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Politics

Springfield City Council to Review Hot-Button Marijuana Issue and Ponders Repeal of Zoning on

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courtesy of the City of Springfield

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/springfield-city-council-review-hot-button-marijuana-issue-and-ponders-repeal-zoning-_60507.mp3

 Last month, the Springfield City Clerk received a petition with enough signatures to repeal the zoning for a proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market on Grand and Campbell in central Springfield.  The issue before City Council tonight will be whether to repeal the zoning, or send it to a public vote in August.  Additionally, the council will look at the proposed so-called “alternative marijuana” bill. That would lessen the penalty for possessing small amounts of pot.  KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has this update.

In February, Springfield City Council voted 5 to 4 to rezone the Calvary Life 360 Temple and several homes from residential to retail, making way for a new Neighborhood Walmart. 

The petition delivered last month opposing the rezoning brings it back to the table. 

Council members must either repeal the zoning decision and restore the property to the original zone, or let voters decide in the upcoming August election.

Council members are divided on the issue.  Some suggest that a Walmart would create too much traffic for that area, while others feel that repealing it would set a bad precedent for future business development. 

The council will also look at the proposed so-called “alternative marijuana” bill that would lessen the penalty for possessing small amounts of pot.

In September, council members passed and repealed a proposal to avoid a public vote. 
The current ordinance says first and second-time offenders possessing up to 35 grams would be prosecuted as a municipal infraction instead of a misdemeanor crime. 

Tonight’s proposal includes a compromise including exemptions for multiple offender suspects to be prosecuted in state courts, or at the discretion of the county prosecutor. 

A majority of the council members are opposed to the bill and say it needs to be handled at the state level.  Those in support of the bill say it should go before voters. 

The Springfield City Council Meeting is tonight at 6:30 pm at 830 Boonville, and is open to the public. 

For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.

Click here for the Springfield City Council Meeting Agenda