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One Hundred Two Glenstone Inc. is seeking a rezoning change at Sunshine Street and Fremont Avenue to make way for a Culver’s restaurant.
One Hundred Two Glenstone Inc. is seeking a rezoning change at Sunshine Street and Fremont Avenue to make way for a Culver’s restaurant.

Council drills down on Culver’s, microefficiency requests

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Nine rezoning bills were on Springfield City Council’s docket last night, but not one was ready for a vote.

The bills spell future development – of course, only after passing muster with council members.

The two most scrutinized were proposals for a Culver’s restaurant at Sunshine Street and Fremont Avenue and for microefficiency apartments off of Kansas Expressway, south of Interstate 44.

Culver’s questioned
Tandem bills by applicant One Hundred Two Glenstone Inc. seek to change small residential parcels to office district zoning and pave the way for Culver’s to build a restaurant at the southeast corner of East Sunshine and South Fremont.

The key concern is traffic through the neighborhood adjacent to Mercy Hospital Springfield.

Councilman Mike Schilling noted the restaurant would generate three times as much traffic, with 720 vehicles per day up from 240 vehicles.

Wendy Steele, who lives across Pickwick Avenue from the proposed development, was the lone public speaker. She shared in the traffic worries.

When debating whether the bill should go back to the Planning & Zoning Commission, Derek Lee of Lee Engineering & Associates LLC said the move could threaten contract dates with Culver’s.

“There will be a lot of heartburn on the owners,” Lee said.

Councilman Craig Hosmer was quick to respond.

“Culver’s is used to heartburn,” he quipped, admitting he couldn’t resist. “That was a joke.”

A serious tone returned when Hosmer cautioned his colleagues about giving easy passes to new tax-generating entities without regard to public policy.

“When you keep pushing these diverging uses closer to neighborhoods, you run the risk of causing the neighborhoods to become less cohesive,” he said. “I think that’s something we need to be careful about doing.”

One Hundred Two Glenstone already owns the properties from Sunshine Street south along Fremont Avenue needed to develop the Culver’s restaurant.

City staff and the P & Z Commission recommend approval. Council expects to vote on the rezoning bill Feb. 20.

More microefficiencies
A familiar applicant of microefficiency apartments is knocking on council’s door with its second proposal since the approval of Greenway Studios' apartment development that prompted relocation of the historic Timmons Temple in 2015.

Greenway Studios North LLC seeks to rezone nearly 3 acres to a medium density multifamily residential district from single-family residential. The properties, at 1435 W. Talmage St. and 1432 W. Livingston St., would be used for a 74-unit apartment building with over 80 parking spots, a swimming pool, basketball court and dog park.

Springfield Planning & Development Director Mary Lilly Smith said the development site is approved for up to 29 units per acre and up to 400 square feet per unit.

“We run every multifamily rezoning through (the same) matrix. In this case, it’s at 27 dwelling units per acre,” she said.

The Greenway Studios North plan earned high marks as affordable housing and for its Environmental Protection Agency rating, she said.

Mary Kay Glunt of the Doling Neighborhood Association said the group had reservations about the additional cars from 74 renters, plus guests, at an already busy area near Kearney Street.

Similar concerns have delayed Greenway Studios’ second development attempt in Midtown. The developers proposed 72 microefficiency apartments on a North Sherman Avenue church property east of its 84-unit, $4 million complex built two years ago.

Other notable rezoning bills:
    •    6 acres for a senior living development in the 3500-block of East Seminole Street;
    •    9 acres on the former Remington’s community center to a highway commercial district from general retail; and
    •    2 acres at National Avenue and Walnut Lawn Street for redevelopment of a Kum & Go gas station and convenience store.

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