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From My Front Porch

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

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.

Circus stunts dazzle area audience

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
A member of the Arlise Troupe juggles flaming torches Sunday afternoon in front of Piedmont and other area residents during the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus in Piedmont. See related photos and story in the 9-25 edition of the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette.

Piedmont man dies in traffic accident

Courtesy of Paul Purser’s facebook
Paul C. Purser, Jr., of Piedmont, died Wednesday near Okeene.

Staff Reports

According to reports, Piedmont resident Paul C. Purser, Jr., 59, died from a traffic accident Wednesday afternoon near Okeene, in Blaine County.

According to reports, at about 3:30 p.m., Purser was driving a pickup northbound on SH 51A when a tractor trailer going eastbound hit his pickup.

Even though Purser was wearing a seat belt, according to reports, he was killed at the scene of the accident. The driver of the tractor trailer was treated and released from an area hospital, according to reports.

The cause of the accident is under investigation. Once the investigation is complete, the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette will update this story.

Constuction crews begin preliminary work on PUD project

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Construction crews begin work on the Planned Unit Development (PUD) project the Piedmont city council approved earlier this year. Crews were clearing away a section of land at the end of Gooder Simpson Boulevard Wednesday. The Piedmont-Surrey Gazette will have updates to this story once they become available.

Hader defeats Higgins, Bice defeats Thomas

Marc Hader

By Matt Montgomery

Republican voters in Canadian County have chosen Surrey Hills resident Marc Hader as their candidate for the general election in November against Democrat Justin Atkinson, and have chosen Edmond businesswoman Stephanie Bice as their next senator in Oklahoma Senate District 22.

Hader defeated Higgins in the runoff election Tuesday, garnering 59.1 percent of the total county votes. Higgins received 40.9 percent. Hader received a total of 1,341 votes and Higgins received 927 total votes. Piedmont voters followed suit, casting a total of 328 votes for Hader and 256 for Higgins.

Stephanie Bice

Bice edged Thomas in the senate race by receiving 53.1 percent of the votes, with a total of 2,693 votes. Thomas received 46.9 percent of the votes, with a total of 2,381 votes. Voters in Piedmont also followed the trend of voters in Oklahoma County and Canadian County. Bice received a total of 305 votes from the three Piedmont Precincts and Thomas received 271 total votes in Piedmont.

Hader will face Democrat Justin Atkinson during the General Election in November, but said he and his wife, Denise Crosswhite Hader, will take a sabatical and unwind before they hit the campaign trail again.

Hader also wanted to thank the voters for supporting him in the polls.

“I’m obviously delighted,” Hader said following the results of the election. “Canadian County is the fastest growing county in America. This place is changing. It’s a wonderful place to live. We got out early (in the campaign) and worked hard.”

Hader wanted to thank Piedmont voters in particular for responding to his responses published in recent forums in the local newspaper. Specifically, Hader referred to a question the Gazette asked recently regarding the juvenile justice center.

Bice was unavailable for comment Tuesday night.

In other area election news, Okarche voters passed the Okarche School District Transportation Bond issue Tuesday night by an overwhelming majority. Okarche voters’ “yes” votes totaled 235, accounting for 73.2 percent of the total votes. The “no” votes totaled 80, with 26.8 percent of the total votes. That bond is a $350,000 transportation bond to be used to purchase several new buses for the district. The bond will increase Okarche residents’ taxes by at least 3.71 percent.

The results from the election boards are unofficial results. Once the official results are made public, the Gazette will publish them.

Water rates to be hiked

By Matt Montgomery

Over the next two years, water bills are likely to gouge Piedmont residents’ pocketbooks, as the amount the City of Piedmont pays for its water from Oklahoma City will likely increase significantly.

Piedmont, along with the many other municipalities that buy wholesale water from Oklahoma City on a monthly basis, will feel the sting of this increase beginning when an Oklahoma City ordinance takes effect Oct. 1.

That ordinance includes an amendment to usage charges outside of the city. Piedmont falls under that category.

Piedmont City Manager Jim Crosby said while Piedmont residents should be thankful to Oklahoma City for the water, they should also be aware of the upcoming rate increase.

“Oklahoma City has been very progressive, as far as getting water rights,” Crosby said. “You need to salute Oklahoma City for their forward thinking and having the ability to provide us water.” Read more →

Piedmont Hall of Famer Mac Thompson dies

Mac Thompson

Mac Thompson

By Matt Montgomery
Piedmont Hall of Fame member, former Piedmont-Surrey Gazette employee and longtime community member, Mac Thompson, died in his sleep early this morning (Saturday, Aug. 18), according to a Facebook post from his step daughter.

“For those of you who haven’t heard the news, our Dad, Mac Thompson, passed away early this morning. I’ll be staying with Mom for a while. Thanks in advance for your prayers. Mac woke up in heaven this morning, so for that, we are grateful,” Dena Carney Jensen, Thompson’s step daughter, wrote in a Facebook post earlier today. Read more →

OSBI sends Piedmont PD embezzlement findings to district attorney’s office

By Matt Montgomery

After completing its investigation into the theft from the Piedmont police department, the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation has sent its finding to the Canadian County District Attorney’s Office.

District Attorney Michael Fields confirmed Monday the DA’s office had received the OSBI’s investigation last week and his office is “still in the process of evaluating it to determine if charges will be filed.”
The OSBI was investigating a theft of about $1,000 allegedly stolen in different increments at different times from the Piedmont police department.

It has not been made public whether it was a city employee or a Piedmont police officer who stole the money. If the DA determines this case to be a felony, charges are expected to be filed in Canadian County District Court.

Penalties for embezzlement vary in Canadian County. According to the statute, embezzlement is defined as “the fraudulent appropriation of property of any person or legal entity, legally obtained, to any use or purpose not intended or authorized by its owner, or the secretion of the property with the fraudulent intent to appropriate it to such use or purpose.” Read more →

Senate District 22 candidates respond to questions

The Piedmont-Surrey Gazette recently asked Senate District 22 candidates Mark Thomas and Stephanie Bice two questions:

1) Both of you have been outspoken about Obamacare throughout this campaign. If elected, what will be your efforts, on the state level, to repeal the Affordable Care Act? Please describe the steps you would take.
2) What separates you from your opponent? Name a quality or qualities that make you a more viable candidate for Johnson’s seat, than your opponent.

Stephanie Bice

Stephanie Bice:

1) I’ve been in the process of gathering as much information on the ACA as possible, so I’m prepared to help repeal Obamacare on the state level.

We need to repeal this law and replace it with a plan that provides quality care at a low cost while preserving Medicaid, instead of abusing it.

I support Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s lawsuit that has exposed the plain language of the rule of the law. The Internal Revenue Service has illegally implemented the law’s insurance subsidies by making them available in all 50 states.
If the Attorney General’s lawsuit is unsuccessful, then the state legislature must work together to protect Oklahomans.

Read more →

Piedmont High school construction nearing completion

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Construction of the addition to Piedmont High School is nearing completion. The facade of the school is virtually complete. This view is from the south end, entrance to the school.

By Matt Montgomery

Summer is almost over and school is almost back in session, but when students from Piedmont High School return to school Aug. 19, they will see a larger main building.

Over the summer, construction crews have been hard at work to complete the additions to Piedmont High School.

Those additions include a secured entrance and attendance office in the front of the building, two additional classrooms and restrooms, and a physical education gymnasium, wrestling room, restrooms, locker rooms and training room.

“This much needed construction will meet a number of pressing needs as our enrollment continues to increase at a rapid pace,” the district wrote in an update earlier this year. “First, this project includes an expansion of the current cafeteria space. With an expected enrollment of almost 900 students in the high school next year, this added space will be extremely beneficial.”

Piedmont Schools Superintendent James White said Tuesday, the construction isn’t fully completed but is almost there.

“Construction at the high school is still ongoing, but it is in the final stages,” White said. “The classroom and restroom addition is complete, and the flooring is being installed in the cafeteria today (Tuesday). There will be a few finishing touches taking place after school resumes; however it won’t be a hindrance to the school day.”

The gymnasium section of the addition was much needed in addition to more classroom space, since the district has had to bus their student-athletes to Piedmont Elementary for many years. Read more →

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