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Major Recommendations of the Greenbelt Commission

Recommendation 1: The Norman City Council adopt a resolution committing the City to development of a Greenbelt System as an on-going process that will continue as long as the City of Norman. City officials should recognize the importance of a Greenbelt System and give it consideration throughout the city planning process, even in indirect ways, from code revamping to plat acceptances. The first opportunity to do that is in the imminent update of the NORMAN 2020 Plan. Other opportunities are listed later in this report.

Recommendation 2: Greenbelt open space sites be given priority in floodplains, including around Lake Thunderbird and along the Little and (South) Canadian rivers, in riparian corridors and on agricultural land.

Recommendation 3: The Norman City Council establish a permanent Greenbelt Commission that will:

  • Identify possible parcels of land and develop a policy to determine Greenbelt suitability for individual parcels
  • Work for partnerships and other means of implementation, including securing funds
  • Make recommendations to the City Council regarding policies and other related matters
  • Advocate for the Greenbelt System in the city's planning process
  • Solicit public opinion in planning for the Greenbelt and facilitate citizen participation in the planning process so that the public's interest in the Greenbelt System is expressed
  • Develop policies regarding security and safety in the Greenbelt System

Recommendation 4: As part of its duties, the Greenbelt Commission will propose an ordinance establishing the Greenbelt System of open spaces and Greenways. This ordinance should include, but not be limited to:

  • Identification of primary Greenbelt areas.
  • Requirements that all platting and survey applications made at City Hall include a Greenbelt Enhancement Statement that articulates how the goals and objectives of Norman’s Greenbelt System plan are met by the proposed development. The ordinance should determine and make clear the responsibilities of City staff and developers in drafting the Greenbelt Enhancement Statement.
  • An opportunity for the Greenbelt Commission to comment on each Greenbelt Enhancement Statement. If a comment is made, this comment would accompany the application through the City Hall process and be considered by the City Council.
  • Establishment of procedures to encourage citizen input and public discussion of Greenbelt and Greenway opportunities in proposed developments in primary Greenbelt areas and that this involvement occurs early in the City Council’s consideration of such developments. A summary of all such citizen input should be attached to the Greenbelt Enhancement Statement and included among the documents for the City Council’s consideration.

Recommendation 5: The City Council pledge to make citizen participation a key component of the Greenbelt System creation process, which should involve all interested and potentially interested persons, firms and institutions, both public and private.

Recommendation 6: The City provide professional and administrative staff support to work with the Greenbelt Commission. This staff support preferably would be from the planning department and be from staff members with interest and experience in the Greenbelt System. The Staff will be especially important in assisting the Commission with continuing public outreach and communication on behalf of the Greenbelt System. Specifically, staff should:

  • Help communicate the goals of the Greenbelt System to the public
  • Arrange for presentations to community groups
  • Solicit public comments on the Greenbelt System and forward them to the appropriate parties
  • Work with the City’s Information Systems Division to maintain the Greenbelt System web site, changing its content as approved by the Greenbelt Commission, and reviewing and acting appropriately on messages sent by the public via the web site.

Recommendation 7: The city partner with other governmental units and private groups to identify adjuncts to the Greenbelt System, such as open spaces and other natural areas that are under control of other governmental units.

Recommendation 8: Implement an initial Greenway System before the end of 2002 through signage of existing systems. Designing the signage would include holding a contest before the end of 2002 to establish a logo for the Greenbelt/Greenway System. The logo would be placed on the Greenway System.

Recommendation 9: The City work with local business and tourism groups to seek opportunities to use the Norman Greenbelt System to bring in tourists for special events.

Recommendation 10: The City Council pursue voluntary means and not use eminent domain to secure rights-of-way to assemble the Greenways and the Greenbelt System.