Rolla Planning and Zoning Commission passes R-2 to R-3 request to council for ordinance reading March 20

Over opposition by a couple of neighbors, the Rolla Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday afternoon recommended a rezoning request to the Rolla City Council by a 6-2 vote.

Spring Properties LLC, 102 W. 14th St., whose owner/managing partner is Barbara Wilkins, has asked that a subdivision at the intersection of 12th and Iowa Streets be rezoned from R-2 (two-family district) zoning to R-3 (multi-family district) zoning.

This subdivision is the result of the council's recent approval, also at the recommendation of the commission, to remove the two interior lot lines of three lots, making one large lot that can be used to build multi-family housing.

Community Planning Director John Petersen, who had told the council that a rezoning request would be the likely next step, has said the plan is to build eight dwelling units that would have a total of 32 bedrooms. At the commission meeting, he indicated that there is sufficient space for 12 dwelling units to be built.

Neighbor Ellen Pearce, 1300 Iowa St., spoke against the request.

""Adding a multi-family development will significantly worsen traffic flow," Pearce said.

Moreover, she said, the city council "not five years ago" voted to make that neighborhood all R-2 because of traffic and parking limitations.

She said both Iowa and 12th streets are residential streets, and she predicted "spillover" parking from the eight- to 12-unit development will clog the streets, which already have "poor visibility" at that intersection.

"If the R-3 zoning is approved, the resale value of my property will tank," Pearce said. "I'm guessing my taxes will not."

Wilkins, the owner of the property, spoke to the commission, saying that her mother is the adjacent resident, so she is not seeking to put in something that will harm the neighborhood. Wilkins, who said she also owns the property across the street from the subdivision, said she wants to develop the property in a way that will add value to the community.

Commissioner Bill Lindgren told Wilkins and his fellow commissioners that he is "not 100 percent against" the request, but he said he would like to see and know more about the plans for the development of the property.

Wilkins said she could provide information from a Meek's employee who is helping her in planning the buildings.

Lindgren entered a motion that the commission not recommend the rezoning request to the council, apparently as a move to delay the vote until he could see the plans provided by Meek's.

But Commissioner Matthew Miller said the specific plans and use for the property have no bearing on the rezoning request, and there were some murmurings from other commissioners who agreed.

Lindgren's motion died for lack of a second. No motion was entered to set the request aside for a month. Commissioner Russell Schmidt entered a motion to recommend the request to the council with a second from Steve Shields.

Voting for the recommendation were Robert Anderson, Miller, Jack Morris, Schmidt, Steven Shields and Janece Martin. Voting against the recommendation were Lindgren and Monte Shields.

Petersen said the council will take up the recommended rezoning for a first reading of the ordinance at the March 20 meeting.