Development for Possible New VA Clinic Concerning Neighbors

By Chris Eidson

Published 03/13 2014 10:37PM

Updated 03/13 2014 10:57PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Plans are in the works to build a VA Clinic in Springfield in the coming years and there are three possible locations.

One is south of the intersection of Kansas Expressway and Republic.

Developers are eying 20 acres of wooded area there, but before the site is chosen, it has to be rezoned by the city council.

Ten acres of that land is currently zoned residential.

But there are many homes that border that property and neighbors are worried about negative impacts, especially increased flooding.

John Brown lives in his dream house south of Republic and Kansas Expressway.

On a sunny day, his backyard is safe to traverse, but when rain falls, Brown said it becomes a flood zone.

"It was nine foot deep here in the center and it was over the road there two feet," he said, describing a past rain storm.

Water comes from above ground and up from sinkholes.

Because of elevation, storm water naturally flows down to his land.

"We're about 60 feet below Republic," he said.

But since he moved here in 1996, he said developments on Republic have made matters worse.

So he's worried about a city council bill to rezone the land adjacent to his backyard from residential to retail.

He said more concrete could worsen the flooding issue.

"You can't just continually keep dumping water into one detention basin and expect it to take care of it," he said.

But city planner Ralph Rognstad recommends approval on the rezoning.

"We think that from a land use stand point it makes sense to have commercial for the entire 20 acres," he said.

One of the possible projects for the land would be a VA Clinic, but with retail zoning it could become any business.

"It could be another Remington's," Brown said, "It's just a big question mark."

Rognstad said the land will end up developed anyway, with homes or businesses.

He is confident the city's plan can handle the growth.

"We believe that our storm water regulations are sufficient," he said.

But Brown and his neighbors would rather not leave it to a rainy day to find out.

Even if the rezoning is approved and if the government picks that site for the VA Clinic, nothing can be built until Kansas Expressway is extended south past Republic.

That's a traffic control measure put into the council bill.

So it could be years before anything is built on the land.

City council tabled this issue until the next meeting on March 24.

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