Minutes for the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission

Date: June 24, 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; Phil Young; Gloria Roling; Thomas Baird, IV; Jay McClelland; Jim Hansen; Matthew Edwards; Mike MacPherson, Principal Planner, Planning and Development; Ralph Rognstad, Director of Planning and Development; Matt Schaefer, Senior Planner, Planning and Development; ABSENT: King Coltrin.


The minutes of the June 10, 2010, commission meeting were unanimously approved as submitted.


Mr. Macpherson said that Ralph ognastad, Jr., and Matt Schaefer would be addressing the commission tonight.

(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.     The Link project                                                       

Mr. Rognstad said that the Planning department was applying for federal grant funds to help finance a study, the aim of which is to construct some links between existing and planned greenways and new bike-pedestrian trails. He said some of the new trails would be on streets that currently have low traffic volumes. There might, he said, be a need for some “traffic calming” measures” on such streets. There might be new transit shelters and facilities built where the links crossed transit routes. The new trails forming The Link system will have color-coded signs on them. He showed the commissioners a map showing the location of the proposed Link corridors.  (NOTE: More information on The Link was available, as of this writing, at www.springfieldmo.gov/cityconnect/home.jsp#2881.)

Mr. Lawhon asked Mr. Rognstad when he thought work on this project would start, under a “best-case scenario.” Mr. Rognstad said he thought some work could begin “next year,” i.e.,  during the “next construction season.”

Ms. Roling said she had heard that one city had instituted a Community Improvement District, with taxing authority, to develop such facilities. She asked how much the City’s proposal would cost. Mr. Rognstad said one of the grants he was pursuing would provide $3 million and would require a 20 percent match. He said the City’s “bike route money” and “sidewalk money” would be available. She asked if “the railroad” had had any input into this project’s planning process. Mr. Rognstad said no, that group had not been included. He said more input from the community as a whole would be solicited in the future. Ms. Roling suggested selling sponsorships to businesses at any new “Link stations” constructed.

Mr. Young asked if Mr. Rognstad thought the proposed system would be used as much as the existing greenway trails. Mr. Rognstad said that yes, he thought that could happen. Mr. Young said he was concerned that 5-foot-wide sidewalks might not be wide enough. Mr. Rognstad said that bicyclists would be encouraged to use the street and that the width of the sidewalks might vary according to the amount of right-of-way available. Mr. Young suggested placing mile markers on the trails. Mr. Rognstad said that that was a possibility.

Mr. Wheeler said that he had seen, in other communities, mileage markers affixed to existing signs along trails.

Mr. Roling said that a community in California gives a tax credit to persons who buy electric golf carts, and that program got started by means of a federal grant.

Mr. Hansen asked if a link between Seminole and the Galloway trail might be feasible. Mr. Rognstad said that “we want to get to St. John’s; and, you know, whether we use Cherokee or Seminole, that hasn’t been decided.”

Mr. Edwards asked if Mr. Rognstad had gotten any input from other cities that had built similar facilities. Mr. Rognstad said no, he hadn’t talked directly to any city governments on this topic. Mr. Edwards said it would be good to have “some community education on bicycle and traffic interaction and safety.” Mr. Rognstad said that some City staff members had published a letter in the News-Leader addressing this very issue. Mr. Hansen said he had read that letter and had thought it “was great.” He said that, in Ft. Collins, Colorado, there is a bicycle lending service.

2.     The IDEA Commons plan

Matt Schaefer said that the subject area is “an identified sub-district within the Jordan Valley planning area.” He said it would be a research park that would incorporate a blend of mixed uses and Missouri State University programs. He said that the JVIC (Jordan Valley Innovation Center) Activity Center plan was now obsolete and staff was proposing to replace it with the plan under discussion. He said the plan would be developed “over the course of this summer.” He said the project’s “background report” was already available and it would be used as “the basis for the recommendations of the plan.” (NOTE: The background report, as of this writing, was available at www.springfieldmo.gov/jvp/pdfs/ideaBgndDft100623.pdf.) He said there would be a public forum at which City staff would present information on the plan.

Mr. Schaefer gave the commissioners some background information on the Commons plan.

Mr. McClelland said that he thought that in the “Jordan Valley forty-year plan,” the areas currently occupied by railroad tracks were designated as areas where there would be “horse-drawn carriage” traffic. Mr. Schaefer replied that the railroad right-of-way would be retained after the tracks were removed, and so the railroad-track area would be available for “public transit.”  Mr. McClelland noted that Mr. Schafer had been talking mostly about Missouri State University, and he asked, “Why are [the other institutions of higher learning] not being pulled into this?” Mr. Schaefer said that there would probably be “pedestrian linkages” to OTC and to Drury University.


There were no other questions or comments on the above topic and no other communi- cations from City staff, so Mr. Wheeler adjourned the meeting at approximately 7:40 p.m.



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