Minutes for the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission

Date: November 19, 2009
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; Edwin Alden; Peggy Hedrick; Shelby Lawhon; Jay McClelland; Matthew Edwards; Mike MacPherson, Principal Planner, Planning and Development; Nancy Yendes, Assistant City Attorney; David Hutchsion, Public Works; ABSENT: King Coltrin, Michael Sutton.


The minutes for November 5, 2009, were approved unanimously.





1.     Planned Development 207 Amended                                                             Springfield City Council
(1600 block North Washington)

Mr. MacPherson said that the existing Planned Development 207 was approved in July 1996 and permits only an office for the Springfield Association for the Blind, including an office, library, meeting room and kitchen. At the time the existing planned development was approved, an office had been operating at the subject site for approximately 40 years; hence it was a legal non-conforming use in the R-SF zoning district. The site was rezoned to a Planned Development district so that the existing building could be expanded.

The Springfield Animal Advocacy Foundation (SAAF), which was established in 2007, possesses a contract to purchase the subject property contingent on the approval of an amendment to the existing planned development to allow a spay/neuter clinic at this site. The proposed land use is a high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter clinic. The applicant expects that the clinic will initially serve Greene and Christian Counties and will cater to low-income pet owners and feral cat caregivers, as well as area rescue groups and shelters. SAAF expects that the facility will perform a minimum of 6,000 spay/neuter surgeries per year. On October 30, 2009, SAAF hosted a neighborhood meeting on the proposal.

The subject site is fully developed and no changes are proposed to the site as part of this amendment. The existing requirements of the current planned development will remain in effect, including the required bufferyard along the east property line and the wood fence along the north property line. 

The site did not initially provide off-street parking.  But a stipulation of PD 207 was that Locust Street would be widened adjacent to the site to provide some parking. This parking area remains and it can be used by clients dropping off or picking up pets for surgery. Also, the applicant expects that a transport van will be obtained in the future, which would allow the transporting of some animals to and from the facility. 

The request, which was initiated by City Council, is to allow a spay/neuter clinic to locate on the subject site in an existing structure. No other changes to the site are proposed. Staff expects that the proposed use will not have any additional impact over the existing use allowed within the current zoning district (PD 207). 

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing. The first speaker, Janet Martin, 5927 S. Kimbrough, said that Mr. MacPherson had covered the topic well but that she would gladly answer any questions. Mr. Edwards asked how her organization had selected the site. Ms. Martin said that Mary Colette had suggested the site and that SAAF had agreed that the location and size of the site would be a good fit for SAAF.

Bruce Durnell, 1618 N. Washington, asked about the hours of operation of the proposed facility, whether there would there be “outdoor runs,” whether animals would be boarded overnight, and whether there would be much noise. Janet Martin replied that the hours had not yet been decided on; that there had been discussion of being open for 10 hours on four days of the week. She said that there would be no outdoor runs. She said that the animals would be sedated much of the time they were at the facility. She said that the facility would not be an animal shelter and that the dog kennel part of the operation would be located in the middle of the building, well away from windows.

Mr. Wheeler remarked that the facility would be subject to the city’s normal noise ordinance.

There being no other speakers, the public hearing was closed.

Edwards made a motion to approve Planned Development 207 Amended. Lawhon seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Alden, Hedrick, McClelland, Edwards, Lawhon; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Coltrin, Sutton.


2.     Park and Driveway Standards                                        City of Springfield

Mr. MacPherson said that the zoning ordinance states that the Commission must adopt the standards for off-street parking facilities put forth by the director of Public Works, but such adoption had not happened in this particular case. At a previous Commission meeting, there was no staff present to address the commissioners’ questions, so this agenda item was tabled. Tonight, however, there was a staff person available to answer questions.

In response to a question from Mr. Alden, Mr. Hutchison said that “it was basically missed that there is a place in the zoning ordinance that requires Planning and Zoning Commission action for enforcement of this section” of the ordinance. He said that the standards referred to in the accompanying attachments (drawings) as “parking stall layout elements,” “typical commercial driveway & sidewalk,” and “typical residential driveway and sidewalk” needed to be adopted by the Commission. Mr. Alden asked if the standards in question were already in effect. Mr. Hutchison said that yes, they were.

I response to a question from Mr. McClelland, Mr. Hutchison said that the standards mentioned in section 6-1301.E of the ordinance had never been adopted by the commission and that fact had been cited in a legal proceeding as being a point against the City’s case as the City tried to enforce the parking standards against a developer alleged to have violated the standards. Mr. McClelland asked if the commission’s action tonight would simply affirm the status quo. Mr. Hutchison said that that was correct.

Mr. Wheeler opened the public hearing on this agenda item. No one spoke. Mr. Wheeler closed the public hearing.

Alden made a motion to approve the Park and Driveway Standards. Hedrick seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Hedrick, McClelland, Alden, Edwards, Lawhon; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Sutton, Coltrin.

3.      Initiate PD 313 Amendment                                                       Planning staff
         (2200 block South Blackman, west side)

Mr. MacPherson said that the purpose of this case was to amend a planned development so as to revise its design requirements pertaining to what building materials could be used. He said that the current requirements have not proven flexible enough to allow builders in this PD to erect buildings with modern architectural features that use metal in creative and energy-efficient ways.

Approval of the request will not amend the Planned Development. The request only initiates the process of amending the subject planned development. Staff will work with the property owners within the development to craft specific language for the amendment. Once the language has been developed, an application to amend the planned development will go through the normal process, with a neighborhood meeting, notification of adjacent property owners, posting of the property and public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council.  

In response to a question from Mr. Lawhon, Mr. MacPherson said that staff was recommending that Commission tonight initiate the process of amending this particular planned development.

In response to a question from Mr. Edwards, Mr. MacPherson said that—while staff recognizes that some of the design standards that may eventually be deemed desirable in PD 313 would also be desirable in other, future developments—the request before Commission tonight is only intended to address the standards of one specific PD, PD 313.

A public hearing was opened. No one came forward to comment. The public hearing was closed.

Mr. Wheeler said that he was glad staff was showing flexibility and that he thought the proposal in question was a good one.

Lawhon made a motion to approve the agenda item called "Initiate PD 313 Amendment." Edwards seconded the motion. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Hedrick, McClelland, Alden, Edwards, Lawhon; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: None; ABSENT: Coltrin, Sutton.

4.   Approval of the 2010 Commission schedule                                                    Planning staff

Mr. MacPherson said that a schedule needs to be adopted in the near future.

Mr. Wheeler asked if there might be a conflict with the national American Planning Association meeting. Mr. MacPherson said he wasn’t sure of that date, but if there were a conflict, the commission meeting could be moved to accommodate the national meeting

Edwards moved to approve the year-2010 Commission schedule. McClelland seconded. Motion carried as follows: AYES: Wheeler, Hedrick, McClelland, Alden, Edwards, Lawhon. NAYS: None. ABSTAIN: None. ABSENT: Coltrin, Sutton.


Mr. MacPherson said that four persons’ applications to serve on the Commission had been forwarded to the City Council and it was likely that some new members would be on the board in time for the January 2010 meetings.

There being no other business before the Commission, Mr. Wheeler adjourned the meeting.



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