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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

Land in Southwest Springfield to be Rezoned for Menards

City of Springfield

Home improvement store, Menards, has the go ahead to build a store northwest of the Sunshine and W. Bypass intersection.  KSMU's Michele Skalicky has more.

Springfield City Council voted 7-2 to allow rezoning of just over 39 acres of land at 3705 W. Sunshine from a County R-1 Suburban Residence District to a Highway Commercial District.

Residents of the area spoke out against the measure during the April 27th meeting.  Patricia Mobley, who lives near where the Menards will be built, told council she was concerned about the increased traffic on Farm Rd. 129 that a new store would generate.

City Council members Mike Schilling and Craig Hosmer voted against the bill.   Schilling said the Planning and Zoning Commission was right to recommend turning down what he called a “sort of spot annexation.”

"There's residential on three sides, and I don't know that there's--you know, I have a lot of empathy for residential habitation and the idea of commercial invading it," he said.

He also pointed out Menards’ history of water pollution.  The company was fined for pouring pollutants down a shop drain at a store in Wisconsin.

Councilman Justin Burnett supported the measure.  He said the development is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan for land use and with the W. Sunshine Corridor Study.

"Which meets its objective for a high intensity land use.  Developing this area as residential is not really practical with some of the big developments that are in close vicinity," he said.

Burnett said he believes the economic impact will be huge—the new store is expected to bring 200 jobs to the area and generate close to $400,000 in sales tax revenue.  He said Springfield would have been viewed as anti-business if the measure had failed.

Council member Kristi Fulnecky said she empathizes with the neighbors in the area where the Menards will be built, but she feels the best use of that land will be rezoning.  She pointed out that the store will create new jobs for nearby residents.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.