 30-9.

Dryden Abla, 160 lbs, and Brody Largent, 170 lbs., put the dual out of reach for the Wildcats with back-to-back falls. Piedmont lead 42-9.

Jesse Lopez won the 182 lbs. match 4-3 to extend Piedmont’s lead to 45-9.

Juan Guerrero, 195 lbs., lost by fall. Kaleb Richter lost the 220 lbs. match 10-3. Matt Wyatt lost the heavyweight match by fall.

“I think it’s good to end this part of the season like this,” Ford said of the team winning its last two duals before the winter break. “To get in the Suburban Conference dual finals, we’re going to have to beat El Reno and Guthrie. We’re still learning. Our first dual when we get back from break, against Cushing on Jan. 15, is going to be a big test. They are the No. 2 dual team in the state. We are rolling along pretty well at our lower and mid weights. Those guys are definitely starting to gel.”

Lady Wildcats lose heartbreaker to Carl Albert

By Greg Evans

This year’s Lady Wildcat team is nothing if not entertaining. It seems like every game comes down to the last few possessions and Tuesday night’s 50-47 loss to Carl Albert was no different.

Things started off well for Piedmont as the Lady Wildcats took a quick 5-0 lead over the Lady Titans. Piedmont was able to keep that lead throughout the opening quarter thanks to a strong defensive effort.

The second quarter was much of the same for Piedmont. Rebounding and strong defense lead to Lady Wildcat points. Piedmont’s lead would stretch to as many as 12 before Carl Albert was able to start putting things together. The Lady Wildcats took a 29-20 lead into the half.

Piedmont’s lead slowly started to evaporate in the third quarter. The Lady Titans slowed down the pace and, on defense, kept Piedmont from getting the ball in the paint. Piedmont’s nine point had evaporated into a 38-36 Lady Titan advantage.

The teams traded baskets for most of the fourth quarter. Turnovers plagued Piedmont late in the quarter but a Breanu Reid layup with 22 seconds cut Carl Alberts lead to one. The Lady Wildcats fouled on the inbounds but Carl Albert hit both free throws to go back up three. An errant three point attempt later and the Lady Titans were celebrating the narrow victory.

“That was the most unselfish we have played offensively all year,” Coach Amanda Tims said. “We have to learn to play to win and not not to lose. We have to finish. Whether that’s a shot, a rebound, a last minute free throw; we just have to finish. I’m hoping games like this pay off big time. We are getting a lot of experience by being in these situations. These experiences are priceless. Of course, we wish we could win games against easier teams earlier in the season to build confidence but playing in these types of games will help us learn vital lessons.”

“We can’t get satisfied with where we are,” Sarah Parker said. “We have to go hard all 32 minutes and come out in the second half playing like it’s still 0-0. We have to be able to keep that lead, not let them come back to where we have to fight back.
“All these close games will help us. It’s never ok to lose, but losing early on is better so that we can learn from them. We see that competition and get the confidence that we can play with them.”

Piedmont falls to top team in 5A

By Greg Evans

The Wildcats stared down the No. 1 team in Class 5A on Tuesday night and hung around with the top ranked Titans for a half. Piedmont couldn’t stick with Carl Albert in the second half and were handed a 62-49 defeat.

Piedmont shot out of the gate on Tuesday. The Wildcats built a 12-5 lead over the Titans by the 4:19 mark of the first quarter but the Titans proved why they are the top team in Class 5A by battling back and tying it at 18 all with 27 seconds left in the quarter.

Carl Albert got their first lead on the opening possession of the second quarter but Piedmont hung with the Titans blow for blow. An Adrion Williams floater with 58 seconds remaining pulled Piedmont back within two points but some offensive mistakes in the waning seconds let Carl Albert go into the break with a four point lead.

Cameron Peters tied the ballgame at 29 at the 6:28 mark of the third. The tide turned against the Wildcats Peters went to the bench with four fouls with 5:19 left in the quarter with Piedmont trailing by five. Carl Albert scored eight unanswered points to end the quarter and take a 43-30 lead into the final frame.

Piedmont tried to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter but were only able to cut it to single digits once. The Titans were able to hit their free throws and break down Piedmont’s defense down the stretch to clinch the decisive victory.

“I think we didn’t adjust,” Coach Ryan Wagner said. “I told the kids that Coach Price would make it a point at halftime to come out and be intense. In my lockerroom, I told them that. I urged to play like they’re supposed to and we came out flat. We had 11 turnovers in the third quarter and that’s the game right there. Eleven turnovers and not hitting our free throws. It’s about being mentally tough. When your offense isn’t in a flow, you have to be able to make free throws so you can keep scoring.”

“We have to execute,” Grant Gipson said. “Free throws are a big factor. We can always do better. We have to have the heart to do it. We need to come out on Friday with heart and show that we still have confidence, that we can still be the best.”

Candidates filling period ends for Canadian County School Board seats

Staff Reports

Piedmont School Board

Seat No. 3-Karen Green

Banner Public School

Seat No. 2-Candidate: L.T. Scott

Calumet Public Schools

Seat No. 3-Candidate: Michael Kennedy

Canadian Valley Technology Center

Seat No. 5-Rick D. Garrison

Home Rule Charter, City of Mustang

Councilmember Ward No. 2-Kathleen Moon

Councilmember Ward No. 4-Tim Mount and Terry L. Jones

Darlington Public School

Seat No. 2-Deforest Tallbear

El Reno Public Schools

Seat No. 3-Tricia Hobson

Maple Public School

Seat No. 3-Jerry Golden, Jr.

Mustang Public Schools

Seat No. 3-Jeff Landrith
Riverside Public School

Seat No. 2-Paula Sue Balch

Union City Public Schools

Seat No. 3- Tasha Rodgers and Jennifer Bornemann

Yukon Public Schools

Seat No. 3-Karen Youngblood and Richard W.J. Cacini

Chamber awards ECI November Business of the Month

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
The Piedmont Chamber of Commerce awards Scott Cornelius of ECI with the Chamber’s November Business of the Month Award Thursday at the Chamber of Commerce’s November luncheon.

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