Minutes for the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission

Date: February 4, 2010
Time: 6:30 P.M.

The regular meeting and public hearing of the Planning and Zoning Commission was held on the above date and time in City Council Chambers, third floor of City Hall with the following members and personnel in attendance: Jack Wheeler, Chair; Shelby Lawhon, Vice-Chair; Gloria Roling; King Coltrin; Jay McClelland; Matthew Edwards; Phil Young; Jim Hansen; Thomas Baird, IV; Mike MacPherson, Principal Planner, Planning and Development; Olivia Hough, Senior Planner, Planning and Development; Nancy Yendes, Assistant City Attorney; Errin Kemper, Public Works; ABSENT: None.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:          

The minutes for January 7, 2010, and January 21, 2010, were approved unanimously.

COMMUNICATIONS:

Mr. Macpherson said that, with regard to zoning case Z-02-2010, City staff had met with the applicants and with the Landmarks Board, and a compromise measure had been worked out. This measure, said Mr. Macpherson, amounts to “a substantial change from the original zoning case,” and therefore staff is recommending that the case be advertised again and the public hearing be pushed back to March 4, 2010.

Mr. Macpherson also requested that the order of tonight’s agenda items be altered somewhat. He asked that Item 6 be moved toward the top of the agenda and that Item 5 also be moved higher on the agenda.

Mr. Wheeler asked if there were any audience members wanting to speak to the zoning case Z-02-2010. There was no response from the audience.

Mr. Wheeler asked for a voice vote to approve adjusting the order of the agenda items as per Mr. MacPherson’s request. The request passed on a unanimous vote.

FINALIZATION AND APPROVAL OF CONSENT ITEMS:
(These consent cases will be approved by Commission unless a Commissioner or someone else wishes to speak to them.  If so, those cases will be moved to the appropriate place on the agenda and they may be spoken to, and voted on, at that time.)    (No cases.)

HEARINGS: 

6.     Amended Jordan Valley Park and JVP Concept Plan and Design Guidelines                                   Planning staff
          (City-Wide)

Ms. Olivia Hough said she would be asking tonight for the Commission to accept the Plan under discussion and to recommend Plan approval by the Springfield City Council. She described some of the history behind the development of the current Plan, which has changed considerably between the years 2005 and 2010.

Mr. Hansen asked about the water features. Ms. Hough said that establishing a water feature in the quarry area would be difficult; and she said there is a lot of concrete covering the West Meadows area, but the City hopes to expand the existing channel of Jordan Creek as much as possible in that area.

Mr. Hansen asked whether the concrete had been dumped over time. Ms. Hough said that there had been a “wash-out facility” in the West Meadows area and it had accounted for most of the concrete.

Mr. Coltrin said, “What do you know today that’s actually going to be built in the West Meadows?”  Ms. Hough said that the JVP concept plan was a document that would continue to be revised. As for the current plans for the West Meadows, she said that the emphasis at the moment was the environmental clean-up of the area, and the improvements in this area would be put into place over a fairly long time. She said some issues regarding the existing railroad lines in the area still needed to be resolved. She said some of the main goals were to improve the habitat and add green space and improve the creek area.

Mr. Edwards asked about Jordan Creek; he wanted to know if improvements in the West Meadows area would be done in conjunction with improvements to the creek where it went through the downtown area.

Errin Kemper responded that current plans were to leave much of the “existing culvert in place and building kind of a naturalized channel next to it.” He said his department would try to constructing a creek channel that would “lower flood heights to a point where the benefits exceed the cost.”

Mr. Young asked about why the boundaries of the Plan area were as they were. Ms. Hough said that the area “west all the way to Kansas Expressway along the north actually would interact with the activities and improvements in the center city area and residential development was recommended in that area.”

Mr. Macpherson said that “part of the process of the development of the West Meadows and the whole center city involves to a great extent what happens with the railroad.” He described how the various railroad companies currently use the West Meadows. He pointed out an area on the map on display in the meeting chambers and said that, “Having that track through there and having that interchange yard, we felt it was best to take that part out of the designated redevelopment area.”

Mr. McClelland suggested exploring the idea of letting local contractors volunteer to help with the clean-up of the concrete. Ms. Hough said the clean-up process would need to be overseen by the state’s Department of Natural Resources and would be subject to strict guidelines. But she said that if any “environmental companies” were interested in donating their services, the City would be glad to accept the help.

Mr. Edwards said he thought that including a farmers’ market in the Plan area would be “a great kind of thing for Springfield.” Ms. Hough said that that idea has been very popular with the public.  She said that organizations like the Urban Districts Alliance are definitely interested in finding a good location for a permanent  farmers’ market, and “hopefully, we will see something.”

Mr. Young asked if staff was considering any new zoning regulations in conjunction with the redevelopment of the Jordan Valley area. Ms. Hough said Yes, a zoning district specific to this area was one of the “action items” of the Concept Plan. The idea would be to promote mixed-use development and cohesive design in the Plan area.

Mr. Wheeler thanked everyone who had been involved in developing the JVP Concept Plan.

Lawhon made a motion to approve the Amended Jordan Valley Park and Jordan Valley Concept Plan and Design Guidelines. Edwards seconded the motion. Motion carried, as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Lawhon, Young, McClelland, Coltrin, Edwards, Baird, Hansen, Roling; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: None.

VACATION:

5.     Vacation 742                                                             Drury University
       (Summit Ave. and Bob Barker Blvd.)

Mr. MacPherson gave the Commission members some background information on this case, reminding them that they had recently approved a rezoning on much the same property. He said the purpose of the case was as follows:

To vacate a portion of Summit Avenue located between Central and Bob Barker Boulevard, to vacate a portion of Bob Barker Boulevard located between Drury Lane and almost to Clay Avenue, and to vacate two alleyways—one between Chestnut Expressway and Central Ave. and the second between Bob Barker Blvd. and the Burlington Northern SF railroad right-of-way—both in the 600 block of East Bob Barker Boulevard.

Mr. MacPherson added that the applicant was not yet sure exactly where a greenway trail would be located, so an easement related to that trail was not available at this time. However, the City had received a notarized letter from Drury University assuring the City that an easement for the trail would be made available once the location of the greenway had been finalized.

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing on this case. Peter Radecki, 900 N. Benton Ave., came to the rostrum and said that there was a lot of traffic on Bob Barker Blvd. and Drury would like to “make that end of the campus similar to the look and feel that the rest of the campus has to the north.” Regarding Summit St., he said it currently looked like a “back alley” and Drury would eventually like it to become a pedestrian walkway. He said, regarding the greenway, that Drury would like the planning process to be further along before a decision on an exact location was made.

Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing. Mr. McClelleand asked if the letter from Drury would need to be included in the motion-for-approval. Ms. Yendes said No.

Edwards moved approval of Vacation 742. McClelland seconded the motion. Motion carried, as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Lawhon, Young, McClelland, Roling, Edwards, Baird, Hansen, Coltrin; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: None.

ZONING:

1.     Z-02-2010                                                             SFS Properties, LLC
       (245 and 300 block S. National)

(The above item was not discussed. It will be discussed in March. The public hearing will still be open then.)

ZONING TEXT AMENDMENT:

2.      Amend Adapted Use of Non-Residential Structures                                        Planning staff
         (City-wide)

Mr. MacPherson explained that staff uses text amendments to rectify “problems that we see on a recurring basis that we can’t deal with within the existing Zoning Ordinance.”

The first amendment under discussion tonight, said Mr. Macpherson, involves expanding the uses permitted in non-residential structures located in residential zoning districts. He read the following description from the staff report:

The purpose of the Conditional Use Permit for the Adaptive Use of Non-Residential Structures in Residential Districts regulations is to allow for the use of structures, originally constructed for non-residential districts, for selected non-residential uses provided the review by the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council determines the proposed use would not have significant adverse impacts on the surrounding neighborhood.

Mr. MacPherson said that an example of this land use would be an old, abandoned grocery store located in a residential neighborhood. He read the following information from the staff report:

The [proposed] regulations provide opportunities to make productive use of non-residential structures that could otherwise be a blight on the neighborhood if left vacant and not maintained. Staff has received requests from several property owners interested in using existing non-residential structures located in residential districts for mixed-use residential and office or residential and retail. Under the existing regulations the structures can only be used for one of the permitted non-residential uses listed in Section 3-3310.B.4. of the Zoning Ordinance or for stand-alone residential unit(s) as permitted by the specific residential zoning district. In some cases, it may be appropriate and desirable to have mixed-use in an existing non-residential structure. This amendment would allow, for example, an office, retail or other permitted use to locate on the first floor of a building with residential use above or behind. This will provide more opportunities for infill and productive use of these existing structures and provide for more compact development allowing people to live and work at the same location. This amendment will also provide the opportunity for stand-alone, multiple residential units within existing non-residential structures within residential districts. In certain locations it may be appropriate to permit two or more stand-alone residential units in an existing non-residential structure. This option will provide for the viable use of existing non-residential structures when non-residential use of the building may not be desirable or feasible. Approval of this amendment only expands the possible uses of an existing non-residential structure in a residential district to include residential uses with the approval of a Conditional Use Permit. The Conditional Use Permit application process includes public hearings before Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council with final approval by City Council. As part of the Conditional Use Permit process, a neighborhood meeting will be required, the property will be posted with a notification sign(s) and formal notifications will be sent to property owners within 185 feet of the subject property. The conditional use permit procedure will give the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council an opportunity of discretionary review to determine whether the proposed location and structure is appropriate for the use and whether it will be designed and located so as to avoid, minimize or mitigate any potentially adverse effects upon the surrounding neighborhood. 
 
Mr. Hansen said he was in favor of the proposal.

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing. No one wanted to speak to the issue. Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.

Mr. Baird asked how many structures the proposal would affect. Mr. MacPherson said he didn’t know, but that staff wanted to change the ordinance’s text because staff had encountered instances of nonresidential structures being used in violation of the current ordinance.

Mr. Coltrin and Mr. Edwards said they were in favor of the proposal.

Hansen moved that the agenda item Amend Adapted Use of Non-Residential Structures be approved. Young seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Lawhon, Young, McClelland, Roling, Edwards, Baird, Hansen, Coltrin; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: None.

3.      Industrial Districts text amendment                                                       Planning staff
         (City-wide)

Mr. MacPherson said that the City is “dealing with a changing world” and that this text amendment and the next were efforts to “respond to the way the world does business today and permit uses that hadn’t been permitted in the past.” Mr. MacPherson said that the purpose of the proposed amendment was to amend the permitted uses section of all industrial districts to add the wholesale sales and distribution use and revise the retail sales use in the Zoning Ordinance. He read the following details from the staff report:

City Council approved a resolution (G.O. 9751) on January 11, 2010 to initiate a text amendment to the Zoning Ordinance that would add the wholesale sales and distribution use and revise the retail sales use in the Zoning Ordinance. The industrial districts referenced in the proposed amendments include the RI, Restricted Industrial, LI, Light Industrial, GM, General Manufacturing, HM, Heavy Manufacturing and IC, Industrial Commercial Districts. Staff is proposing to add the wholesale sales and distribution use to the permitted uses section in all industrial districts of the Zoning Ordinance. The wholesale sales and distribution is currently only allowed as a conditional use permit in the HC, Highway Commercial District. Staff believes this use is more than appropriate for all of the City’s industrial districts which are more intense than the HC zoning district and will bring many existing wholesale uses into conformity with the Zoning Ordinance. This text amendment will also make more uses available to businesses that locate in an industrial district. Staff is proposing to change the retail sales use to provide more flexibility within the industrial zoning districts. Staff has determined that the common land use practices have changed since the original Zoning Ordinance was enacted and that industrial district uses are utilizing more retail sales areas as part of their business structure. The proposed amendment would place a maximum retail sales area at ten thousand (10,000) square feet in the industrial districts, but allow retail sales products to be produced, distributed or sold wholesale on site by the principal use. The existing retail sales use language limits a business to a retail area of no more than twenty (25) percent of the gross floor area and limits products sold to those customarily produced on the site. The current Zoning Ordinance language regarding retail sales created interpretation issues while the new language is more flexible and easily measured. The IC, Industrial Commercial District, does not require any modifications regarding the retail sales use because it already allows for an unlimited amount of floor area dedicated to retail sales.

Mr. MacPherson said that examples of the kinds of uses under discussion occur in the area of town where Pythian Street and Chestnut Expressway are located.

Mr. Baird asked where the figures 10,000 square feet and 25 percent came from. Mr. MacPherson said that the 25 percent “is what is existing,” and the 10,000 square feet came out of staff discussions of what would be a “reasonable amount.” (At this point someone spoke but was inaudible.) Mr. MacPherson replied that “the focus in industrial districts would be on the principal use and this [proposal] would be somewhat of an accessory use to that principal use.”
Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing. No one wanted to speak, so Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.
Roling made a motion to approve the agenda item Industrial Districts Text Amendment. Hansen seconded the motion. The motion carried as follows:  AYES: Wheeler, Lawhon, Young, McClelland, Roling, Edwards, Baird, Hansen, Coltrin; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: None.

4.      Remote Sales Office text amendment                                                       Planning staffl
         (City-wide)

Mr. MacPherson said that this amendment would mainly affect “Internet sales.” He said the amendment’s purpose was to amend the Zoning Ordinance to establish Office, Remote Sales as a permitted use within the Office, Government and Institutional, Limited Business, General Retail, Highway Commercial, Commercial Service, Center City, Restricted Industrial, Light Industrial, General Manufacturing, Heavy Manufacturing, and Industrial Commercial zoning districts; and to permit said use within residential zoning districts as a Home Occupation. He read the following excerpt from the staff report:

The proposed Zoning Ordinance text amendment will establish Office, Remote Sales as a new use permitted within all commercial, office, institutional, and industrial zoning districts throughout the City of Springfield, as well as within all residential zoning districts that allow home occupations, pursuant to Section 5-1100. The amendment will permit wholesale and/or retail sale of goods within the aforementioned zoning districts, provided that the goods being sold are not stored, kept, displayed, maintained, or present on the premise of the establishment. The Zoning Ordinance currently allows various types of retail sales within the General Retail, Highway Commercial, Center City, and Industrial Commercial districts, and to a lesser extent (with added restrictions) within the Office, Limited Business, Commercial Service, and Industrial Districts. However, the Ordinance does not differentiate between wholesale and retail sales activities where the merchandise is located and displayed on the same premise as the point of sale (e.g., a department or convenience store), and such activities where the merchandise is not located or displayed on the same premise as the point of sale (i.e., a remote sales office). Consequently, wholesale and retail sales activities, regardless of whether the merchandise is located or displayed on the premises, is restricted to zoning districts that permit retail sales. Staff recognizes a significant difference between a traditional wholesale/retail establishment and a remote sales office. At a traditional wholesale/retail establishment, merchandise is typically displayed and kept in-stock on the premise for customers to purchase and take home from the point of sale. Such establishments typically generate large amounts of activity, traffic, and noise, which require considerations to be made in order to minimize the impact they may have on the surrounding area. In contrast, a remote sales office does not store, keep, display, or maintain any merchandise on the premises. Activities are limited primarily to soliciting sales and handling monetary transactions, which can occur via telephone, facsimile, internet, or in person. Because of the limited activity and the fact that merchandise is not stored, kept, displayed, maintained, or present on the premise, the establishment takes on a character much similar to a business or professional office, as opposed to a traditional wholesale/retail establishment. For that reason, Staff supports allowing remote sales offices in all zoning districts that allow office uses, which includes allowing the use within residential zoning districts as a home occupation.

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing. There being no speakers wanting to address this case. Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.
Lawhon moved for approval of the agenda item Remote Sales Office Text Amendment. Young seconded the motion. The motion carried as follows:  AYES: Wheeler, Lawhon, Young, McClelland, Roling, Edwards, Baird, Hansen, Coltrin; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: None.

ANY OTHER MATTERS UNDER COMMISSION JURISDICTION:

There being no other business before the Commission, Mr. Wheeler adjourned the meeting at approximately 7:39 p.m.

 

 


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