Last edited 5:10 p.m., Aug. 12, 2020
Local developers and businesspeople joined the continued debate of a Galloway Village rezoning request at Springfield City Council’s meeting last night.
The rezoning of 4 acres at 3535 S. Lone Pine Ave. would make way for a mixed-use development comprising retail, office, restaurant space and two multifamily buildings. The project by Mitch Jenkins of Elevation Development Co. has been met with resistance from neighborhood members, and he’s been working through city processes since 2018.
After hearing yesterday from 18 speakers – including local developers, neighborhood members and project officials – council unanimously moved to continue the public discussion at its Aug. 24 meeting. Council members were informed that more residents wished to speak but missed the deadline to sign up.
Ten speakers supported the rezoning, including three project officials, citing the economic impact of the development and several changes that have been made to meet city and neighborhood requests. Those opposed pointed to increased traffic and the aesthetics of the project.
Bryan Bevel, who owns The Pitch Pizza and Pub on East Sunshine Street and a food truck on Lone Pine Avenue in Galloway Village, said the development would improve the area. He said the project would pave the way for other small-business owners to consider opportunities in Galloway.
Local real estate agent and property owner Rhett Smillie, who owns two commercial properties in the area, said new development in the Galloway area has improved drainage and traffic in recent years.
“He’s keeping those original structures to maintain that feel, and he’s trying to attract businesses that are important down there, like the bike shop,” Smillie said of Jenkins. “Every time I see a new development going in there, there are some growing pains, but traffic is improved. … I believe you all should approve this.”
However, longtime Galloway Village business owner Jeff Haymes opposes the project. His Trim Salon and Sequiota Properties businesses are next door to the planned development. Haymes said he shares an easement with Jenkins and that one of the access points to the proposed project is on his property. Haymes’ tenants include 4 by 4 Brewing Co. and 2B Well Springfield.
“Every ounce of traffic that drops off the back of that property comes through my parking lot,” Haymes said. “I’m definitely opposed to this, and it was never taken into consideration me or my property.
“I’ve been in Galloway for 29 years, cutting hair every day.”
City staff addressed the concern at the meeting, noting there are three access points to public right of way planned for the development, including the access point that is on Haymes’ property.
Jenkins and project architect H Design Group LLC have changed the density, height and scale of the project to adhere to the city’s Galloway Redevelopment Plan and requests from neighbors. He’s also said he’ll preserve and utilize the Sequiota Store/Treadway’s General Store & Gas Station building and the former Sequiota Bike Shop, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
Local engineer Neil Brady of Bartlett & West said council should approve the rezoning to show that the city supports developers who work to meet all of its project requirements. Brady said he’s worked with developers who have wanted to develop outside the city because it was too difficult to get approval for projects that meet the city’s requirements.
“As our community continues to grow … we need to show Springfield supports business and is open for development,” he said.
Neighborhood association members and a few area business owners spoke in opposition to the rezoning.
Developer Matt O’Reilly, who owns the mixed-use development Quarry Town on Lone Pine Avenue, said he’s concerned about the height and density of Jenkins’ project. He said Jenkins’ project does not follow the Galloway Redevelopment Plan guidelines.
“It was stated at the Planning Commission [meeting] that this developer has worked hard, has compromised and has earned the right to develop this site. To the contrary, no one has the right to overwrite the regulations despite how hard they try,” O’Reilly said.
O’Reilly’s Quarry Town is zoned to allow 12-20 units per acre, according to past SBJ reporting. Jenkins’ project has been revised to reduce the scale of the buildings along Lone Pine Avenue to two stories and the building height to a maximum of 45 feet. According to past reporting, this lowers the density to 25 units per acre while city guidelines allow up to 27 units per acre.
Jenkins’ redevelopment plan was approved 7-1 by the Planning & Zoning Commission last month and city staff recommended approval to council.
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