James and I just returned to my house from a very exciting City Council meeting! It was the last in a long, but enjoyable, string of meetings with the city; all of them related to the intention of changing Sixtwelve's zoning from residential to an area where we can have live/work spaces for artists in residence, a gallery, a performance space, classrooms, a teaching kitchen, a community garden, a chicken coop, and a little place that sells burgers made with Varnum Beef (James' family owns a farm where they raise grass-fed cows.) And there are dreams we haven't even dreamed up yet, so who knows what else we'll be doing over there! What we will encourage is creativity in all forms and a sustainable, pedestrian lifestyle that values local food and community.
Now we have the city's approval to do so many wonderful things! James started working on the SPUD (Special Planned Unit Development) application this past summer. It was a pretty lengthy application and it took having multiple meetings with city staff just to finalize the application. Thank goodness they were willing to work with us. That's so helpful! Because we are located in an historic district, we were working with the Historic Preservation staff and commission as well as the City Planning staff and commission. Because we have been asking for things in a combination that hasn't been approached before, it just took a while to work through all of the questions. Twice our hearings were postponed, but that was ok. I had a good feeling it would all work out and that when it did, it would be worth the wait, so we weren't in a hurry. We want to take our time with every decision and move we make because we want to do this right. At the end of the day, we're still just feeling our way through this process. We're learning as we go.
Oh! And today marks the very first time the City Council has voted to approve urban chickens! Add that in with the green materials the Historic Preservation Commission approved for our building, and I feel like we have been very blessed. I thought about writing, "We have won some major battles," but that isn't the way it unfolded. I never really felt like we were in battle with the city. I felt like everyone was looking for a way to help us make this happen and still stay within previous guidelines. But I also feel like because what we're doing is so different (and yet representative of what so many people across the city are already doing), we were given a lot of leeway that others might not have experienced in the past.
The commission hearings have been a great experience too. The way I look at it, we have just been given many, many opportunities to tell people about our dream. Yes, it helps that I am not in a hurry anyway because I'm trying so hard to focus on school. Yes, it also helps that James is doing such a great job of communicating with the city and others that have been very helpful to us along the way. But it also helps that our city is ready for this. Everyone we have ever had the opportunity to talk to about our goals and dreams has offered support. I know that we aren't alone in our hopes for our community.
So many people want to see Oklahoma City thrive. It's exciting to be a part of it and I'm grateful for this incredible journey! One of the biggest lessons I've learned through all of this is that you have to have patience with yourself, your dreams and other people in order to accomplish anything. As my sweet brother told me once when I was crying on his shoulder about some stupid boy, "You have to loosen your grip a little. Let some blood back into your knuckles and let things flow." It's true for more than just dating. It's true for everything. Luckily, things are flowing the way we hoped they would. Thank you Oklahoma City for letting us move one step closer to making Sixtwelve everything we hope it will be! And thanks to everyone who has ever encouraged and supported us. You are so important.