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Hotel plans near St. John's hit City Council

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A pair of bills designed to rezone 1.37 acres just west of the St. John’s campus and change the floor-area ratio restrictions to allow for a five-story hotel at the site received first reads at the Oct. 17 Springfield City Council meeting.

Civil engineer Derek Lee of Lee Engineering & Associates LLC represented landowner One Hundred Two Glenstone Inc., which is operated by Springfield-based real estate company C. Arch Bay, at the meeting. He said much has been done to address the concerns of nearby neighbors, including buying two nearby homes on East Cherokee Street.

“I’m not going to tell you that everyone in the neighborhood is happy … but I have received a lot of feedback that has been very positive,” Lee said, adding that two property owners who sold their lots to the developer were pleased with the outcome.

The plans originally submitted to the city for preplanning review called for the hotel to be closer to neighbors from the west, Lee said, noting the developers changed course after he was advised by city staff that neighborhood objections would likely be the primary obstacle to the project.

The two purchased properties would allow for some additional parking and a wider buffer zone between local residents and the hotel, Lee said. The property farthest to the west on East Cherokee Street is not a part of the rezoning proposal, he said, but it was the desire of Terry Reynolds of C. Arch Bay to do what could be done within reason to appease nearby residents.

Lee also held a meeting Aug. 18 at the Library Center to discuss the development plans with members of the nearby Seminole/Holland Neighborhood Association. Richard Tettenhorst, president of the SHNA, which has taken a neutral position on the project, said the organization is there to facilitate these types of talks between developers and residents.

And the efforts seemed to have had an impact. No residents spoke against the plans at the meetings and two council members, Cindy Rushefsky and Robert Stephens, applauded the work of Lee, C. Arch Bay and the neighborhood association.

Ralph Rognstad, director of Planning & Development for the city, said the rezoning bill would create a single general retail district at the proposed hotel site, which comprises six commercial and residential properties. The floor-area ratio change would make the land consistent with formerly used standards for general retail districts.  

The Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously voted to recommend approval of the project at its Sept. 29 meeting. Council is expected to vote on the proposals after the bills’ second readings at the Oct. 31 meeting.

For more city beat coverage, look to the Oct. 21 Early Friday Digital Edition or the Oct. 24 print edition of Springfield Business Journal.[[In-content Ad]]

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