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A site map shows the boundaries of a proposed rezoning at OTC and its ITTC building, which is set for an expansion.
SBJ graphic by Wes Hamilton
A site map shows the boundaries of a proposed rezoning at OTC and its ITTC building, which is set for an expansion.

City Beat: OTC asks city for consistent zoning

City Council also considers amended rules for short-term rentals like Airbnb

Posted online

Ozarks Technical Community College wants to rezone acreage to help pave the way for a budgeted multimillion-dollar expansion of its diesel mechanics program.

On March 12, Springfield City Council reviewed a proposed rezoning of 16 acres on the OTC campus south of Central Street. Council on March 26 will vote on the proposal.

The acreage currently includes residential, commercial and manufacturing zoning districts. Springfield Planning & Development Director Mary Lilly Smith told council the proposal would consolidate the zones into a single government institutional district.

“That will allow for continued development of the campus,” Smith said.

Rob Rector, vice chancellor of administrative services for OTC, said the expansion project has a roughly $2 million budget, funded by a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant and matching private and college funds.

Stephanie Sumners, chief of staff and executive director of the OTC Foundation, said the project would expand OTC’s Industry Transportation and Technology Center to the east toward National Avenue, adding more than 12,000 square feet of space.

“We’re still going through our final plans right now,” Rector said, noting final project costs remain in the works.

Rector said the college is planning a May groundbreaking, with plans to finish the work by spring or fall 2019.

The diesel program serves about 115 students. The expansion would allow the school to take on an additional 50 students, said OTC spokeswoman Laura French.

The college will dub the expansion the MHC Diesel Training Center, named after the project’s lead donor, Leawood, Kansas-based Murphy-Hoffman Co. The company, which was founded in Springfield, operates more than 100 trucking dealerships, transport refrigeration locations, and leasing and rental operations dealing largely with the Kenworth brand.

The diesel center project is in addition to OTC’s proposed $20 million Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Technology. Funds for that project are related to April 3 ballot measures.

Short-term rentals
Council remanded to the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission a three-tier set of amended regulations proposed to allow short-term residential rentals in Springfield.

Smith said the primary change in the amended rules – meant to address rentals secured through Airbnb, VRBO and others – is abolishing a $1,389 conditional-use permit fee for Type 2 rentals, otherwise known as owner and nonowner occupied properties rented for more than 95 days annually.

The city originally reported a $1,700 fee for the permit, which would take a minimum of 77 days for the city to process. The fee now would be reduced to $350, Smith said, noting the amount would cover staff time to review applications.

A neighborhood meeting also would be required, and if 50 percent or more of neighboring property owners within 200 feet protest a rental, council would review the respective application, she said.

Also new to the proposed rules, the city’s director of Building Development Services could revoke, suspend or deny short-term rental licenses for a year, actions that could be appealed to council, Smith said.

If approved by council, the city would waive a 500-foot separation rule for Type 1 and Type 2 rentals for the first 30 days after adopting the regulations.

City staff proposed three types of short-term rentals: Type 1 for single-family and townhouse districts, where owner-occupied properties could rent space for no more than 95 days; Type 2 rentals in the same districts, though without rental-day limit; and Type 3 rentals in all other zoning districts, also with no rental-day limit.

Property owners would be required to acquire an annual business license and certification of occupancy. After unanimously remanding the amended rules, council indefinitely tabled the original short-term rental bill. The Planning & Zoning Commission will consider the amended rules April 12 and make a recommendation to council.

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