A project to convert the former Boyd Elementary School into apartments was given the green light by members of Springfield City Council at its regular meeting last night.
Council approved a rezoning measure that will change the designation of the property, located at 1409-1429 N. Washington Ave., to planned development from a single-family residential district.
A protest petition signed by 38.1% of owners of property located within 185 feet of the school meant that approval of a supermajority of council members was required for the bill to pass. Council’s approval was unanimous with a 9-0 vote.
At a public hearing April 3, the majority the 10 speakers expressed support for the development. The Boyd School Redevelopment Corp., led by Matt Blevins, plans to transform the school into a 17-unit apartment building with 3,500 square feet at ground level reserved for a commercial tenant. Restore SGF, a city organization dedicated to rehabbing older homes, is interested in renting that space, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
However, some members were opposed to the development on the basis of alcohol possibly being sold on the premises.
Last night, Councilmember Craig Hosmer pointed out a list of requirements for the planned development. The requirements specify that no bar or nightclub will be permitted on the site. There remains a possibility of a restaurant tenant, but Hosmer noted that hours of operation are limited to 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
An additional comment period was held last night to address a council amendment limiting the proposed development to 20 dwelling units; the planned development would have allowed 24, though only 17 are in the developer’s current plans.
Two speakers expressed their support of the amended plan. One, Marie Wood, an eight-year member of the Midtown neighborhood board, commented that not one adult living on North Washington Avenue will be living in those houses 1,000 years from now, but their grandchildren might.
“They will live there not because things stayed the same, but because new spaces were existing and inviting,” she said. “Please do not let some perceived notion of perfection be the enemy of the good. If you approve the Boyd development as submitted, you will be tethering a bright future to the elegance and traditions that have made Midtown a great place to live.”
Last night, council also unanimously passed an ordinance placing certain restrictions on the use of recreational marijuana. The ordinance reiterates state law, which prohibits possession of marijuana by people under the age of 21 or in amounts exceeding 3 ounces. It also restricts public consumption of marijuana or consumption in motor vehicles. Additionally, smoke and odor from marijuana may not emanate from a nonpublic location into a public one.
Operators of motor vehicles may not consume marijuana, and passengers may not ingest it while a vehicle is being operated. Additionally, in the new city law marijuana may not be consumed in a motor vehicle parked in a public place.
The Boyd school and marijuana bills were among several of the measures passed by council before three new members – Callie Carroll, Brandon Jenson and Derek Lee – were sworn in at the halfway point of the meeting. Members Andrew Lear, Richard Ollis and Mike Schilling then stepped away from council, having chosen not to run for reelection.
The new members, with returning members Monica Horton, Abe McGull and Mayor Ken McClure, were sworn in prior to the new business portion of the meeting.
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