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Residents wary of rezoning request near Menards

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A proposed rezoning in west Springfield brought in front of Springfield City Council last night faced criticism from surrounding neighbors.

The council bill would rezone 9.3 acres at 3851 W. Farm Road 148 from a neighborhood commercial district to a medium density multifamily residential and general retail district. The bill also includes a clause to concurrently annex the property into the city.

Located near the intersection of Sunshine Street and West Bypass, the property is owned by A&R Property Developers LLC.

Springfield Planning and Development Director Mary Lilly Smith said the rezoning serves as a transition between the commercial activity at the nearby Menards and the lower residential district, which is just outside city limits.

The front of the property along University Street would be used for commercial purposes with a multifamily development behind it, according to city documents.

The site is the former location of a mobile home park and is next to Menards on West Sunshine Street.

Heithaus Engineering & Associates Inc. representative Teresa Davidson said she met with residents about issues they have with Menards.

"One of their main concerns with Menards was the lighting, so we had discussed in this case the owner knew what he was purchasing, he had gone in and cleaned up the mobile homes that were there," Davidson said.

The maximum density for the project is 193 units, mostly one and two bedrooms that are planned to be two stories.

Michael Hampton of Arkifex Studios LLC said the development's buildings would be 10,000 to 12,000 square feet.

West Portland Street resident Dennis Perry told council he would appreciate a traffic study in the area, and mentioned an influx of cars from the proposed housing. He also was concerned about spacing.

“You're talking 35 feet from our property line and not much else there," he said. “I've got more room between my rear deck and my fence. That’s kind of the crux of my argument. I’m going to have a two-story building looking down on me from 35 feet."

Resident Ben Dalton said he wanted to keep the quaint aesthetic of the neighborhood and that the development should match its surroundings.

“We've done a lot since our neighborhood meeting in November to really address some of the concerns of the citizens and primarily it’s that boundary on the north and west lots," Hampton said.

Trees on the north and west property lines will remain, Smith said.

“We'll do our best adding as many trees and maintaining the trees that are existing," Hampton said.

The bill is scheduled for a vote on Feb. 25.

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