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A site plan shows how traffic would be routed at the proposed 7 Brew Coffee at Sunshine Street and Jefferson Avenue. 
Provided by city of Springfield 
A site plan shows how traffic would be routed at the proposed 7 Brew Coffee at Sunshine Street and Jefferson Avenue. 

7 Brew permit vote postponed by council 

Posted online

Springfield City Council member Monica Horton said she was reluctant to kick the can of a proposed 7 Brew Coffee at Sunshine Street and Jefferson Avenue into 2023. 

Nevertheless, council once again put its collective toe to the tin at its regular meeting Monday, postponing a vote on a conditional use permit for the business until its first meeting of 2023, on Jan. 9. 

Planning and Development Director Susan Istenes came to council with a recommendation to approve the permit, which would allow a drive-thru that is necessary to the 7 Brew Coffee business plan. 

Istenes said the Public Works staff recommends a condition to be added to the permit request that would require the developer pay for a median to be constructed on Jefferson Avenue, if traffic generated by the site is determined to be causing an unsafe condition on public streets. 

Under the proposal, the median would be added only if, after the business opens, it is determined by the Public Works director to cause a traffic safety concern.  

The business proposes an entrance from Jefferson Avenue and an exit onto Roanoke Avenue, a neighborhood route that 7 Brew customers would take north to Sunshine Street or south to Cherokee Street. If the median is deemed necessary, its addition would prevent a left turn into the 7 Brew from Jefferson, meaning there would be no access to the property for southbound traffic. City planners say this would eliminate a chance for southbound cars on Jefferson to back up traffic on Sunshine while waiting to turn into 7 Brew, though that scenario is unlikely. Sunshine is approximately eight average car lengths north of the business entrance. 

Traffic engineer Brett Foster said staff does not anticipate traffic backing up onto Sunshine, as the 7 Brew lanes can accommodate 26 cars at once. 

Istenes noted council is not permitted to modify conditions put on a conditional use permit by the Planning & Zoning Commission. If council decided it wanted to add the median requirement, it would have to send the item back to P&Z with a recommendation to add the condition. 

Istenes outlined the options available to council: to act on the permit request in its current form, to send it back to P&Z with the median recommendation, or to table the matter until Jan. 9 to allow staff more time to consider other options. 

“You might want to consider that there may not be any alternatives, so even though one of your options is to send it back for further staff review, it may come back that there may not be any alternatives or that any alternatives proposed by staff would require additional readings … thus causing a further delay,” she said. 

Following a motion by Councilperson Andrew Lear, council voted 5-3 to postpone their vote on the permit. Lear said his motion was intended to give staff additional time to look at the issue. 

Council members not in favor of tabling were Horton, Mike Schilling and Craig Hosmer. Matthew Simpson was absent. 

Prior to the vote, Istenes described the process by which staff arrived at its recommendation. 

“Public Works staff looked at options to further alleviate concerns of traffic backups and has met with the developer’s consultant to consider options,” she said. 

Hosmer asked if neighborhood residents had been given the same consideration. 

“Has anybody from staff met with the neighborhood since we tabled?” he asked. “Why haven’t we met with the neighborhood to see what their concerns with this project are?” 

City Manager Jason Gage replied that the neighborhood concerns are very clear. 

“I don’t think there’s any question about that,” he said, adding that council had directed staff to look specifically at the traffic question. 

Hosmer said there are more issues of concern to neighbors than just traffic, and these include the nature of the project itself, as well as sidewalks, noise, buffer zones and trash. 

“It seems like some of those issues should have been addressed with the neighborhood as well,” Hosmer added. “If we’re going to meet with the developer, they should be on an equal level with neighborhoods. Neighborhoods should have some input.” 

Horton said there are many issues besides traffic that are of concern to neighbors. 

“I think that there are some other things that would prevent me from wanting to kick this can down the road to January, so that’s where I stand here,” she said. 

McGull, too, said he had reservations, particularly insofar as the plan impacts Roanoke Avenue, a small residential road in the Seminole/Holland neighborhood by which 7 Brew traffic would exit the business. 

“Now you’re impacting that small street that has no sidewalk, no gutters or nothing,” he said. “That’s the problem.” 

Mayor Ken McClure countered that the developer proposes to add sidewalks on Roanoke. 


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