SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A proposed development has become a controversial topic in one Springfield neighborhood.
A developer is trying to build an apartment complex in a residential area, but city planners don’t recommend it and neighbors who don’t want it.
Greenway Studios has filed an application for a zoning change to build a brand new building in Midtown near OTC along North Sherman Avenue. While the developer says the project fills the need for student housing, most homeowners in that area want to keep it a single family residential neighborhood.
“Those neighbors over there have lived there their whole lives, and they don’t need to wake up one day and not see the sky, and instead see a big wall of an apartment complex,” said Brian Shipman, Midtown Neighborhood HOA President.
If a zoning change is approved, 72-micro studio apartments will be built along North Sherman.
“No one that I’ve talked to in Midtown wants to see an apartment complex in Midtown,” said Shipman.
But others, like Amberly Larkins who’s lived in the neighborhood for ten years, support it.
“I think it’s good for the neighborhood. Hopefully, it will increase property values,” said Larkins.
The city’s Planning Department. and the Planning and Zoning Commission have recommended Council not approve the change.
“The impact on this neighborhood would be too intense as far as what we believe could occur in this area,” said Bob Hosmer, principal planner at the City of Springfield.
In 2014, the Planning Department approved Greenway Studios ro redevelop two blighted, vacant properties nearby on East Webster Street, including former Timmons Temple.
“It gave back to our community something that was a gem, that was definitely a historical building that we all wanted to save,” said Larkins.
But this new proposal, city planners say, doesn’t fit the city’s comprehensive plan to conserve this historic, residential area.
“We’ve been trying to follow it as much as possible,” he said. “There are times you want to deviate from that, but there needs to be a good reason for that.”
Hosmer says the city and the Sherman Avenue Project have rehabbed 31 homes in the neighborhood.
“A lot of infrastructure and money have been involved to rehab this neighborhood,” he said.
A few homeowners spoke against the project at Council meeting Monday and now it’s up to council to decide.
OTC is in favor of the project, saying the college supports any development that would provide housing for its students.
City Council is expected to vote on this issue on Jan. 23.