Q&A: Political signs in rights of way, potential casino on US-75 & gas station switch-out

June 18, 2024

Why is the deal with all the political signs in the rights of way? I thought they weren’t allowed?

Astute City Beat readers will recall at least one instance where we said political signs were not permitted in City rights of way.

That was then.

Current legal opinion is that political signs actually are permitted in City rights of way. It should be noted that City staff is of the opinion that while this may be true for the “letter of the law,” it is almost certainly not the intent of it.

Found in the City’s Zoning Regulations — 7.11.2.C.5, the law states that, “Political signs, provided that such signs shall be removed within three (3) days after the election to which they refer. All such signs which do not exceed three (3) square feet may be located within the public right-of-way provided sight visibility for traffic along the abutting roadway is not impaired. Any such sign which exceeds three (3) square feet in area shall be placed on private property with approval of the property owner. Further, candidates or organizations identified on political signs shall be held responsible for compliance.”

So while political signs in the rights of way may be legal today, rest assured those days are likely numbered. It is anticipated the City’s legal and Community Development teams will work to update the City’s zoning regulations to clearly reflect both the letter — and the spirit — of the law as part of the Comprehensive Plan update, which is ongoing as we speak.

What’s going in there?

The gas station that was at Madison Boulevard and Nowata Road has been demolished. What’s going in there?

No permit applications have been submitted for review, but the Community Development Department has been made aware of the possibility of another gas station going in this location.

Is something going in the old Long John Silver’s building?

Community Development Department staff say that a “beverage-oriented retail establishment” may be coming to this location. No applications have been submitted to the department as of today.

Stay tuned to City Beat for updates on these locations.

What are they going to put in the vacant lot across from the Homeland store on Frank Phillips Boulevard?

According to the Community Development Department, permits have been issued for a Hamilton Health Box micro health clinic to be constructed at 1120 S.E. Frank Phillips Blvd. Apparently, HHB is is kind of like a doctor’s office and an urgent care clinic rolled into one. CCD staff say construction could start “at any minute.”

I heard Madison Pet Clinic on Madison Boulevard is moving. Is that true?

Apparently, it is. Plans are under review by the CCD for the clinic to construct a new building at 5280 Jacqueline Lane. So far there is no target date on construction.

Casino talk

What is happening with the new casino going in on South Highway 75?

The Cherokee Nation has made application to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to place 14.993 acres of Cherokee-owned land on U.S. Highway 75 just south of the Bartlesville city limits in trust for gaming fee-to-trust acquisition purposes. Of course, the City of Bartlesville has no jurisdiction over this property, as it is outside the city limits. However, the City was notified of the Cherokee Nation application by the BIA and given a period of time in which concerns about this potential use could be submitted.

In response, the City submitted a letter from Mayor Dale Copeland citing concerns in three areas:

  1. Potential issues with sufficient water and waste water service in the area
  2. Potential impact of storm water runoff due to construction at the site
  3. Potential issues with increased traffic on U.S. Highway 75

The City requested the Cherokee Nation take the following actions in response to these concerns:

  • Enter into an agreement with the City for connection to the municipal water and sewer systems
  • Conduct a comprehensive Environmental Stormwater Impact Assessment
  • Coordinate with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to perform a Traffic Impact Analysis

No further action involving the City of Bartlesville has been taken.