Council Passes Liquor License and Church Rezoning Bills

By Daniel Shedd |

Published 03/10 2014 10:12PM

Updated 03/10 2014 10:15PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A city council vote opens the doors for more liquor licenses in downtown Springfield.

The vote eliminates a requirement that there has to be 200 feet in between businesses with liquor licenses.

This could lead to more places being able to serve alcohol downtown.

Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky voted against the bill.

She believes increasing the alcohol density downtown will lead to abuse and other issues like drunk driving.

But supporters said this new rule will help economic growth.

They said it's a trend for non-traditional businesses to sell alcohol as part of their services.

"Whether it's being in a barber shop and having a beer with your haircut or going to a fundraiser downtown at the History Museum and being able to offer wine. That's the experience," Councilmember Jeff Seifried said.

That bill passed with a 6 to 2 vote, with Rushefsky and Hosmer in opposition.

And a rezoning of the Timmons Temple Church property also passed Monday at the meeting.

The church is selling the land to move to a larger facility.

The buyer of the land is a micro-efficiency apartment developer.

Neighbors are worried about increased traffic in the area and the preservation of the Timmons Temple building.

But the land has been on the market for more than a year and people have just recently showed concern about the building.

So, with some debate, the council voted to move forward with the rezoning.

"Again we're in the eleventh hour getting in the middle of a private land sale," Councilmember Jeff Seifried said.

"I believe its a significant structure to the African American community," Councilmember Jerry Compton said.

"We own the property and we've come to peace with the idea that we're willing to sell this property for whatever will ultimately happen with it in the interest of progress and doing the Lord's will," Reverend T.J. Appleby from Timmons Temple Church said.

That bill passed with a 5 to 3 vote, Rushefsky, Hosmer, and Compton voted against it.

This will also be the first time zoning has been approved for micro-efficiency apartments in Springfield.

Those are apartments less than 400 square feet.

That is related to a long term plan by OTC to expand and possibly have students live in the apartments.

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