There is interest in developing some 39 acres in the area of the Buc-ee’s that is now under construction in northeast Springfield.
At its July 24 meeting, Springfield City Council passed two resolutions declaring its intent to annex property where municipal utilities, including water and three-phase power, were installed to accommodate the Buc-ee’s travel center.
In an interview with Springfield Business Journal, Amanda Ohlensehlen, Springfield’s director of Economic Vitality, said she did not have details about the plans for development of the two separate parcels.
“Buc-ee’s is often a catalyst for development in other locations throughout the country,” she said. “It’s typical that a lot of other retailers or amenities want to locate close to a Buc-ee’s travel center.”
The Springfield Buc-ee’s, with plans for 100 gas pumps, is slated to be the first in Missouri for the Texas-based chain. Plans call for the 53,000-square-foot travel center to have multiple food options and a large gift shop.
In other Buc-ee’s locations, Ohlensehlen said the trend is for additional growth to follow the travel center for several years after its development. She added that the extension of critical utilities north of Interstate 44 opens up approximately 1,000 additional acres for development.
“Some of that infrastructure really is a necessity to allow for larger-scale development,” she said.
She added that Buc-ee’s projects it will draw 6 million customers annually, most from more than 20 miles away.
One intent-to-annex measure approved by council was for 28 acres of private property at 5500 E. Farm Road 104. The owner seeks to rezone for a new commercial development, according to Daniel Neal, senior city planner. With council passage of the intent to annex, the owner can submit a request to rezone the property from a Greene County agriculture district to a city highway commercial district with conditional overlay. The parcel, owned by the Jerry M. Tolbert Trust and HWH Strategy LLC, is immediately east of the Buc-ee’s site.
The other resolution was for 10.6 acres of private property at 4808 E. Parallel Lane, to be rezoned to a city industrial commercial district with conditional overlay from a county light manufacturing district. The property is located along the I-44 frontage road, south of the interstate and west of Buc-ee’s. Its owner is Tina Patel, whose email address, email@example.com, connects to Express Stop, a beer, wine and spirits store located in a Phillips 66 gas station at 1821 Grand St.
Both annexations are scheduled for public hearings Aug. 7 and council votes on Aug. 21.
Cannabis tax issue
The cost to mount a citywide special election on a proposed 3% cannabis tax is $250,000.
A measure to appropriate carryover funds was given its first reading at the council meeting. Council will vote Aug. 7 on whether to approve the budget amendment.
The city would ask voters to approve a tax on the sale of adult-use, or recreational, marijuana. The city must bear the bulk of the cost of the election, according to David Holtmann, city finance director.
Councilmember Craig Hosmer raised an eyebrow at the expense, which he said he expected to cost half the amount quoted by the county clerk’s office.
“I’m going to support that, but it seems like we should have done this in April, not only to collect the sales tax – $500,000, $600,000 in sales tax – but also we wouldn’t have to spend $250,000 to put this on the ballot,” he said.
Recreational marijuana is already taxed by the state at 6%, and the city sales tax rate of 2.125% is also assessed on all retail goods. If voters approve the measure, an additional 3% local sales tax could generate up to $1.8 million per year for public safety, addiction prevention and treatment services, mental health services and housing, according to a release from the city.
Springfield is the largest Missouri city without a 3% local tax on adult-use marijuana. Other cities in the state with the tax are Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, Joplin and Ozark, along with the counties of Jackson, St. Louis, Boone, Christian, Webster, Polk, Newton and Jasper, according to the city.
C-Street project OK’d
After raising issues about limited parking for residents at the July 10 meeting, council unanimously passed a bill granting a conditional use permit for a 41,000-square-foot mixed-use commercial, retail and residential building at 411 W. Commercial St.
The permit was needed because the proposed project is greater than 10,000 square feet of total floor area and greater than three stories in height. City staff recommended approval, but the Planning & Zoning Commission recommended denial.
Councilmember Monica Horton said parking was the deal-breaker for P&Z.
“I’m hoping that it will not be a deal-breaker for City Council,” she said, noting the Forward SGF comprehensive plan calls for Commercial Street to be a walkable, bikeable and pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare.
A memo council received stated 41 additional spaces would be added to C-Street. Martin Gugel, assistant director of Public Works, said the city was able to carve out more spaces in areas of existing curb cuts and loading zones, and restriping would create other spots.
Horton said the additional spaces help to bolster support for a project that is important for affordable housing, employment and other opportunities.
Councilmember Brandon Jenson noted the city needs to look not only at availability of parking for the C-Street district, but also at accessibility. He suggested improvements to lighting and safety in alleys to open up parking opportunities, and he also suggested the developer offer public transit amenities to residents as a gesture of good faith. Bruce Adib-Yazdi, vice president of developer The Vecino Group LLC, told council at the July 10 meeting that his company has offered public transit passes in some of its other developments.
Another C-Street zoning change from various designations to a planned development passed unanimously will allow Titus Williams LLC and Historic Commercial Development LLC to build town homes on 2.3 acres at 1630 N. Jefferson Ave. and 1635 N. Benton Ave.
Council also passed other zoning bills on second reading:
Other action items:
Realtor reinvents her career with cryotherapy business.