Springfield City Council on Dec. 10 held a public hearing for a so-called pocket neighborhood in Rountree that would establish a community within a community.
Council is being asked to approve a redevelopment plan and blight report for the East Cherry Pocket Neighborhood Redevelopment Area. The properties in question for blight are 1361 and 1365 E. Cherry St., located on half an acre north of Cherry Street and Fremont Avenue.
Two vacant residential structures are present, according to city documents, and pictures reviewed by council members showed deterioration on both: foundation cracks, rust, broken windows and electrical problems.
The blight report and redevelopment plan was submitted by Say You Can LLC, which is run by Kelly Byrne in partnership with Springfield native and NBA player Anthony Tolliver. Another of Byrne’s companies, 311 S. Hampton LLC, owns the properties, according to Greene County assessor’s records.
The pocket neighborhood is not the developer’s first attempt to build in Rountree.
Say You Can, known for senior and student housing developments, last year proposed a $5 million mixed-use development with lofts above retail along Cherry Street at Pickwick Avenue, but council turned it down amid a moratorium on rezonings in Rountree. The moratorium ended in December 2017.
Byrne’s latest plans call on the demolition of the two vacant buildings and construction of six attached, two-story single-unit residential townhouses around a central courtyard.
The project is slated to cost $1.4 million, with Say You Can investing an estimated 25 percent equity, according to city documents. A loan would cover the remaining costs, said Sarah Kerner, the city’s director of economic development.
Several Rountree residents at the meeting expressed concerns about parking.
Lisa Lewis lives directly behind the 1361 E. Cherry St. property.
“There are six designated parking places for this development, but yet you could have up to 12 people living there,” she said. “I know that these developers are usually geared toward student housing, so I just have to assume that’s what we’ll have there.”
Council is scheduled to vote Jan. 14 on the development proposal.
Another proposed pocket neighborhood in the city has not yet gained traction. Brad Erwin of Paragon Architecture LLC introduced his 15 single-family home development plan for Oak Grove Commons in January 2017, but he has yet to start construction in the east central Springfield neighborhood. Erwin said he’s run into complications meeting storm water regulations.
P&Z reverses on rentals
Council voted 8-1 to establish a 120-day suspension of the zoning ordinance prohibiting short-term rentals. The lone dissenting vote was Councilman Craig Hosmer.
The suspension gives council time to consider both a tabled bill and a substitute bill, which will come before them on Jan. 14. The suspension gives some relief for the current short-term rental operators, which are operating without legal oversight.
In related action ahead of the December council meeting, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission changed its vote after reviewing the remanded bill.
The commissioners on Dec. 6 voted 5-3 in favor of the substitute bill, with Dee Ogilvy, Natalie Broekhoven and Britton Jobe in opposition. Previously, the P&Z Commission voted unanimously against short-term rental recommendations regarding location restrictions, permit costs, a protest period and certificates of occupancy.
Short-term rental property owners were operating illegally under city code, and the suspension gives city officials more time to regulate after spending most of 2018 debating solutions.
Council tabled the original short-term rental ordinance on Nov. 19 and remanded the substitute bill to P&Z at the same meeting.
P&Z Commissioner Cameron Rose changed his vote to yes after hearing the substitute bill.
“There’s been real progress made here,” he said. “I would acknowledge there’s probably some issues that we could probably spend the next year debating and trying different things before we implemented anything, but to my feeling on it, I think we’re close enough that we can try.”
Rose said the current situation is not acceptable and he wants to give guidance to those who want to operate short-term rentals.
On remaining opposed, Commissioner Jobe said the bill has made some progress, but “in other ways it’s gone backwards.”
The proposed changes in the substitute bill were:
“I’ve got real concerns with the 55 percent sort of reverse protest that appears to have no precedent in our city code,” Jobe said. “I can tell you there’s three nonstarters in here for me. The first is what I just mentioned about the 55 percent requirement. The second is the neighborhood meetings for a Type 2, and the third is a business license for a Type 1.”
Jobe agreed that short-term rentals need regulation, but he doubted whether the substitute bill would address the concerns brought to the commission.
Other council action
Bike enthusiast Cody Stringer is betting his bike share nonprofit will lead to a more bike-friendly city.
As employees are more mobile and have a desire to work from home, Haden Long owner of Ellecor, explains office spaces are trending towards a more home-like feel. Things like shared work spaces, office pets, and cozy furnishings allow employees to be selective about where they work and become more effective as a result.
Every industry has to navigate trend shifts, but Scott Shotts of Missouri Spirits describes the changes in beverage industry as anarchy. Tried-and-true spirits rules are being ignored. Learn how the local distillery balances following the trends for product development with taking risks.
Kevin Wyas, founder of ECRI, started his first business at the age of 19, ran the business for 16 years before selling it. He recognizes the benefits of starting a business so young when he had relatively little to lose. "The stress and the uncertainty of this would be crippling," he says for somebody accustomed to a regular paycheck.
ighty percent of questions are common across industries, so you don't need industry-specific experience to do effective market research according to Debra Kassarjian, independent consultant and owner of DKInsights. As a matter of fact, she thinks there is a great deal to be gained from exchanging ideas outside of your industry.
Danny Collins, 37 North founder and guide, says the biggest leap they took in the first year was to purchase a vehicle. That major financial investment, however, allowed them to provide their outdoor guide services at a price point they felt was more appropriate.
Springfield Diner owner Ömer Önder sits down with a restaurant consultant who starts challenging the menu offerings."No bashful food." The blunt conversation is the launching off point to determine how the Mediterranean influence will affect the young restaurant's offerings in the future. Made to Order is an ongoing sbjLive documentary series in collaboration with Springfield Business Journal tracking the rebranding of a local restaurant.
Haden Long, owner of Ellecor, opened a retail home decor business five years ago in a traditional retail space. When the interior design side of the business took off, she decided to renovate a 100-year old bungalow to better show off product samples and installations.
Scott Shotts, partner with Missouri Spirits, says when they started in 2011 there were approximately 300 distilleries in the U.S. and now there are more than 3,000 so competition has grown significantly. Diversification of their business model has helped them succeed.
Matthew Blystone of Theta Float Spa had the financial means to start the unique business, but used crowdsourcing for pre-orders to determine market interest in addition to gathering a nice cash reserve before opening.
Avery Parrish with the Springfield Regional Arts Council explains how businesses can display local art in their spaces for a fraction of the price of investing in a permanent collection. The corporate partnership program allows a business to select from a customized portfolio of local artists' work curated based on the company's mission and aesthetic that can be switched out every six or 12 months.