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Springfield City Council is scheduled to vote Sept. 8 on the long-debated rezoning proposal on Lone Pine Avenue.
SBJ file rendering
Springfield City Council is scheduled to vote Sept. 8 on the long-debated rezoning proposal on Lone Pine Avenue.

Council tables Galloway rezoning vote after more debate

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After two hours of public comment last night, Springfield City Council tabled the vote for a long-debated Galloway Village rezoning request to its Sept. 8 meeting.

The rezoning of 4 acres on 3535 S. Lone Pine Ave. would make way for a mixed-use development, dubbed Treadway, by Elevation Development Co. The project, which includes retail, office, restaurant space and two multifamily buildings, has been largely opposed by Galloway Village residents since its introduction in 2018.

Council extended the public hearing from its Aug. 10 meeting because of the number of residents who were unable to sign up to speak before the deadline. Overall, 51 people spoke between the two meetings, with an almost even split between those for and those against the development.

Those who have spoken in opposition of the project have largely cited increased traffic issues, stormwater issues and the aesthetics and size of the project, while those in support have pointed to the continued economic development of the Galloway Village area.

Councilperson Matthew Simpson moved to table the vote until next month to allow council members to consider the additional public input and to allow city staff to facilitate a modification offered by developer Mitch Jenkins. Council unanimously agreed on the motion.

After hearing continued concerns of neighborhood members, Jenkins said during the public hearing last night that he would like to amend the rezoning case to lower the height of the project. It will be the second time he’s done so in recent months, as Jenkins’ project was revised last month to reduce the scale of the buildings along Lone Pine Avenue to two stories and the building height to a maximum of 45 feet. The buildings that are more than 60 feet from the street have a height limit of 60 feet, according to city documents.

“As a result of listening to the concerns of the neighborhood this evening, it’s apparent that the height of our western-most residential structure is a concern, and our design team and engineers would like to look at potential modifications,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins could not be reached for comment by deadline on the new height planned for the development.

City employees were unsure at the council meeting about how to make the modification to the rezoning case without triggering the need for an additional public hearing. Staff members said tabling the vote to next month would give them time to iron out the details.

Jenkins said he’s used the Galloway Redevelopment Plan – which includes parameters for preservation of significant structures, height and buffer requirements, and increased space for pedestrians and cyclists – as his “north star” in designing the development. Some speakers claimed the project did not meet the height and density requirements in the plan, though it was approved by the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission last month.

“Since March of 2018, we have designed and redesigned this development as we listen to the community’s needs,” Jenkins said at the meeting. “The facts show that we meet each of the guidelines.”

Greg Horton, CEO and co-founder of Integrity Home Care and Hospice, spoke in favor of the development, noting Jenkins and project architect H Design Group LLC have made changes over the last two years to adhere to neighborhood concerns and the Galloway Redevelopment Plan.

“When developers consider such economic development projects, certainty is a critical element. The certainty that if they play by the rules and follow the appropriate processes, that they will be granted the ability to move forward,” said Horton, speaking before council as a Springfield resident. “This developer has consistently played by the rules over the last two and a half years. … These developers have earned the right to proceed with this well-designed development.”

Bart Huscher, who co-owns About Faces Photography Inc. that is directly north of the planned development, said the project would permanently damage his photography business. Huscher’s wife, Wendy, is treasurer for the Galloway Village Neighborhood Association and also has been vocal in her opposition of the project. Bart Huscher also spoke at the council meeting as a Springfield resident, with a house near Galloway Village.

“(The development) will impact our ability to do business as we’ve done for all these years and will infringe on my property rights,” said Huscher. “Our business is distinctive in that we have an outdoor portrait park with a pond, several waterfalls and even a 100-year-old barn. All these natural park-like settings will be ruined, not only during the noisy construction process with all of the excavation and rock-breaking necessary to build an underground parking garage, but permanently due to the destruction of the scenery from the perspective of our property.”

Jerry Pollock, owner of marketing company The Pollock Co. LLC, said the developer hadn’t compromised with the neighborhood on the aesthetics or density of the project. While Jenkins lowered the planned multifamily development along Lone Pine Avenue to two stories, neighborhood members also are asking that the multifamily development that is over 60 feet away from the street be lowered in height and density.

“This development in its current state is an ugly, giant, smelly clown shoe being forced on the foot of a tiny, delicate princess. This shoe does not fit,” said Pollock.

Treadway is named after the family who owned the Sequiota Store/Treadway’s General Store & Gas Station, built in 1929, on the property. Jenkins’ plans include keeping the four existing, vacant structures on the site – including the former Sequiota Bike Shop, which he said would reopen if the development is approved.

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