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Rezoning paves way for Carson's Nurseries sale

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While Springfield City Council members consider long-term tweaks intended to make the city’s zoning ordinance easier to use by businesses, a new ordinance could have an immediate effect on a property that has been on the market for 10 months.

At its July 12 meeting, council held a public hearing for four proposed amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance. Council also approved a rezoning request for 1.75 acres at 3184 E. Sunshine St., formerly Carson’s Nurseries, paving the way for the property’s sale to a financial institution.

Because a sale has not been finalized, the name of the property’s potential buyer is undisclosed, said Deb Scott, commercial real estate agent at Wilhoit Properties, adding the sale was contingent on the zoning change. Arvest Bank is interested in the site, said Senior Vice
President Michal Moss Early, though she declined to discuss the property further.

Current owner CY Properties LLC, the nursery’s parent company, requested a rezoning of the property to general retail from a planned development district, said Mike MacPherson, the city’s principal planner, noting required changes include the removal of the nursery and the addition of sidewalks along Sunshine Street and Mayfield Avenue.

In December, Springfield Business Journal reported the listing price was $1.6 million, and according to www.wilhoitproperties.com, the asking price has dropped to $1.3 million.

An additional branch would not be out of character for Arvest, which has been growing its southwest Missouri presence since its first Springfield location opened in June 2007. A third Springfield branch, 730 N. National Ave., is scheduled to open July 20, said Arvest Marketing Officer Michael Gandy. Marcy Dollens is the branch manager.

Use groups and parking spaces
Four changes to the zoning ordinance, proposed by Springfield’s Planning and Development Department, were read and discussed on July 12 and are expected to come up for a vote at the July 26 meeting.

“All four of these amendments are an effort on staff’s part to provide a more flexible zoning ordinance document that is a little more user-friendly,” said Principal City Planner Mike MacPherson.

MacPherson outlined the amendments related to the creation of use groups, off-street parking requirements, farmers markets and nonprofit community centers.

The creation of use groups would give more leeway to the Building Development Services director when it comes to deciding whether a business is allowed within a district. Now, if a type of business isn’t specifically listed under a district’s allowances, a zoning change must be requested. Use groups would allow the director to consider whether a business’ uses are consistent with the purpose and intent of the district, MacPherson said.

“We believe the concept of use groups is a good idea. We think that’s an improvement over the current situation,” said Brad Bodenhausen, executive vice president of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, who voiced the chamber’s support of the use groups proposal. “It’s not a huge change … but it’s a common sense change.”

Modifications also have been suggested for commercial off-street parking, including the reduction of required spaces for antique stores and flea markets, retail shops and dance halls.

Changes to the definition of farmers markets allow a market to temporarily set up in a residential district, expanding initial use allowance for farmers’ markets, now limited to industrial and commercial areas. The proposal for nonprofit community centers would allow for groups such as Bridges for Youth to open centers in residential districts, MacPherson said.[[In-content Ad]]

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