SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Residents of a Springfield neighborhood say their concerns aren’t being heard and questions aren’t being answered.
Homeowners say a proposed apartment complex across the street from Sequiota Park will increase traffic and change the character of the neighborhood. But a meeting to address some of those concerns with the engineers of the project might not have been so productive Tuesday afternoon, because it ended the same way it started – with conflict.
Residents expected a formal presentation and public Q and A, but that’s not what the engineers with Lee Engineering and Associates had in mind.
“When we did it last time, two or three people spoke over and over again, and we didn’t get individual comments,” said principal engineer Derek Lee to the group of residents gathered in a pavilion when the meeting first started.
He urged residents to talk to engineers individually. Which some residents did, and a few filled out the comment sheets being handed out by the engineers for feedback.
“I personally do not think we need additional apartments down here,” said Becky Cross who lives on Lone Pine.
And most attending the meeting agree with her – they are against the four-story apartment building planned for the three-acre lot right across the street from Sequiota Park. The building that once housed the Sequiota Bike Shop and a house on that lot would come down for the new development.
“We love this area because you feel like you are sort of in the country, but you go up a hill and you have all of the resources you’d like,” Cross said.
Bart Husher, who owns a photography business adjacent to the lot in question, says the developer isn’t being asked to meet the requirements he had to when he built his business.
“We had to make to make it look like a home, we had a lot of buffer rules we had to abide by, but what they are trying to do is just out of control,” he said.
And it’s not just those who live on Lone Pine. About a half a mile from the park, signs can be seen on people’s yards. Neighbors are concerned the development could affect their entire neighborhood.
Some of those concerns are its character, the traffic new residents might cause, and property value.
“When I bought my property I was assured single family dwellings only, and now they jerk the rug out from under me and I don’t think it’s fair and it’s not fair to all of these other people,” said Ron Martin, who has lived in the area for 40 years.
About an hour into the meeting that was scheduled to last two and a half, some in the crowd insisted again engineers take questions as a group.
“If you wanna have an individual conversation I will answer as many questions as you’d like,” Lee said.
After some heated discussion, the meeting ended.
“I think we need to leave, I think we are past this,” said Lee.
The engineers there declined a one-on-one interview with KOLR10.
A public Planning and Zoning meeting is scheduled for Sept. 13. City Council has a public hearing on Oct. 8.