• HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner1-5
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner2
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner3
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner4
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner5
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner6
  • HofH-Help-Wanted-Banner7

Business

Crews begin work on PUD project

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Construction crews begin tearing away chunks of land at the end of Gooder Simpson Boulevard last week in Piedmont. This construction is part of the first plat approved from the PUD project.

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Construction crews began the clearing away of land on Gooder Simpson Boulevard last week, as part of the preliminary work on the first plat from the Planned Unit Development project the Piedmont city council approved earlier this year.

The planning commission, then the city council approved two separate plats of land in the PUD project. This project is Phase One of a two-phase development project. Hawks Landing and Autumn Chase are the two residential developments to be completed in this project.

The piece of land for these developments is located South of Edmond Road Northeast and East of Piedmont Road North with access to the site provided by Gooder Simpson Boulevard, approximately 835 feet south of Edmond Road Northeast off the east side of Piedmont Road North.

The plat is comprised of 37 single-family lots and eight duplex lots. The proposed plat has an average lot size of 10,200 square feet, with the largest plot proposed to be 16,378 square feet and the smallest to be 8,227 square feet.

The PUD was originally passed in 2008, with amendments made in 2010, 2012 and the most recent one the planning commission approved in February.

In March, the Piedmont city council approved the PUD just narrowly with two ‘yes’ votes, two ‘no’ votes and one abstention vote from Robert Simpson. It took Piedmont Mayor Valerie Thomerson’s mayoral vote to break the tie and pass the PUD.

The city council did have some questions and concerns during the March 2014 meeting. Some questions arose regarding drainage and the amount and locations of detention ponds in the proposed plat. Also, water and sewer line diameters and water line routing were discussed.

Traffic studies were also looked at, and Piedmont Community Development Director Wade Harden said the traffic study done on this preliminary plat proposal showed the traffic to be comparable to other Piedmont developments.

The two plats, Hawks Landing and Autumn Chase are plats owned by local developer Phil Boevers. When the city council passed the PUD back in March, Boevers issued a statement to the Gazette then.

Phil Boevers stated, “SBS Development is pleased that a majority of the Council followed Piedmont’s ordinances, the advice of legal counsel and staff recommendations and approved the preliminary plat for what is planned to be a quality residential development for Piedmont. We look forward to continuing to work with Piedmont to increase economic activity and help generate additional revenues for the city with this type of quality growth.”

Piedmont Planning Commissioner Ron Cardwell also agrees this development project will benefit the city as it continues to grow.

“This will help spur some commercial growth,” Cardwell said. “Especially downtown Piedmont, an area where future commercial development could occur.”

He also echoed concerns the city council raised during their March meeting.

Cardwell said there are going to be some limitations, stemming from infrastructure needs, which effect the entire development of the land.

He said the development can not be built on the existing infrastructure like it is now.

“The city also has to be able to prepare itself to figure out a way or make sure the developer knows, ‘Hey, you’re going to reach a threshold when some capital investments are going to have to be made,’” he said. “Water is one of those big concerns, because Piedmont Road only has that one water line.”
Cardwell also noted the economic conditions of the country, specifically the housing collapse that happened several years ago, has an effect on development.

He said if things continue to stay stable, then Piedmont will continue to see more residential and commercial growth, similar to the PUD project that is already underway.

Absence of qourum abruptly adjourns city council meeting

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
(from left to right) Piedmont City Councilmen Donnie Robinson, Al Gleichmann and Charles Coffman excuse themselves from voting on an agenda item they all three have a legal conflict associated with.

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

As soon as Piedmont Mayor Valerie Thomerson began to read Business Item 8C from Monday night’s city council agenda, three councilmen abruptly excused themselves from the meeting, forcing the mayor to first apologize to audience members then call for the meeting to adjourn until the city can have a quorum in place.

A quorum is defined as the minimum number of members of an assembly or society that must be present at any of its meetings to make the proceedings of that meeting valid. In the case of the Piedmont city council which has five members, three must be present to have a quorum. Once the three councilmen left the room, there was no quorum.

“Jennifer, it seems to me that we have lost our quorum, and at this point would you do a formal role call, please?” Thomerson asked to Piedmont City Clerk Jennifer Smith. Only councilmen Bobby Williamson and Robert Simpson remained.

After the council meeting was abruptly adjourned, City Councilman Charles Coffman spoke to the Gazette about his decision to excuse himself from the meeting.

“We all want growth, we do,” Coffman said. “But, a councilman has to make a decision on whether or not there’s potential conflicts. And, so we have to go with our conscience. In this case, I felt I had to leave for that reason. At some point here in the near future, hopefully, the court cases will be completed and we can get back to doing business that will benefit all the citizens. Until that point, we’re probably going to have that same situation occur. I hope not.”

The three councilmen, Charles Coffman, Donnie Robinson and Al Gleichman are all involved in a pending lawsuit with local developer Phil Boevers. The business item the councilmen excluded themselves from voting on was for a discussion on a preliminary plat of land called “Magnolia Medows,” which is owned by Rita Strubhar and Cindy Boevers, Phil Boevers’ wife. The same business item was brought before the council last month and the same three councilmen excused themselves from that discussion as well. This agenda item has been placed on the agenda twice and twice it hasn’t been discussed because of an absence of a quorum.

According to legal records filed in Canadian County in 2012, Robinson is listed as a defendant and Coffman and Gleichmann are listed as “notice recipients” in CJ-2012-46, which is a libel/slander lawsuit filed by Boevers Homes, LLC, against numerous defendants, including former Piedmont city councilman Vernon Woods, former Piedmont Mayor Mike Fina, Piedmont Planning Commissioner Ron Cardwell, John Mike Simpson, Jeff Williams and Williams Grocery, and Donya and Ron Hau, and the now defunct Piedmont Citizen newspaper.

The first two agenda items, 8A and 8B, were pulled from the agenda “due to an error with regard to the legal description,” Thomerson said. “I’ll leave it at that without going into more details.”

Before the meeting was called to order, Piedmont’s new police chief, Scott Singer, was sworn in by Thomerson.

Piedmont banker completes intermediate banking school

Josh Atkinson

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Josh Atkinson, assistant vice president at F&M Bank in Piedmont, recently completed the Oklahoma Bankers Association 2014 Intermediate School at the Harris Event Center in Oklahoma City.

He was among 31 students who attended the two-session school in February and June.
Atkinson, a loan officer with F&M, said he took the course to learn more about the all around workings of banking.

“I took the course to further my banking career,” Atkinson said. “You really learn how all aspects of the bank work, not just one department, but how all of those other departments work together.”

The OBA Intermediate School, conducted annually, prepares junior to mid-level bank officers and future officers, to serve effectively the needs of their banks and consumers.

The school Atkinson was enrolled in exposes students to a broad range of banking functions and issues, including economics, marketing, lending, investments, trust services, compliance and legal issues, bank financial analysis, ethics, human resource management, communications, strategic planning, regulatory examinations and asset/liability management.

In the two sessions Atkinson completed, he had two big projects he had to get finished between each session. He first completed a marketing project, then he had to complete a financial statement analysis project. Both projects required Atkinson to complete them individually. Read more →

Area residents converge on Surrey Hills for neighborhood garage sale

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Charlene Buenetner, of Dover, Tonya Hawk and Tom Haliton, both from Kingfisher drove from house to house Friday afternoon to buy used items at the Surrey Hills neighborhood garage sale. They stopped at this house on N.W. 109th Street to shop.

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
(From left to right) Sophie Hodge, Joy Boese, Elizabeth Hodge and McKinley Hodge opened up their garage to area residents Friday during the Surrey Hills neighborhood garage sale. Their home on Folkstone Drive was one of many homes Friday that sold items out of their driveways and garages.

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Helen Sisco, Katie Johnstonbaugh and Joy Turner had a lot of business Friday during their garage sale on 109th Street. The Surrey Hills neighborhood residents opened up their driveways and garages for a neighborhood-wide garage sale. Canadian County District 1 commissioner candidate Kevin Hopkins paid and sponsored advertising for the garage sale.

Out with the old, in with the new…

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Workers install a new Keller Williams real estate sign Tuesday morning in Piedmont at the former Cleaton and Associates location.

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
A longtime icon/sign sees its final minutes of existence Tuesday morning in Piedmont as it is about to be replaced by a new Keller Williams real estate sign.

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
More than 50 Piedmont Chamber of Commerce members, Keller Williams associates and area community business people join Susan Miller, operating partner of Keller Williams Platinum of Piedmont, and Phil Boevers, Keller Williams franchise owner and Piedmont home builder, to cut the ribbon Tuesday morning for the new Piedmont Keller Williams Platinum location, located west of F&M Bank on Piedmont Road.

Union Mutual declared insolvent, placed into receivership and rehabilitation

©2014 Piedmont-Surrey Gazette
By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Piedmont-based Union Mutual Insurance Company has been declared insolvent by Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak, and placed into receivership and rehabilitation.

John Doak

Documents filed in Oklahoma County District Court   View PDF   show Doak was appointed receiver for Union Mutual after he filed for a permanent injunction in Oklahoma County District Court on Jan. 24. Terry Smith was appointed assistant receiver by the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

Doak determined that “Union Mutual is financially impaired and/or insolvent in that the company’s surplus as regards to policyholders has fallen below the statutory required capital and surplus of $150,000,” the injunction reads.

From a quarterly financial statement, filed with the Oklahoma Insurance Department on Nov. 30, 2013, the company’s net capital and surplus was a (-$1,534,486).

“Insurance companies file statutory financial statements with the insurance department,” Doak said. “Periodically, examinations on companies are conducted on behalf of the insurance department to verify accuracy of the statements.

In 2013, Union Mutual was examined and a number of adjustments were made to their statement resulting in the company’s not having the required statutory capital.”

The order, filed in district court decreed the receiver, Oklahoma Insurance Department, to take possession of the property of Union Mutual; vested by operation of the law with the title to all of the property, accounts, assets, contracts, rights of action and all of the books and records of Union Mutual.

Doak said the Oklahoma Insurance Department is working with Union Mutual to return them to a solid financial condition.

“As insurance commissioner, I am responsible for the financial solvency of domestic insurers,” Doak said. “I am also dedicated to protecting consumers, which state law allows me to do in this case. My staff has been working with Union Mutual for some time. I’m hopeful the company can be returned to solid financial condition.”

He said when a company is in hazardous condition, the insurance commissioner can petition the courts to place the company into receivership and order the commissioner as receiver to take possession of and operate the company.

“In this case, the district court ordered the receiver and the assistant receiver to rehabilitate Union Mutual,” Doak said. “The Oklahoma Insurance Department will monitor the company’s progress and offer recommendations to the commissioner as receiver and the assistant receiver as they believe appropriate.”

Doak said that while this is a civil proceeding and not a criminal proceeding, many factors contributed to the current financial condition of Union Mutual and the exact causes are still under review.

Appointed assistant receiver Terry Smith said Union Mutual has made significant progress since supervisory action was taken late last year.

“Progress includes the implementation of a number of different cost-control initiatives and administrative changes to restore Union Mutual to profitability to position it for long-term success,” Smith said. “The staff of the Oklahoma Insurance Department, including the commissioner, has provided Union a significant amount of assistance in improving the operations. Union’s employees are working hard as well to maintain the level of service that policyholders and agents are accustomed to receiving. Working through the court-supervised rehabilitation process, we are doing everything possible to enable an Oklahoma company that has been in business since 1938 to endure for many years to come.”

Documents show that any and all officers of Union Mutual are prohibited from transacting any further business of Union Mutual.

Piedmont City Councilman and Union Mutual Claims Manager Donnie Robinson said his brother, Jack Robinson, who had served as an officer with Union Mutual and his nephew, Jackie Robinson, had left the company and were pursuing other business interests.

Donnie Robinson

“Jack has retired from the company,” Robinson said. “Jackie has left and is wanting to do something else for a living.”

Piedmont resident hired as Great Plains president

Jay Winkle

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Piedmont resident Jay Winkle was recently appointed to the president position by Great Plains National Bank in Piedmont to take over for former president Jamie Allison after Allison took a job with Legacy Bank in Oklahoma City.

Winkle, a Piedmont resident, has been with Great Plains since the Piedmont branch first opened in January of 2013.

He has worked in the banking industry in the Oklahoma City area for the past 17 years and has been a resident in the Piedmont area since 1996.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to lead this bank, and am optimistic about the future of Piedmont,” Winkle said. “I look forward to continue serving the financial needs of the people of Piedmont and partnering with the Piedmont school system where my sons attend school.”

Winkle said he was excited to be able to move a lot of his customers from Oklahoma City to the Great Plains Piedmont branch and looks forward to still serving them from the capacity of President.

Great Plains also hired Matthew Scantlin as a commercial lender at the Piedmont branch.

Scantlin, also an Oklahoma native, joined Great Plains at the beginning of March.
An experienced lender, he has been in banking since 2006 and his experience includes consumer lending, business banking, private banking, and commercial lending.

Bussett opens law office in Piedmont

Rachel Bussett

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Piedmont resident Rachel Bussett has officially opened a law firm in Piedmont.

Bussett said opening up a two-day-per-week law office in the city she lives in is exciting. She said she brings “big city experience and small town values” to the new Bussett law office.

The new satellite law office, located in the ECI building on the corner of Monroe NW and Piedmont Road, will be open two days a week to start.

Bussett and her husband, Curtis, have a law firm in Oklahoma City and with the addition of this satellite operation, she will be able to serve people in her community without restricting the services they offer.

“We do a little bit of everything,” she said. “We focus on family law, estate planning, personal injury, employment and criminal cases.” Read more →

Council approves PUD; local developer Phil Boevers plans to help increase economic activity and bring in quality growth

City Manager Jim Crosby

Mayor Valerie Thomerson

Ward 3 Councilman Al Gleichmann

Ward 2 Councilman Bobby Williamson

Ward 4 Mayor Pro Tem Charles Coffman

Ward 5 Councilman Donnie Robinson

Ward 1 Councilman Robert Simpson

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Thursday night, the Piedmont City Council approved the preliminary plat for the Planned Unit Development(PUD), making way for a local developer to begin a building project aimed at commercial development in the downtown Piedmont area.

In a prepared statement to the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette, local developer Phil Boevers stated, “SBS Development is pleased that a majority of the Council followed Piedmont’s ordinances, the advice of legal counsel and staff recommendations and approved the preliminary plat for what is planned to be a quality residential development for Piedmont. We look forward to continuing to work with Piedmont to increase economic activity and help generate additional revenues for the city with this type of quality growth.”

In a 2-2 vote, with both Al Gleichmann and Donnie Robinson voting ‘no’ and Charles Coffman and Bobby Williamson voting ‘yes,’ Piedmont Mayor Valerie Thomerson used her mayoral vote to approve the preliminary plat. She said she voted ‘yes’ because she trusted the planning commission’s decision to approve the PUD back in February. Councilman Robert Simpson abstained from casting his vote.

“Based on the fact that we have a current city attorney who has spoken to former city attorney Don Davis, and he said this falls within our guidelines,” Thomerson said. “I understand where the planning commission is coming from and I am hearing what their saying, but it (PUD) complies. “I’ve heard many times when I was an employee for this city and was sitting in this chair,” Thomerson said. “What is the point of having a planning commission if we don’t follow their recommendations? I don’t see any reason to hold this up. My vote is Yes.”

The PUD was originally passed in 2008, with amendments made in 2010, 2012 and the most recent one the planning commission approved last month.

Hawks Landing and Autumn Chase are residential developments proposed for Piedmont. The piece of land for these developments is located South of Edmond Road Northeast and East of Piedmont Road North with access to the site provided by Gooder Simpson Boulevard, approximately 835 feet south of Edmond Road Northeast off the east side of Piedmont Road North. The plat is comprised of 37 single-family lots and eight duplex lots. The proposed plat has an average lot size of 10,200 square feet, with the largest plot being 16,378 square feet and the smallest being 8,227 square feet.

“This will help spur some commercial growth,” said Piedmont Planning Commissioner Ron Cardwell. “Especially downtown Piedmont, an area where future commercial development could occur.”

Cardwell said the city’s tax base is based on commercial growth. “We have the supply with the land in place for commercial growth but we need to increase the demand for growth to occur.” He said the demand is based on Piedmont’s population.

Some questions arose during the council meeting regarding drainage and the amount and locations of detention ponds in the proposed plat. Also, water and sewer line diameters and water line routing were discussed. Traffic studies were also looked at, and Piedmont Community Development Director Wade Harden said the traffic study done on this preliminary plat proposal showed the traffic to be comparable to other Piedmont developments.

Residential development in the downtown Piedmont area is needed and increasing Piedmont’s population will lead to increased commerce for local stores such as Williams, Dollar General, Piedmont Pharmacy, Sonic and Subway.

“You get a few more people, then other commercial businesses might look at coming into Piedmont,” Cardwell said.

Cardwell said the economic conditions of the country, specifically the housing collapse that happened several years ago, has an effect on development. He said if things continue to stay stable, then Piedmont will continue to see more residential and commercial growth.

Cardwell added there are going to be some limitations, stemming from infrastructure needs, which effect the entire development of the land. He said the development can not be built on the existing infrastructure like it is now.

“The city also has to be able to prepare itself to figure out a way or make sure the developer knows, ‘Hey, you’re going to reach a threshold when some capital investments are going to have to be made,’” he said. “Water is one of those big concerns, because Piedmont Road only has that one water line.”

For future development to succeed, Cardwell said making changes to the existing water lines in that area is going to be a primary focus. He said the existing water line may have to be looped around the city and that section of land.

He said some sharing of information between the city council, planning commission and developers is necessary.

“There needs to be an understanding that development pays for development,” Cardwell said. “The city’s got a payback policy for infrastructure that other people [should]get the opportunity to use.”

Diva Nails and Spa owner cuts ribbon to new business location in Piedmont

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Diva Nails and Spa owner Tina Pham cuts the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce ribbon to her new business location Thursday afternoon near Piedmont Road and Edmond Road.

© 2012-2017 piedmontnewsonline.com All Rights Reserved