A rezoning bill was met with some resident pushback during Springfield City Council’s Aug. 13 meeting.
Council members heard from eight residents on a public hearing bill to rezone about 8 acres at 2700 E. Battlefield Road to general retail from a single-family residential district. The bill requests to establish Conditional Overlay District No. 151 at the southwest corner of Battlefield Road and Lone Pine Avenue.
Nearby residents are concerned about sign visibility, Sequiota Park access and traffic increases.
“You’re taking park-like neighborhoods, and you’re turning them into over-commercialized zones,” Dayna Aust told council members.
Other neighbors expressed similar feelings during the public hearing, which originally was set for July 30 but was tabled at the request of the applicants, Briarcliff Investments LLC and resident John Gentry.
“We bought a house to live in a middle class neighborhood, and I feel like that’s going away,” Tanya Vaughn said.
The land up for rezoning is part of a 16-acre parcel owned by Briarcliff Investments LLC, et al., according to Greene County assessor records, and Gentry owns a home on an acre along the property’s western edge in Lakeside.
Briarcliff Investments LLC is registered to Chester P. Carson Jr., according to Missouri secretary of state filings. A Greene County assessor map shows Carson owns a 5-acre residential parcel off of Lone Pine Avenue and the Briarcliff Investments’ property wraps around it.
When asked what sort of businesses would be going in, Springfield Principal Planner Bob Hosmer said he wasn’t aware.
City staff and the Springfield Planning & Zoning Commission recommend approval.
Staff members noted the properties on the other three corners at the intersection have been rezoned to general retail over the years – now Half-a-Hill Shopping Center, Battlefield Towers strip center and a CVS Pharmacy store.
Geoffrey Butler of architecture firm Butler, Rosenbury & Partners Inc. represented the applicants during the public hearing.
“The topography of the site limits potential development of the site to less than 50 percent of a normal greenfield site,” Butler told council.
“It is a mountain. It is not a flat piece of ground.”
Butler said the property owner has not determined development plans for the area.
Gentry and Carson could not be reached for comment by press time.
Butler said a traffic impact study would be required at the time of development to cover road widening and turn lanes.
According to information provided by the Springfield Public Works Traffic Division, the most recent traffic count on Battlefield Road west of Lone Pine Avenue is 25,536 vehicles per day. The traffic count south of Battlefield on Lone Pine is 5,952 per day.
The vote on the rezoning is scheduled for Aug. 27.
The Rountree Area Neighborhood plan is in the process of being updated, and Senior Planner Alana Owen presented a couple of recommendations to council.
“One of the recommendations that has come out of the planning effort is an expansion of their urban conservation district boundaries,” she said.
The bill before council members declares the intent to include property west of Delaware Avenue, east of Glenstone Avenue, south of Grand Street and north of Elm Street, according to council materials. Another recommendation is for an expansion of neighborhood association boundaries on both sides of Elm Street, Owen said.
Council voted 6-0 to give city staff and neighborhood officials the green light to study expanding the boundaries. Councilman Craig Hosmer abstained and councilmen Tom Prater and Mike Schilling were absent.
West Bypass annexation
Council voted unanimously in favor of initiating the annexation of 9 acres on the west side of the 3200 block of South West Bypass.
“The property is within the urban service area,” Hosmer said.
“The property is contiguous to the existing city limits and the comprehensive plan does support the annexation request.”
The annexation is scheduled to be addressed by council on Sept. 10 and Sept. 24.
“I’d like to see the city’s long-term plan on annexation because it seems like we still sort of have a gerrymandered city outline that maybe we should work on trying to make a more consistent area,” councilman Hosmer said.
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