A botched vote on a historic designation for the former Sequiota Store/Treadway’s General Store & Gas Station was a focal point of conflict at the June 3 City Council meeting.
Galloway Village residents were at the center of the biggest issue at the meeting, with council voting 5-4 to deny a city historic designation at 3535 S. Lone Pine Ave. The ruling favors the property owner.
Initially, the vote was cast in favor of the designation on the Springfield Historic Register, but confusion arose from Mayor Ken McClure’s vote.
The final speaker on the legislation, the mayor voiced his opposition, but when the votes were cast, the lighted board showed McClure in favor.
The joyful emotions of the roughly 30 Galloway residents as they exited council chambers faded when the vote was retaken; a few returned upon hearing the new ruling.
The Galloway Neighborhood Association applied for the historic site designation. Property owner Mitch Jenkins told council the application was without his consent. In addition, Jenkins’ Elevation Enterprises LLC owns the former Sequiota Bike Shop next door and undeveloped land to the north.
Council has added seven properties to the Springfield Historic Register in the last 20 years, said Planning & Development Director Mary Lilly Smith, though in each case the property owner had filed or was in favor of the designation.
To Galloway residents, the ruling puts the future of one of the last historic buildings in the area in jeopardy. The Sequiota Store/Treadway’s General Store & Gas Station was built in 1929, though the building has since had roof and window work along with physical additions, according to city documents.
Property owner Jenkins said the neighborhood association never contacted him. He said he was surprised when he received an email from the city on April 2 about the application for the designation.
“I cannot support or consent to the nomination. I feel it is a threat to our owners’ property rights,” Jenkins told council.
Wendy Huscher, treasurer of the Galloway Village Neighborhood Association, said the group met with Jenkins in July 2018 to discuss a planned four-story, multiuse building at the site across from Sequiota Park.
“The Galloway neighbors did not even know that 3535 S. Lone Pine might be included in this plan,” Huscher told council. “We expressed at that time we did not want to lose our historic building.”
The Springfield Landmarks Board, represented at the meeting by member Kaitlyn McConnell, also supported the nomination.
“It’s clear there’s a lot of memories that stick out to people and that is something that resonates with a lot of them,” McConnell said to council. “When you think of a landmark, what is a landmark? Is it something that’s old? Is it something that’s architecturally valuable? Or is it something that means something to someone? I think that is something that’s open for interpretation.”
She said the site met two criteria the board considers: that it is adjacent to a park and exemplifies the cultural, political, economic, social or historical heritage of the community. The ruling was conflicting for multiple council members who weighed historic preservation against property rights. Abe McGull, Jan Fisk and Andrew Lear all voiced their desire to table the legislation – an option not available for the resolution.
Councilmen Lear, Craig Hosmer, Mike Schilling and Matthew Simpson voted in favor of the historic designation, with opposition from McClure, McGull, Fisk, Phyllis Ferguson and Richard Ollis.
Eden Village tabled
A rezoning request for the second location of Eden Village was back on council’s desk – but not for long. The bill was tabled again until June 17.
The proposal to rezone 5 acres at 3303 W. Division St. to a commercial service district from light industrial was first heard on May 6.
Ferguson made the motion to table, citing review from the Plans and Policies Committee. It was tabled on a 5-4 vote, with Schilling, Lear, Hosmer and Ollis in opposition.
Council raised concerns about the tiny homes community fitting into an area surrounded by industrial zoning.
“We’ve discussed with the applicant, and they are aware that whatever they would place there would not be able to meet the definition of manufactured home,” Smith said.
Hosmer said the rezoning request is consistent with others.
“It’s our obligation at this point to look at whether the zoning is appropriate,” he said.
Once put to a vote, a supermajority of six votes would be required for passage due to the city receiving a sufficient protest petition.
Council passed the city budget with a unanimous vote. The budget is set at $381 million for the 2020 fiscal year, beginning July 1. Council also established the personal property tax levy at roughly 62 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The levy may be adjusted in August based on the tax levies provided by the state auditor, according to city documents.
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