After more than three months of meetings, amendments and deliberations, Springfield City Council on Nov. 5 voted 5-3 to rezone 8 acres in southeast Springfield to general retail from single-family residential.
The vote ends a conversation that began Aug. 13 on a bill that later was amended twice to limit the scope of potential development. It previously faced heavy criticism from nearby Galloway Village neighborhood residents, who cited potential issues with traffic and the preservation of the greenspace and natural topography at 2700 E. Battlefield Road.
Residents near the southwest corner of Lone Pine Avenue and Battlefield Road reiterated the concerns the night of the vote.
“The heart of the issue is that general retail is not the best zoning option for this parcel,” resident Zeb Ayres said. “As a textbook example of infill development, this parcel has many aspects which will make it a challenge to develop for commercial uses while also protecting the interests of the neighborhood.”
Council members voting in favor of the rezoning were Ken McClure, Matthew Simpson, Richard Ollis, Jan Fisk and Andrew Lear, the new councilman sworn in to start the meeting. Council members Craig Hosmer, Mike Schilling and Phyllis Ferguson voted against the rezoning, while Tom Prater was absent.
“We’re making a change that’s going to affect a thousand property owners in the city of Springfield,” Hosmer said. “This is not a well-thought-out plan. I think it’s premature. I think it’s not far-sighted.”
Hosmer said the Galloway neighborhood is unique in Springfield, and he spoke critically of the 2014 measure to blight property in the area to encourage development.
With the rezoning, property owner Briarcliff Investments LLC can sell it to an interested buyer, who has not been named. Medical office space is planned for the acreage, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
“We’re making a change for someone that might buy a piece of property, that might develop property, that might do something with this property,” Hosmer said. “We don’t really know what they’re going to do, we don’t know what they’re going to build, we don’t know how they’re going to develop it.”
Galloway redevelopment delay
After narrowly approving the Battlefield and Lone Pine rezoning measure, council unanimously passed a resolution imposing an administrative delay on the acceptance and processing of applications for rezoning and lot combinations within the Galloway Redevelopment Area and land to the north. The agreed-upon delay will last 270 days from Nov. 5.
The Galloway Redevelopment Area wraps around Sequiota Park and stretches to the south to Republic Road, across the street from Conco Cos.’ Galloway Quarry. The administrative delay also covers the area from Battlefield Road and Lone Pine Avenue, including the contested rezoning at 2700 E. Battlefield Road, and heads south on the east side to meet the Galloway Redevelopment Area, according to a city map.
Marcie Kirkup, a board member of the Galloway Village Neighborhood Association, addressed council about the need for the resolution.
“I’m here tonight deeply disappointed, overwhelmingly concerned, but ultimately to request your support of this resolution,” she said. “It is responsive to the overwhelming petition by your constituents.”
Kirkup asked for more planning in development and for residents to be included throughout the whole development processes.
“The resolution before you is a good start toward collaboration and good faith among all stakeholders,” she said.
During the delay period, city staff will collect input from area residents, property owners, design professionals, and the business and development community for a report to City Council with appropriate changes, according to city documents.
The delay would not change or amend the zoning code, and it does not prevent all development, only those requiring rezoning or the combination of lots, according to city documents.
Rezoning and annexation
Council unanimously annexed and rezoned 13 acres at three private properties on East Farm Road 188, just to the south of the Mercy Orthopedic Hospital along U.S. Highway 65.
The bill seeks to rezone the properties, at 3192, 3194 and 3196 E. Farm Road 188, to general retail to allow for the development of office uses, according to city documents.
According to Greene County assessor records, the owners of the properties are One Eighty-Eight LLC and GLO DDS Properties LLC.
The annexation public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 10 with a second reading and vote scheduled Jan. 14, 2019. The rezoning hearing is not yet scheduled.
Council also heard a rezoning proposal for 5 acres at 3040 E. Cherry St.
Applicant Excel Investments LP seeks a change to general retail from a low-density multifamily residential district.
The property is part of a larger 36-acre parcel planned to be subdivided into a two-lot subdivision named Cherry Hills Village, according to city Planning and Zoning Commission meeting minutes. The 5 acres are at the southeast corner of South Union Avenue and East Cherry Street.
During a public hearing in front of the city Planning and Zoning Commission, owner representative Andrew Schaub said plans call for a members-only style dog park with day care and kenneling services, according to city documents.
A vote is scheduled Nov. 19.
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