Springfield, MO

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City Beat

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by Karen E. Culp

City Council approved an ordinance at its Oct. 12 meeting that will rezone about half an acre on the corner of Battlefield Road and Parkview Avenue from single-family residential to a planned development district. The tract of land had been before council for rezoning to an office use in the spring of 1997.

The office rezoning failed, and Teresa Zucchini-McClish purchased the property in the spring of 1998, knowing that she wanted to place her insurance business, an American Family Insurance office, in the house that now sits on the property.

Instead of working for an office zoning, which was a much broader use, Zucchini-McClish decided on a planned development, which was more limiting, to quell the fears of residents in the area about a commercial use going in that area.

An office zoning would permit various uses, including even a crematorium, which alarmed several citizens when the previous owner tried to rezone the property in the spring of 1997.

"We went with the planned development basically to limit the use and calm the concerns of the neighborhood," Zucchini-McClish said.

The area surrounding what will be the new office is residential, but the tract where the insurance office will sit is a very busy corner, with lots of traffic and visibility, Zucchini-McClish said.

"The spot has great visibility for us," Zucchini-McClish said.

The former house is a one-story structure that is 3,500 square feet. Zucchini-McClish plans to move in by the end of November or the first of December. Zucchini-McClish said there are two houses to the west of her property that want to be rezoned for a commercial use and that is only a matter of time before there are more commercial uses in the area.

Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approving the matter, but staff recommended denial, largely because the measure had failed in the previous office-zoning case, said Ralph Rognstad, assistant director of Planning and Development for the city.

The bill passed with three votes against from Councilwoman Shelia Wright and Councilmen Bob Chancellor and Russell Rhodes.

The council also voted to table a bill authorizing an infrastructure and access agreement with Thompson Sales Company for its potential location at Independence Avenue and Fremont. The ordinance, tabled because of a language change, will make improvements to those streets to improve traffic flow at the site.

Though council members and staff have asserted that this ordinance is separate from the ordinance that will authorize the city to begin condemnation proceedings on land to be acquired for Civic Park, the Thompson company will have to move its dealership once the city acquires its property on St. Louis Street for the park.

Lynn Thompson said the company is waiting to see what happens with the Civic Park property negotiations before it commits to the move to Independence.

The council tabled the ordinance dealing with the Thompson agreement because language in the ordinance that was not as specific as language in those types of agreements has been, said Howard Wright, city attorney. Wright said the language, which authorizes a new car dealership rather than the general retail sales of the previous draft, is always that specific on developer agreements.

"In the past, when we've entered into these agreements, we've always tried to be as specific as possible about the use that was going onto that property. If, for example a different type of use were to go into that area, it would change the amount of sales tax collected, and therefore change the agreement," Wright said.

Developer agreements are those in which the developer typically agrees to pay for certain improvements to roadways or other infrastructure, and is then reimbursed by the city.

The Thompson developer agreement will be voted on at the next council meeting. It was a second reading bill at this council meeting.

In other business, Councilman Bob Chancellor announced that the Cable Television Advisory Committee would meet at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 in council chambers to begin discussion of the acquisition of TCI by AT&T.

The public is invited to come and discuss the proposed merger of the two companies. Meetings are also planned for 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Brentwood Library and for 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at Robberson Elementary School.

The council also passed a resolution adopting a revised schedule for the installation of phosphorus treatment facilities at the Southwest Wastewater Treatment plant. The contracts for those improvements are to be open for bidding by the end of 1999.

Council also held a first reading on a bill to create the Springfield Center City Development Corporation, a corporation which will handle the financing for Civic Park. The project will be similar to a public building corporation, said city manager Tom Finnie.

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