Minutes for the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission

Date: May 13, 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; Jay McClelland; Matthew Edwards; Thomas Baird, IV; Gloria Roling; King Coltrin; Phil Young; Mike MacPherson, Principal Planner, Planning and Development; Nancy Yendes, Assistant City Attorney; Errin Kemper, Public Works; David Hutchison, Public Works. ABSENT: Jim Hansen.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:          

The minutes of the April 29, 2010, commission meeting were approved unanimously.

COMMUNICATIONS:

Mr. MacPherson said that, regarding agenda item #2, the applicant had requested that the case be tabled.

Mr. MacPherson said that the Commission would be receiving a large document having to do with a proposed text amendment to the zoning ordinance that would add language describing “use groups.” 

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.)   

1.     Relinquish easement 747                                   Assemblies of God
          (1600 block W. Battlefield)

2.     Relinquish easement 749                                   ANFWMD
          (500 block W. Sunshine)

(Item #2 was tabled, as per the COMMUNICATIONS section above.)

Edwards made a motion to approve the consent asgenda, minus Item #2. Coltrin seconded the motion. Motion carried, as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Lawhon, Young, McClelland, Coltrin, Edwards, Baird, Roling; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Hansen.

HEARINGS: 

PRELIMINARY PLAT:

3.     CECC Subdivision                                                             Assemblies of God
       (1600 block W. Battlefield)

Mr. MacPherson said this case was a request to approve a preliminary plat to divide 11.23 acres of land into a two-lot subdivision with a common area.
 
Mr. MacPherson said that MoDOT had agreed to allow “a limited access to Kansas Expressway.” There would, he said, be “a right in and right out from the extension of Montclair Street.”  Likewise, there would be a right-in and right-out driveway along Battlefield. And there would be a traffic signal at Battlefield and Kansas Avenue. The proposed development would be “of a retail nature.” He said that staff recommended approval.

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing.  Mr. MacPherson said that the applicant’s representatives were not present in the room but would probably arrive later. He asked if the Commission could postpone action on this case until later.

Mr. Wheeler said he would keep this case’s public hearing open and the Commission would move on to agenda item #4.

At this point the Commission began its review of agenda item #4. For a description of that review and outcome, see the OTHER BUSINESS section of these minutes, below.

Discussion of the plat case, CECC Subdivision, resumed after a vote on agenda item #4 was completed. Mr. Kelly Short, 5051S. National, representing the applicant, came to the lectern and said that “the major purpose of the subdivision is to do the right-of-way dedication of that extension of Montclair out to Kansas Expressway.” He said that he would answer any questions the commissioners might have.

There were no questions and no other speakers, so Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.

Mr. Lawhon asked Mr. Hutchison why the plat provided for a traffic signal at Kansas Ave. and Battlefield Rd. Mr. Hutchison said the applicant’s Traffic Impact Study showed that a traffic signal was warranted at that location. In response to a comment from Mr. Wheeler, he said the new signal would be coordinated with the signals at Kansas Expressway and Fort. In response to a question from Mr. Baird, he said the signal would be constructed “at the same time as the development.” 

Mr. McClelland asked about whether a billboard on the subject site would be “a stumbling block.” Mr. Macpherson responded that, “The sign will be removed.”

McClelland made a motion to approve the preliminary plat for the CECC Subdivision. Edwards seconded the motion. Motion carried, as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Lawhon, Young, McClelland, Coltrin, Edwards, Baird, Roling; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Hansen.

OTHER BUSINESS:

4.     Amendment to Springfield's Major Thoroughfare Plan                                   City staff
          (City-Wide)

Mr. MacPherson said that the proposal was to amend the City of Springfield’s version of the Major Thoroughfare Plan so as to specify a preferred alignment for a corridor for the “East Republic Road Connector.”

Mr. MacPherson introduced David Hutchison to the Commission. Mr. Hutchison read a memo, which was about four pages long, to the Commission. See below for the major points of the memo.

  • The vacant land northeast of the intersection of highways 60 and 65 was designated a future activity center by the Vision 20/20 Plan published in 1999.
  • In 2002, the Southeast Springfield Development Study cited a need for an east-west arterial street corridor located approximately halfway between Battlefield Road and U.S. Highway 60 with or without an interchange at U.S. Highway 65.
 
  • In 2006, the Major Thoroughfare Plan was amended to show a future collector street in the quarry, extending east from Lone Pine Avenue to Farm Road 187 (Murphy Road) between existing East Republic Road and Gasconade Street.
  • In 2008, the Missouri Department of Transportation agreed to permit an interchange on U.S. Highway 65 with the condition that the interchange be for an arterial street that connects with the urban-area arterial street system.
 
  • On July 27, 2009, Planned Development 330 was approved by the City Council. PD 330 permits high-intensity development with mixed uses on each side of U.S. Highway 65 south of Gasconade Street with the condition that a major arterial street be constructed to tie to the existing arterial street network and have an interchange with U.S. Highway 65.
  • The existing street network is marginally adequate for existing traffic and will not accommodate full development even if the development is residential in nature.
 
  • The proposed Connector would be built to major arterial standards (4-lane divided road) with a 45 mph design speed.
  • The proposed roadway would bridge over Galloway Creek, the railroad, and Lone Pine Avenue.
  • The proposed road would be designed for a connection to U.S. Highway 65 at a new interchange.
  • A design alternative that would have used the existing Republic Road alignment was eliminated early because of the problematic nature of the area’s topography and because that alignment would require the elimination of 14 residences and 2 businesses currently located along Republic.
 
  • Three other alternatives were selected as the most promising of several different alignments.
  • Alternative A is the longest and least direct alternative route and it crosses Lone Pine Avenue and the railroad at the greatest angle. But it displaces only one business and four residences, and it passes through an industrial property that may not be compatible with future land uses and it has the least impact on Galloway village.
 
  • A neighborhood meeting was held on January 19, 2010, and was attended by 75 persons. Of 26 comments, 23 (88%) supported placing the arterial street on one of the new alignments, one supported using the existing street system, and 2 wanted no new facility; while 15 (58%) supported Alternative A, 2 supported Alternative B, 3 supported Alternatives B or C, and 3 expressed no preference.
  • Public Works held an open house presentation on May 13, and two more comments were received. Both comments opposed any construction due to its possible adverse effect on the subject area’s environment and because the new road would likely spur commercial development, which in the opinion of the persons surveyed would lower the property value of nearby residences.
  • Any Thoroughfare Plan amendment adopted by the City of Springfield will be taken to the Ozark Transportation Organization for a vote on an identical amendment to the Urban Area Major Thoroughfare Plan.
  • Springfield’s Public Works and Planning and Development staffs recommend approval of an amendment to the Major Thoroughfare Plan showing Alternative A as an extension of East Republic Road from Glenstone Avenue to U.S. Highway 65. 

Mr. McClelland asked whether the need for the subject street was driven by the fact that an additional interchange was being proposed along U.S. Highway 65 in this vicinity. Mr. Hutchison replied that that was not the case. He said the need for “an alternative street” had already been recognized before the existence of PD 330, but the existence of PD 330 was allowing Public Works to better identify what the location of that alternative street should be. Mr. McClelland said, “If PD 330 wasn’t there, and we were not building the 65 interchange, we wouldn’t need this major arterial change. Is that what I’m understanding?” Mr. Hutchison replied, “No, sir; what I said is, We need an arterial street in this corridor for any development that is going to occur on the land that is currently vacant.”

Mr. Wheeler asked whether it was true that, if not for PD 330, “such a new thoroughfare would not have to have a connection to Highway 65; would that be correct?” Mr. Hutchison said that, based on “the planning that we have leading up to here,” either a bridge over 65 or an interchange with 65 “would be sufficient were it not for high-intensity development along Highway 65.”

Mr. MacPherson added that PD 330 “could turn out to be a completely residential development and it would still require the arterial.”

Regarding the neighborhood meeting, Mr. Lawhon and Mr. Hutchison agreed with the statement that most of the attendees had agreed that the proposed road was needed and that the preferred alignment was that of Alternative A.

Ms. Roling asked Mr. Hutchison to repeat the numeric breakdown of the comments on the various possible alignments. Mr. Hutchison repeated some of the comments included in his memo. He said, among other things that “of the 26 [comments] related to this case, 23 supported an arterial street along one of these alignments; one supported using the existing street system; two wanted no facility at all.”

Mr. Wheeler asked whether the alternatives A, B and C would “still be in the same area” if there was no need for them to connect to Highway 65. Mr. Hutchison said “the best corridors for an arterial roadway are the corridors that we have presented to you tonight.” He added that, if there were no need for the proposed roadway to connect to Highway 65, he would still “expect” that the three alternatives “would fall out exactly what we have shown you tonight.”

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing.

No one wanted to speak, so Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.

At this point Mr. Hutchison read the entirely of the two comments his department had received at the open house meeting held in the Busch Building on May 13 (as described in the bulleted list above).

Mr. Young brought up the issue of what exactly the Commission was being asked to approve. Mr. Hutchison said that the amendment under discussion would recommend Alternative A as the preferred location of the new connector street’s corridor.

Mr. McClelland said he would be voting against the proposal because of “the displacement of people and homes.” In response to a question from Mr. Wheeler, he said he thought that all three alternatives were unsatisfactory.

Mr. Lawhon asked about the fate of the people who would be displaced by the proposed road. Mr. MacPherson said the city has “a relocation policy” and that “just compensation” would be given to any persons displaced.

Mr. Wheeler said he thought it might be possible that in the future there would not need to be an interchange of the proposed roadway and U.S. Highway 65. He added that he would not vote for the alternative that would displace 42 mobile homes.

Mr. Coltrin said he was concerned that “by showing some flexibility to PD 330 has caused a forward motion [to] some things that were not my intent in granting the zoning for PD 330.” He said that by approving the proposal, the Commission might “put some people who live in that area today into a shadow of ownership of their property for something that   is not on ... an imminent capital improvement plan proposal.” 

Mr. Young asked about the connection of the proposed roadway with the James River Freeway. Mr. Hutchison said the exact configuration of the intersection would be the subject of “future design” and that the vote tonight was simply to state “that an intersection would be generally at that location.”

Mr. Lawhon asked how soon construction might begin on the proposed connector. Mr. Hutchison said that as of yet there had not been any funds allocated to this project, but the City would like to see it funded in the “not too distant future.” He said the project would be one of his department’s higher-priority projects.

Mr. MacPherson said there was language included in PD 330 that would require that the Commission again review any proposed development at that site based on the results of a Traffic Impact Study. He also said that one of the purposes of establishing a corridor was to inform the public of changes that might take place in the future with regard to the placement of roadways.

Mr. Baird asked, “How does that affect ... how someone ... can market or sell their land?” Ms. Yendes said the City would not be sitting on people’s property forever. A person owning land in the subject corridor who wanted to develop his or her land could appeal to the Administrative Review Committee and the City Council to be allowed to develop in spite of being in the corridor, and if permission were denied “there’s a process where the City has to commit to acquire [the property].”

In response to a question from Mr. Baird, Mr. Wheeler said the Commission tonight should give Alternative A an up-or-down vote. Ms. Yendes explained some of the other alternatives open to the Commission.

Mr. Coltrin asked about the rights and responsibilities of persons owning property in a mapped corridor if they wanted to sell that property. Ms. Yendes said that would-be sellers should disclose the presence of the corridor to would-be buyers. She said that once the property was acquired by the City, the City would assist affected people “in finding [alternative] properties.” In response to a question from Mr. Baird, she said that, “Just because you’re in the corridor doesn’t mean your building will necessarily be taken. I think you have to look and see, ‘What’s the final design of the street?’”

Baird made a motion to approve the consent asgenda, minus Item #2. Lawhon seconded the motion. Motion carried, as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Lawhon, Young, Edwards, Baird, Roling; NAYS: Coltrin, McClelland; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Hansen.

ANY OTHER MATTERS UNDER COMMISSION JURISDICTION:

There being no other items for discussion, Mr. Wheeler adjourned the meeting at approximately 7:38 p.m.

 

 


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