Minutes for the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission

Date: November 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; Jim Hansen; Phil Young; Thomas Baird, IV; Jay McClelland; Matthew Edwards; Mike MacPherson, Principal Planner, Planning and Development; Nancy Yendes, Assistant City Attorney; Martin Gugel, Public Works; Paula Brookshire, Public Works; Cody Marshall, Public Works; ABSENT: King Coltrin, Gloria Roling.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:          

The minutes of the October 14, 2010, commission meeting were approved unanimously.

COMMUNICATIONS:

Mr. Macpherson said that there would be a Commission meeting on November 18. He also introduced Cody Marshall and Paula Brookshire to the Commission. 

HEARINGS: 

PLANNED DEVELOPMENT:

1.     PD 46, final development plan                                                             SW Mo. Office on Aging
       (1735 S. Fort)

Mr. MacPherson read the following part of the City’s staff report:

Planned Development 46 was approved by City Council on May 28, 1985. On June 4, 2007 a portion of PD 46 was rezoned to PD 319. Guaranty Bank built their operation center on Tract 1, leaving the remaining Tract 2 on the eastside vacant (Exhibit 1). The Southwest Missouri Office on Aging built their existing building at the corner of Fort and Elfindale west of Tract 2. The Southwest Missouri Office on Aging then purchased Tract 2 for additional parking and future expansion. In October of 2010 a lot combination was approved to combine the Southwest Missouri Office on Aging with the vacant Tract 2. There are now two zoning districts on the lot, PD 46 on the east side and PD 319 on the west side. The proposed parking lot will be in both zoning districts. 

Mr. MacPherson also read the following, from the Findings section of the staff report:

  1. Administration Subdivision #6657 combined the proposed property with the property to the east (1735 South Fort Ave.).
  2. The applicant wants to build a parking lot on property within two zoning districts, PD 46 and PD 319.
  3. A Final Development Plan, per Planned Development 46, requires review by the Planning and Zoning Commission with a recommendation to City Council for final action.
  4. Parking lots are an allowable use in Planned Development 46 and 319, when on the same lot.
  5. The applicant would have to amend the existing planned development for any expansions.

Mr. MacPherson said that “they did a lot combination to put the parcel of property that they’re buying to build a parking lot in with PD 319 so that can occur.”

Mr. McClelland asked about how people would get from the new parking lot to “the building.” Mr. MacPherson said that the lines on Exhibit 2 that he thought Mr. McClelland was referring to were lot lines. He said people would not need to walk around the building in order to access the building from the new parking lot.    

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing.

Matt Bayner, no address given, said “this is a phase one of a multi-phase development. The Office of Aging is looking at adding a future building expansion to the east.... They can’t add to the west due to a utility corridor where the parking can’t be built on.” He said, “There’s about fifteen feet of current development that would actually be on the PD 46.”  Mr. Hansen asked about the “existing storm water channel and structure.” Mr. Baynard said that, “What we’re going to do is, uh, for the planters will actually be zero curb, so the water will actually drain into the planter islands and to slow down the flow that goes into the existing drainage.”

Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.

Lawhon made a motion to approve the final development plan for Planned Development 46. Edwards seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Hansen, Young, McClelland, Edwards, Lawhon, Baird; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Coltrin, Roling.

ZONING MAP AMENDMENT:

2.     Z-19-2010                                   Pasta Holdings, LLC
          (4109 S. National)

Mr. MacPherson said that the purpose of the proposal was to rezone approximately 2.4 acres, generally located at 4109 S. National Avenue from Planned Development 12, 8th Amendment, to a General Retail district. He said that the applicant is acquiring excess right-of-way from MoDOT and the City and requests the rezoning to remove a fifty-foot building setback specified in the Planned Development, which would allow another building on the site. The setback required in General Retail districts, he said, would be a twenty-five foot setback and would be consistent with adjacent properties and existing development. He said an “administrative replat” would occur later, allowing a second building to be built on the site, and a sight triangle would later be required. He said staff was recommending approval of the request, based on the following findings:

  1. The proposed zoning provides a setback that is consistent with existing adjacent development.
  2. The proposed zoning will allow for additional infill development activity.

Mr. Wheeler asked if there might be a traffic signal installed at the intersection just south of the subject site. Martin Gugel said that National would eventually have six lanes and the intersection of Kingsley and Fremont would be signalized, which would allow a median to be built at National and Kingsley, which should improve the situation near the subject site.

Mr. Wheeler asked about changing “left turns into right-in/right-out only” turns. Mr. Gugel said that in such cases the City has meetings with affected property owners and sometimes purchases access rights from them; and in other cases the City lets the owners know that some time in the future the abutting street may be changed (for example, widened) such that access to a business may be restricted in order to improve traffic flow on the abutting street.

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing.

Geoffrey Butler, 319 N. Main, said he was representing the applicant. He said the subject site was “the only parcel on [the south] side of James River Freeway that [has] a fifty-foot setback because of the way that that property was platted, purchased and developed back in the eighties.” He said his client wanted to switch to GR zoning and get rid of the requirement for a fifty-foot setback. 

There being no other speakers, Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.

Edwards Coltrin made a motion to approve zoning case Z-19-2010. Baird seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Lawhon, Young, McClelland, Baird, Hansen, Edwards; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Roling, Coltrin.

OTHER BUSINESS:

3.     Amendment to Subdivision Regulations, remnant tract certification                                   City of Springfield
          (City-Wide)

Mr. MacPherson said that the issue of certifying remnants of preliminary plats that have not been final platted was identified at several meetings of the Development Issues Input Group committee. He said that in some cases tracts of land go through the preliminary plat process but not the final plat process. The proposed amendment would make it easier to deal with such tracts. He said that such a process would be allowed only under certain conditions, and he read the following conditions (paraphrased) from the Explanation Sheet for this case. The subject tract would:

1.  Be a remnant from a previously approved preliminary plat that was not final platted and that includes all the property from such preliminary plat not final platted, and
      2.  Meet all the requirements of the preliminary plat with respect to the dedication of easements and rights-of-way, and [...]
      3.   Be in compliance with this Article, the Zoning Ordinance and all other ordinances and regulations of the City of Springfield in its current configuration, and
      4.  The certification of which would not create any tract that does not meet the minimum requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, and
      5.  Be adequately served by public water facilities, public sewer facilities, and storm water drainage and/or detention facilities, whether public or private, and
      6.  Be served by sidewalks meeting the current City standards, and
      7.  Contain all dedicated easements deemed necessary by the Director of Public Works, and
      8.  Contain all dedicated right-of-way necessary to meet current standards.

He said that the enactment of the proposed amendment would correct “a lengthy and expensive process.” He said the City and the committee mentioned above were both in favor of the amendment.

Mr. Hansen asked what was harmed if a remnant tract remained in a preliminary plat stage. Mr. MacPherson said that such a lot could not be developed. Mr. Hansen asked if such a tract could be developed if the director of Public Works simply declared it platted. Mr. MacPherson repeated some of the conditions he had mentioned earlier as being necessary before such a tract could be certified as developable. Mr. Hansen said he thought that such a tract would probably be undevelopable and therefore he did not see why the proposed amendment was needed. Mr. MacPherson said that there had recently been a case in which an applicant had had to go through the major subdivision process in order to get a remnant tract certified.

Mr. Edwards asked if the purpose of the amendment was to make life easier for developers. Mr. Macpherson said, “Provided they can meet of all of the requirements that we talked about.”

Mr. Hansen asked, “What would keep the director from declaring anything finalized without going through any process?” Mr. MacPherson said that the limit was that “it comes in as one lot; it can’t come in as five lots, because that then becomes a major subdivision.”

Mr. Baird asked, “What is considered a remnant piece of property?” Mr. MacPherson said that usually such a tract would have adjacent lots that had been developed but this lot had not been developed or final-platted. Ms. Yendes said it “was something left from [a] preliminary plat, and it might be one or two or three lots and, for whatever reason ... that little piece of the plat never got final platted.”

Mr. Baird asked if there would be a time limit as part of the proposal. Ms. Yendes said there would not be, but that the director of Public Works would make sure that whatever needed to be dedicated to make the property developable would be dedicated, regardless of when a developer decided to apply for this certification process.

Mr. McClelland said, “This is a shortcut, and I think you need more of them, Mr. MacPherson.”

Mr. Young asked if the City knew how many of these tracts exist. Ms. Yendes the City was not tracking them; rather, such lots were usually discovered when someone tried to get a building permit and learned that the lot they were interested in was never final platted.

Mr. Hansen asked about a remnant consisting of several lots. Ms. Yendes said that such a remnant would become a single lot once the certification was complete.

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

Mr. Edwards said he was in favor of the proposal. Mr. Wheeler said he too was in favor of the proposal, which would streamline the process.

Hansen made a motion to approve the amendment to the subdivision regulations called Certifying Remnant Tracts. Edwards seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Young, McClelland, Baird, Lawhon, Hansen, Edwards; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Roling, Coltrin. 

 

ANY OTHER MATTERS UNDER COMMISSION JURISDICTION:

4.     Grade Separation and Rail Configuration study                                    City of Springfield
          (Request to Acquire)

Mr. MacPherson gave some of the history of the Grade Separation study. He also described the activities taking place in the railroad storage/interchange yard in Springfield’s “West Meadows” area. He referred Commission members to the information in their packet, which consisted of three pages of excerpts from the railroad study, and he summarized some of the railroad study’s findings.

He said the Jordan Valley Park plan envisioned some of the West Meadows area as being changed over to green space, and the Public Works department would like to improve the storm-water drainage situation there. He said the City had $500,000 to fund the acquisition of land to which some of the current railroad facilities would be relocated. He said another grant would fund the acquisition of more land at a future time for “a new west wye.” He said the City hoped in the future to build a new interchange and a new “east wye  ... and replace the storage capacity that’s in the West Meadows.” He said “the most critical step to get the process started [is] to be able to acquire the land to build the new connecting track to create a new west wye out near Maple Avenue.”  He said the City was asking for the Commission’s approval to acquire land “both within the West Meadows and off-site the West Meadows to replace the interchange yard, the west wye, and that.”

Mr. McClelland asked if a change in the membership of Congress would affect the grant money the City was hoping to receive. Mr. Macpherson said the grant money would not be affected. Mr. Hansen asked if the half-million dollars was “dedicated to that particular project.” Mr. MacPherson cited some of the exact amounts of the money it would take to do the entire project; he said the City had no plans to use eminent domain. Mr. Young asked, “What’s the time frame?” Mr. MacPherson said the City would like to get the project done by 2012.  He said the property acquisition would involve two companies.

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing. There was no one wanting to speak, so he closed the public hearing.

Mr. Edwards said it seemed logical to him to continue to advance this project. Mr. Wheeler agreed, and said that “these types of project are really proof that our staff is on top of the long-range planning.”

Mr. MacPherson said that he felt that the railroad would be an important part of Springfield’s future.

Mr. Young asked if the railroad would be helping out financially on these projects. Mr. Macpherson said the railroad would be bearing the costs of construction, and also the City and the railroad would do a land exchange at some point, which would benefit the City.

McClelland moved to approve the Grade Separation and Rail Configuration Study/Request to Acquire. Edwards seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Lawhon, Young, Baird, McClelland, Edwards, Hansen; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Coltrin, Roling.

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

 

 


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