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Buc-ee's officials want its local street name to match that of its beaver mascot.
SBJ file
Buc-ee's officials want its local street name to match that of its beaver mascot.

City Beat: Beaver Road? Buc-ee's asks council to make its mascot a street name

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Springfield City Council heard a proposal Dec. 12 to rename North Mulroy Road to North Beaver Road in the northeast corner of the city, where a Buc-ee’s travel center is now under construction.

Buc-ee’s has a grinning beaver as its mascot, and project officials say the name change would be a way to direct travelers to the 100-pump, 53,000-square-foot business once infrastructure changes create large roundabouts at the interchange.

Springfield Planning and Development Director Susan Istenes told City Council it has been a longstanding policy of her department not to support changing a city street name to a company name. However, the department has recommended this change, since “Beaver” refers only indirectly to Buc-ee’s.

In introducing the measure, Istenes noted the name change would apply to the 3100-3399 block of North Mulroy Road – the section leading from Interstate 44 to the Buc-ee’s travel center.

“The applicant is requesting this change to avoid driver confusion and to assist in locating Buc-ee’s from the intersection,” she said.

There were some objections among the Planning & Zoning Commission to changing the name, Istenes said.

“I heard comments to the effect of, how could you not find Buc-ee’s, because it will be so obviously visible from the interstate?” she said.

According to past Springfield Business Journal reporting, Buc-ee’s company officials project $30 million in annual sales from the convenience store, in addition to fuel receipts, and infrastructure improvements accompanying the development are expected to open up 1,000 acres in the area to further development.

John Chamberlain of Kansas City-based engineering firm Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc., representing Buc-ee’s, said the name change came from discussions the developer held with the Missouri Department of Transportation and the city.

“At the end of each one of these ramp terminals, there’s going to be multilane roundabouts,” he said. “This was an attempt to avoid driver confusion and try to help with the operation of those roundabouts.”

He said by providing drivers who don’t know the area with signage to direct them to the correct lane, they can avoid weaving within the roundabout.

Councilperson Abe McGull called the decision a no-brainer because of the size of the capital investment being made by Buc-ee’s – previously reported by SBJ as $50 million-$56 million.

“All this developer is asking for is a piece of the roadway that people turn onto be renamed Beaver,” he said. “This is definitely something I think we should support.”

Istenes offered the similar examples of Mustard Way, a road that serves French’s Food Co. LLC, and Innovation Avenue, which serves Innovative Dental.

Mayor Ken McClure gave other examples of roads whose names had been changed, including Bear Boulevard, which runs through Missouri State University’s campus, and Drury Lane, which enters into Drury University.

No objections or concerns were expressed by any council members during discussion of the issue.

Council will vote on the proposal Jan. 9.

7 Brew redo
Council postponed a vote on a conditional use permit for a 7 Brew Coffee at Sunshine Road and Jefferson Avenue until its meeting Jan. 9. The proposal was first introduced to P&Z on March 10 and first came before council April 4.

Istenes said city staff recommended approval of the permit, which would allow a drive-thru officials say is necessary to the 7 Brew Coffee business plan.

Istenes said the Public Works staff recommends a condition be added to the permit request requiring the developer to 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.

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 deemed necessary, the median would prevent a left turn into 7 Brew from Jefferson, blocking access to the property to 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.

Traffic engineer Brett Foster said staff think that’s an unlikely scenario, as the 7 Brew lanes can accommodate 26 cars at once.

Istenes noted if council decided to add the median requirement, it would have to send the item back to P&Z with that recommendation. Council could alternately table the matter until Jan. 9 to allow staff more time to consider other options for handling traffic to the business.

“You might want to consider that there may not be any alternatives,” Istenes said.

On 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 Monica Horton, Mike Schilling and Craig Hosmer. Matthew Simpson was absent.

Prior to the vote, Istenes said staff had met with the developer’s consultant to consider options.

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

“Why haven’t we met with the neighborhood to see what their concerns with this project are?” he asked.

City Manager Jason Gage replied that staff was asked to examine the traffic issue, and he said the neighborhood concerns are very clear.

Hosmer said there are more issues of concern to neighbors than just traffic, and those 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, citing lack of sidewalks as one of them. The developer’s plans call for adding a sidewalk in the neighborhood.

“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.

Other action items

  • Council will vote Jan. 9 on a rezoning request to change a third of an acre at 1709 S. Sieger Drive to office from single-family residential. Rick Wilson, a representative of the investors in the property, told council the rezoning would allow a business school with some student housing to be located on the site. A record of the P&Z meeting of Nov. 17 notes the school would serve up to three students, with the adult students residing on the property.

An existing single-family structure would be renovated into a business school with classroom space. Owner Sandra Dirksen told SBJ she was not ready to comment on plans for the school.

  • Council approved an annual contract of obligation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for the city to financially secure the Noble Hill Sanitary Landfill for future closure and care.

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