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HBA expresses its support for urban services growth

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by Diane Rarick

SBJ Contributing Writer

The planning and development committee of the Home Builders Association of Springfield has issued a statement strongly supporting the continued expansion of the city of Springfield's urban service area.

In a position statement, the HBA stated that "Quality development is vital to maintaining, preserving and improving the lifestyle of a community. Quality development is also vital to a community's ability to provide affordable housing for its residents. The stifling of development ultimately leads to the decline of a community any community."

The current proposal to expand the urban service area is based on the Future Development Pattern contained in the Vision 20/20 Springfield/Greene County Concept Plan, adopted by both the city and county.

That proposal states "Generally, the existing Urban Service Area Policy should be continued, strengthened in some areas and expanded to reflect the desire to see more development in the northeast and west."

The HBA advocates continued expansion of urban services to the entire Springfield R-12 School District. (See page 18 of the Feb. 1-7 Springfield Business Journal.) "We tried to pinpoint an area, and it was difficult to come up with," said Sam Bradley, president of the HBA of Springfield and owner of Sam Bradley Homes. He said all areas within Springfield R-12 are in need of city services.

"Some people look at us (builders and developers) as being the creators of growth," Bradley said. "We do not create growth. Society creates growth. We respond to the growth." He said that the building industry does not take the "Field of Dreams" "If we build it they will come" approach to development.

The HBA said in its statement that any person or group who opposes expansion of the Urban Services Area is taking a "no growth" position, as well as creating an exclusionary zoning policy, both of which will have harmful effects on the ability of residents in the area to obtain affordable housing.

The urban service area the area provided or planned to be provided with sewer and urban-standard roads was first devised and implemented by the city and City Utilities in the mid-1980s. The current proposal is the result of work by the city of Springfield and Greene County.

The proposed area is an outgrowth of Vision 20/20 planning, and that effort's future-development-pattern element. The proposal will go before both county and city planning and zoning boards on its way to final adoption by the Greene County Commission and the Springfield City Council.

According to Ann Razer, principal planner for the city of Springfield, the urban service area changes will be included on the agenda of a public hearing before the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission at 7 p.m. March 11 in City Hall. The public is invited to voice opinions. "March 29 is the tentative date for a City Council public hearing," Razer said. "It will go before the council once as a resolution."

The Greene County Planning and Zoning Board will discuss the issue at a meeting March 3, according to Associate Commissioner Darrell Decker.

"Once a hearing is held, they make a recommendation to the County Commission to approve or deny. That recommendation would come forward to the commission and the commission then holds an additional public hearing before they make their decision. The earliest the commission would act, if all goes smoothly, would be in April," Decker said.

INSET CAPTION:

Service area changes are on the March 11 agenda of of Springfield's Planning and Zoning Commission.[[In-content Ad]]

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