Travel to U.S.: Oklahoma: East Norman
In 1960, Congress authorized construction of the Norman Project, an earthfill dam on the Little River a dozen miles east of town. The dam was finished in 1965 and since then has, along with wells, supplied the city with drinking water. In 1961, concerned that the water might be polluted and perhaps even more concerned that Oklahoma City might act first, the City of Norman annexed 113 square miles of Cleveland County. The city limits jumped perhaps 15 miles eastward, not only to the lake but beyond it, in a buffer entirely surrounding the reservoir. What happened to those 113 square miles?
A typical section-line road in the annexed area, loosely called East Norman. It looks very rural, but there isn't a single square mile that hasn't been subdivided since 1960 into scores of lots. Such snippping is no longer legal out here: lots are generally held to a minimum of 10 acres. Still, thousands of lots--most not yet build upon--are grandfathered and legal. The houses out here are all on wells and septic tanks, and the question of water quality in Lake Thunderbird continues to worry many people, especially as the density of houses increases.
There are homes that look a great deal more rural than suburban, but they're in a minority.
The dense forest, by the way, belongs to the crosstimbers, an oak woodland. In most cases, the forest here is secondary, growing on fields that were cultivated between about 1890 and 1950.
There are paradoxical cases where the forest has not returned but where the wave of subdivision has receded, leaving abandonments.
Some of the lots--not all--belong to subdivisions with internal roads, now maintained by the city. The people in these subdivisions don't want the rules and regulations of city living. If a fellow wants to park half a dozen cars in his driveway, nobody better tell him otherwise.
A fellow wants to park a couple of heavy-duty trucks across the street? That's fine.
There are some fairly expensive subdivisions in East Norman, especially in the western area closer to the city proper. But here, too, guys expect to have a workshop.
Here's a new subdivision, just a few miles east of town.
Unlike most subdivisions in East Norman, this one is fiercely rectilinear.
Care to swim?
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