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Council considers rezoning for second Eden Village

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A rezoning that would pave the way for a second Eden Village was opposed by nearby property owners during the public hearing at last night’s City Council meeting.

Jet View LLC, the applicant and property owner, is seeking a zoning change to commercial service district from a light industrial district for 5 acres at 3303 W. Division St. The site proposed for the second Eden Village is about 6 miles west of the first tiny homes development for the homeless created by The Gathering Tree at 2801 E. Division St.

Jet View representative Aaron Wiley Loyd told council the property owner intends to donate the vacant land to the nonprofit Gathering Tree.

Nate Schlueter, chief operating officer for Eden Village, said the rezoning proposal is part of greater expansion plans.

“Eden Village plans to build multiple Eden Villages throughout town in each and every district to house disabled people that are currently sleeping on our streets,” he said, echoing a statement to Springfield Business Journal last year.

Those in opposition last night felt the development would not fit into the area since it is surrounded by industrial and manufacturing districts on three sides, among other concerns.

Lee Viorel, an attorney at Lowther Johnson Attorneys at Law LLC, represented a group of surrounding property owners and spoke to council in opposition of the rezoning.

“While we applaud the concept of dealing with homelessness in the city, it’s our position that to attempt to deal with it at this location, 3033 W. Division, is a mistake,” he said.

Aaron Greer, owner of the nearby Faith Paving LLC at 3244 W. Division St., said the area is noisy and dusty, which does not lend itself well to another Eden Village.

“I don’t understand why the zoning would be appropriate for the type of businesses that are around there,” he said. “They’re wanting to put in a residential community right here and that is not appropriate.”

According to minutes from the Springfield Planning & Zoning Commission’s April 11 meeting, Jet View is planning to develop the site for a recreational vehicle park.

“I feel like that Eden Village is using loopholes in the law to apply for commercial services – an RV park – but it’s not going to be an RV park,” Greer said, also pointing to safety and property value concerns.

Council is scheduled to vote May 20 on the rezoning.

The first Eden Village is a 31-unit housing project. The homes are small in size and meant to house the homeless temporarily, according to past SBJ reporting.

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