Proposals to require all pets in Lawton to be microchipped and to resolve traffic flow problems on Gore Boulevard will top the agenda when the City Council meets today.
The pet proposal, initiated by Police Chief James Smith, is asking the council to discuss setting an ordinance that would require all dogs and cats within Lawton to be microchipped as a way to help return them to owners when the pets are lost. City code already requires all pets to be registered with the City of Lawton.
This proposal would follow along the same lines, with both intended to help control animals running at large. The city’s animal control division says its officers (who work under the auspices of Lawton Police Department) frequently come into contact with animals without identification, meaning the animal welfare division has no way to locate their owners.
According to city staff, an American Veterinary Medical Association study shows a higher percentage of lost animals with microchips are returned to their owners. Requiring Lawton owners to do the same would ensure more of those picked up return home. National statistics show the cost of microchipping pets ranges from $25 to $60. According to the American Kennel Club, the microchip is inserted under the loose skin between the pet’s shoulder blades, a procedure they say is no more invasive than a vaccination. The code in that chip is registered to the owner and when the pet is scanned, the registered owner’s information is made available.
Council members also will discuss a study they directed earlier this year to help resolve traffic congestion on Gore Boulevard between Northwest/Southwest 2nd Street and Lawrie Tatum Road.
The problem actually is one that city officials — particularly those associated with east Lawton — have discussed for years. Council debate in February and March centered on whether there is a need for the traffic signal light at the intersection of East Gore Boulevard and Lawrie Tatum Road (north) and the entrance road to the Comanche Casino/Best Western (south). That also isn’t a new problem. Council members said the light, placed in 2006 as a cooperative venture between the City of Lawton and the Comanche Nation, was to be temporary, with the Comanche Nation to install new signals 700 feet east of the current location.
City officials have said a series of lights between Northwest/Southwest 2nd Street on the west and Lawrie Tatum Road to the east (which also includes two controlling traffic at the Interstate 44 overpass) have made traffic flow into east Lawton difficult, particularly at rush hour. The presentation from Traffic Engineering Consultants Inc. is to include recommendations to improve traffic flow.
In other business, the council will consider a new agreement with Garver LLC, to craft design plans for waterlines to serve the Westwin Elements complex in southwest Lawton. That complex is expected to be a $450 million cobalt and nickel refinery located on 480 acres south of West Lee Boulevard and west of Goodyear Boulevard.
Under a local funding agreement signed by the council earlier this year, the city agreed to provide infrastructure to the site, to include waterlines. This $328,500 agreement with long-time contract designer Garver specifies initial designs for Phase I, 7,500 feet of 12-inch to 20-inch water mains from Lee Boulevard south along Southwest 97th Street to Bishop Road, then west one-half mile to the southeast corner of the Westwin lot. Phase II will be 18,000 feet of main from that point on Bishop Road west to Southwest 112th Street, then north to Lee Boulevard to loop back to Southwest 97th Street.
Design plans would begin after Westwin Elements “has signed a binding commitment or as directed by the City Council,” according to the agenda commentary. City officials said the main extension would be needed for that industrial tract “even if this project does not occur.”
Council members also will decide a rezoning that proved to be unpopular with adjacent residents when it appeared before the City Planning Commission in March.
The request is a Use Permitted on Review that would allow an autism and behavior services medical facility to be placed in a residential structure at 502 Fort Sill Boulevard, in a stable residential neighborhood. Residents who opposed the proposal say the house is located along a busy arterial that could pose a danger to youths using the facility should they get into the street, and there isn’t enough parking to accommodate the use. Sixteen property owners within 300 feet of the house have signed a petition in opposition.
Supporters said the facility would provide a homestyle treatment site for children with autism. Parking only needs to be sufficient for staff because parents would stay only long enough to drop off their children, then pick them up when their session is over, according to supporters.
City planners said parking identified in the site plan is insufficient; city code requires 11 parking spaces, when only one and a driveway is shown.