by Karen E. Culp
Springfield Victory Mission may not move to a site near the intersection of Chestnut Expressway and Kansas Expressway following a "no" vote from City Council on rezoning the property.
A council bill that would have changed the zoning of the proposed
site from a heavy manufacturing district to a planned development district failed, with only Teri Hacker, Tom Carlson
and Conrad Griggs voting for the measure.
Shelia Wright abstained from voting since she is a member of the mission's board. The remaining council members and Mayor Lee Gannaway voted against the rezoning matter, citing large numbers of citizens opposed to the mission's move.
The mission was acting in accordance with an ordinance passed last year that included a provision that allows a shelter to transfer its development rights to a new location. Following passage of that ordinance, and because an anonymous donor had given the mission this land, it decided to proceed to relocate and expand its facility, said Rev. Jim Harriger, executive director.
"We thought this would be a good opportunity to expand," Harriger said.
Council members' reactions to the contentious issue were varied. Hacker pointed out that she felt it was the role of government to encourage private, nonprofit groups to provide the human services government could not provide as well.
"If we didn't have these social services, government would have to provide those, and we simply couldn't do it very well. How can we not support these organizations? They're given land, goods and people volunteer to help them; if we don't support them, then none of that happens," Hacker said.
Councilman Bob Vanaman expressed his opposition to the mission's move, citing a petition signed by 300 residents in that area of town and concerns of local businesses, such as the Paul Mueller Company and Wilcox Trucking.
"I fear that with the Salvation Army so close to this site that we're going to have some concentration of services, and I want us to avoid that," Vanaman said.
That the mission wants to increase its number of beds was one portion of the issue Hacker addressed.
"We need to look at what's really happening here. They've got 65 beds currently for emergency beds. They're asking for another facility with a total of 100 beds, 54 for emergency and 46 for other uses, such as sobering and dormitory uses. They're actually giving up 11 emergency beds. And the beds to be used for sobering are necessary because those individuals would have to do that in jail otherwise, and we don't have the jail space nor do we want the jail used in that way," Hacker said.
Harriger said he was disappointed in the failure of the issue, and that he and the mission's board would have to research what to do next. Any move would be met with a similar reaction,
"Anywhere we try to go in Springfield, we're going to hear this 'not in my back yard' argument. What is
really upsetting to me is that this decision was made based on half-truths. Anyone can get up and address City Council and make statements about a cause that are only half-true, and those statements are eventually taken as fact," Harriger said.
No site will affect no one, Harriger said, and he also rejected arguments to locate the shelter in another portion of town, saying the evangelical organization needed to be where the need is.
"Would you locate a facility like this on the south side of town, where there is no need for it? How would those in need get to the place? We need to be where we are needed. It's ridiculous to suggest moving this service to a part of town where there is no need," Harriger said.
Two other topics also dominated the May 26 meeting: one having to do with the limiting of speaking time for those who wish to address council on certain matters, and the other with the extension of Jefferson Avenue.
The resolution to limit each side of an issue's speaking time at a protracted public hearing to 20 minutes was sent to the council's Governmental Regulations and Oversight Committee for further review, but a comment period on the proposal was allowed.
Former candidate for the Zone 1 council seat Virgil Hill said the measure threatens to "restrict substantially the ability of the public to speak" and be heard at public hearings.
Virginia Wood, president of the Springfield Neighborhood Coalition Congress, said the ability to speak at public hearings is "the only power grassroots people have."
The extension of Jefferson Avenue for a block and a half area south of Seminole Street prompted another lengthy debate. The improvement is part of several capital improvements financed by the quarter-cent capital improvement tax, renewed for another round of improvements in February.
For the first phase of the Jefferson Avenue improvement, $700,000 will be set aside out of that tax collection over the next three years. Traffic concerns, debate over whether the road should be as wide as it will be, and concern for the breaking up of a neighborhood were cited by several concerned residents.
The resolution was to have been voted on May 26, but because a letter was sent to residents saying the vote would not come until June 8, the matter was tabled until council's next meeting.
Summary of Actions
for the meeting of May 26, 1998
Council members in attendance were Mayor Lee Gannaway, Mayor Pro Tem Teri Hacker, Zone 4 Councilman Russell Rhodes, Zone 3 Councilman Conrad Griggs, Zone 2 Councilwoman Sheila Wright, Zone 1 Councilman Bob Vanaman, General Councilman Tom Carlson, General Councilman Gary Gibson and General Councilman Bob Chancellor.
The Partnership Industrial Center presented a check in the amount of $345,577.
Council Bills for Public Hearing
98-198. Adopts a budget for the Special Business District for July 1, 1998, to June 30, 1999.
First Reading Bills
98-199. Provides for appeals from notices or orders issued under Article II to a hearing officer appointed by the city manager.
98-200. Amends the city code as follows: Sections 20-183, Definitions; 20-192, Hearings on Charges; and 20-193, False Alarm Fines; and Section 20-193.5, Duties of Alarm Business, is added.
98-201. Approves the disposition of excess city property.
98-202. Levies a tax to pay for the construction of sanitary sewers at Thompson Place and Biloxi Avenue and includes that district in the alternative assessment pilot program by capping the current assessment and special tax bill at a maximum of $5,800 for each parcel.
98-203. Appropriates $5 million for construction of stormwater improvements and authorizes the construction of improvements and the issuance of stormwater improvement bonds.
98-204. Adopts special procedures for protracted public hearings. This bill was tabled and referred to the Governmental Relations and Oversight Committee.
98-205. Directs staff to apply to the Missouri Historic Preservation Program for acceptance as a Certified Local Government. Approved unanimously.
98-206. Accepts the recommendation for the Jefferson Avenue roadway improvement project, which would be completed in two phases. This bill was tabled.
98-207. Designates Cherry Mansion, 1330 Cherry Street, as a historic site. Approved unanimously.
Second Reading and Final Passage
98-167. Rezones about 1 1/2 acres at the southeast corner of Campbell Avenue and Walnut Lawn Street from a general retail district to Planned Development District No. 216. Approved 5-4.
98-168. Rezones the Landers Theater with a landmarks district as an overlay zoning district. Approved unanimously.
98-169. Rezones the Keet-McElhaney House with a landmarks district as an overlay zoning district. Approved unanimously.
98-171. Rezones nearly 50 acres of land at the northwest corner of Republic and Cox roads from a Greene County C-2 district to a general retail district. Approved unanimously.
98-172. Rezones about six acres of land at the northeast corner of Republic and Scenic from a single-family residential district to a general retail district. Approved unanimously.
98-173. Rezones 1 1/4 acres of land at the northeast corner of Kansas Expressway and Water Street from a heavy manufacturing district to Planned Development District No. 218. This bill failed 3-4 with one abstention.
98-174. Adopts a budget for the city of Springfield for July 1, 1998, through June 30, 1999. Approved 8-0 with one abstention.
98-175. Levies a tax on real and personal property for current expenses and debt retirement of the city of Springfield, its boards and agencies for 1998-99. Approved unanimously.
Consent Agenda First Reading Bills
98-208. Approves preliminary plat of Marian's Estate on the north side of East Republic Road between National and Fremont Avenues.
Consent Agenda One Reading Bills
The following bills on the Consent Agendas were approved unanimously in one action.
98-209. Approves the bid of Hartman and Company for the Grand Street Improvements, phase IIIA, New Avenue to Lexington Avenue.
Consent Agenda Second Reading Bills
98-170. Annexes 1.95 acres of land adjacent to city limits north of the 2500 block of West Kearney, between Kearney Street and Pfeiffer Road, and just north of the city boundary.
98-177. Adopts new fees for certain city services in order to recover all or part of the cost.
98-180. Approves plans for the Lake Springfield trunk sewer.
98-181. Authorizes acceptance of bids for the Phosphorous Demonstration Project at the Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant and the award to Davis Structure Development Corp., and amends the budget for the Public Works Department in the amount of $550,000.
98-182. Authorizes the traffic engineer to close Walnut Street between John Q. Hammons Parkway and National Avenue, and John Q. Hammons Parkway between Walnut Street and Cherry Street on the first weekend of October for Cider Days.
98-183. Authorizes the expenditure of up
to $40,000 for relocation assistance for residents of the Seville Hotel displaced by change of ownership and adaptive reuse of the building.
98-185. Amends the city code by adding two sections regarding exemptions for police dogs; amends Chapter 26, and adds a new section for interfering with or injuring a police dog.
98-186. Authorizes the city manager to enter into contract with Joe Costello and Charles D. Hoke for construction of Joint Sanitary Sewer District 111 of 16.
98-187. Establishes a sanitary sewer district in the 3600 block of South Delaware Avenue.
98-188. Establishes a sanitary sewer district in the 3300 block of West Nichols Street.
98-189. Establishes a sanitary sewer district in the 3100 block of West Nichols Street.
98-190. Establishes a sanitary sewer district in the 3300 block of West Calhoun Street.
98-191. Establishes a sanitary sewer district in the 4700 block of South Campbell Avenue.
98-192. Establishes a sanitary sewer district in the 3600 block of South Leawood Avenue.
98-193. Establishes a sanitary sewer district in the 4100 block of West Sunshine Street.
98-194. Approves the construction of additional sanitary sewers in the 1700 block of East Kearney Street.
98-195. Approves the construction of additional sanitary sewers in the 5600 block of South Campbell Avenue.
98-196. Approves the construction of additional sanitary sewers in the 1700 block of South Delaware Avenue.
Council confirmed the appointment of Gary Cunningham to the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Board.
Council confirmed the appointment of David Gingery and Jan Preston to the Public Housing Authority.
Council confirmed the appointment of Todd Chambers to the Traffic Advisory Board.
Council confirmed the reappointment of William Kirkman to the Airport Board.
Council confirmed the reappointments of Lois Zerrer and Sandra Lowther to the Art Museum Board.
Petitions, Remonstrances and Communications
John D. Griggs spoke regarding issues of poverty in Springfield.
Mayor Gannaway recommended the appointments of George Vanderbilt and Dennis Dobard to the Traffic Advisory Board, terms to expire April 1, 2001.
Surgical tech workers are in high demand, officials say.