The fate of a Galloway Village rezoning request has been further delayed to the Sept. 21 Springfield City Council meeting.
At its Sept. 8 meeting, council approved an amendment to the rezoning bill for the proposed mixed-use project called Treadway. It was followed by nearly an hour of public discussion, with most speaking out against the amendment and project.
The amendment, which was proposed Sept. 2 by developer Mitch Jenkins of Elevation Development Co., passed 7-2. Council members Mike Schilling and Craig Hosmer voted against the proposal. The decision means the rezoning bill is set for a likely final council vote Sept. 21.
Jenkins is seeking to rezone roughly 4 acres at 3535 S. Lone Pine Ave. for the development. Many Galloway Village residents have been critical of the project first introduced in 2018 that seeks to bring retail, office, restaurant space and two multifamily buildings to the area.
In the approved amendment, Elevation Development is decreasing the height limit to 56 feet from 60 feet for buildings that are more than 60 feet from the street. A planned underground parking garage also is being removed, with city staff noting the action reduces the amount of grading.
However, the amendment also reconfigures parking spaces for the development, requiring the removal of eight existing trees and the addition of a retaining wall not to exceed 8 feet, said city Director of Planning and Development Mary Lilly Smith.
During the Sept. 8 public hearing on the rezoning, a total of 16 residents spoke, with 13 opposed to the amendment and the project.
“The consistent problem with this development is the attempt to cram too much into too small of a space,” said resident Tom O’Connell. “A 4-foot reduction in height and removing eight more trees from the initial 279 is not a compromise and still does not belong in Galloway.”
Melanie Bach, president of the Galloway Village Neighborhood Association, said the amendment does nothing to address concerns of the total units and density of the project.
“It is absurd, almost obscene, the amount of the city’s time and money that has been wasted on this to be the end product that we’re presented with,” she said.
Resident Justin Skinner was among the few at the meeting defending the amendment and project at large.
“I believe the amendment is proof that the developer, Mitch Jenkins, has listened and will listen, and is able to adjust his plans accordingly,” he said.
Jenkins previously revised his plan by reducing the scale of the buildings along Lone Pine Avenue to two stories and the building height to a 45-foot maximum, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
The public hearing on the amendment was continued to the Sept. 21 council meeting, prior to the rezoning bill vote.
City Utilities budget
Amy Derdall, chief financial officer and associate general manager for City Utilities, presented the utility’s annual budget to council for a first reading.
The budget estimates $599 million in receipts in fiscal 2021, with roughly half generated from electric bills. Natural gas makes up nearly 15% in receipts, according to the budget. Receipts in fiscal 2020 were roughly $570 million, Derdall said.
Budget expenditures are estimated at $591 million for fiscal 2021, with fuels expected to have a modest increase from the prior year, accounting for roughly 27% of the total.
“That’s more so driven by volume metric amounts, based on the fact we had warmer weather in 2020,” Derdall said.
CU’s fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. Council plans to vote on the budget Sept. 21.
General Manager Gary Gibson provided an update to CU’s $120 million fiber optic network project through its SpringNet division. He said the project, which started in February, has been in progress throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Preparation work, including tree trimming and hanging fiber optic lines on utility poles, has been completed for the first of seven areas of town in which the project is divided.
The public-private partnership with CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) plans to roll out gigabit internet service to over 90,000 potential users in the Springfield boundary market, according to past SBJ reporting. Gibson said CenturyLink has in excess of 100 customers signed up thus far for system testing.
“We’ve spent approximately $37.4 million already to get us where we’re at in this project,” he said, noting it will have around a 27-month construction time period.
Other action items:
Council unanimously passed an ordinance to provide city staff members the authority to condemn rights-of-way for construction and easements through properties near the intersection of South Campbell Avenue and West Republic Road.
The authorization allows the city to complete the widening of Republic Road from three to five lanes, add bike lanes, and make stormwater and sidewalk improvements. The project is funded through the one-eighth-cent capital improvement sales tax, as well as state and federal funds. Project bids will be released in December.
Council also unanimously passed a bill approving the replacement of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems in the laboratory and administration building at the Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant. MSI Constructors was approved as the low bidder at $675,000. The systems have exceeded their useful life, according to city documents.
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