Following a public hearing, the Jackson Board of Aldermen approved a request to rezone two vacant properties along Jackson Boulevard and one adjacent property behind them.
The properties will be rezoned from R-2 (single family residential), R-4 (general residential) and C-2 (general commercial) to C-2 (general commercial) and O-1 (professional office). This will allow for commercial development on property that once had private homes.
The request was submitted by the Donna R. Rushing Revocable Trust, the Roger L. Yancey Living Trust, and the Charlotte D. Yancey Living Trust. Donna Rushing and Roger Yancey spoke in favor of the change during the public hearing.
“The properties are owned by myself and my brother and his wife,” said Rushing. “We have spent a lot of time and money improving the property.” A party had expressed interest in buying the property if it were zoned for commercial use, she explained to the Board.
“Our parents lived there since the mid ’50s,” added Roger Yancey. “We’re not going to do anything to bring shame to their memory or be a detriment to Jackson.”
Rushing said she had spoken to neighbors, and none were opposed to the zoning request. She was unable to reach one neighbor, Stan and Debbie Wicks, who spoke at the hearing.
Stan said he was not opposed to the rezoning, but he had some questions about privacy and possible traffic issues if an office is located on the back portion of the property.
He was informed that if a commercial development came to the property, a privacy fence would be installed between their properties.
Rushing explained that if an office building goes into the back property, traffic most likely would travel between the office and East Jackson Boulevard, and would not continue any further on Hilltop, which becomes a gravel road.
Debbie Wicks said she likes the secluded feeling of her property.
“I feel like I’m outside of town, but I’m in the middle of Jackson,” she said. She was concerned that a commercial development on the neighboring property would disrupt that feeling.
That secluded feeling was already in peril because an apartment complex could have been built on the neighboring property without a zoning change.
In other action:
• Donation: The Board of Aldermen approved a park memorial donation form from the Jackson Girls Softball League for the donation for fence improvements at Field No. 3 in City Park.
• Playground: The Board approved the purchase of $35,500 in playground equipment from Miracle Recreation of Lake St. Louis, with money donated from a park memorial and the Jackson Municipal Band. The equipment will be installed east of the band shell in City Park.
• Election: An ordinance calling for a general election on April 3, 2018, was approved. The following aldermen’s seats will be up for election: Ward 1 (Phil Penzel), Ward 2 (Dave Reiminger), Ward 3 (Larry Cunningham) and Ward 4 (Joe Bob Baker). These are two-year terms.
• Sanitary sewer: An ordinance accepting the dedication of a sanitary sewer easement deed from MidAmerica Hotels was approved.
• Parking: The Board approved two ordinances regarding parking restrictions on South Missouri Street across from Jackson High School. See related story in this issue for more details.
• Stone Creek Subdivision: A Minor plat for Stone Creek Subdivision was approved.
• Firefighter efforts in Houston: During study session, the Board heard a report from Jackson Fire Chief Jason Mouser and Firefighter Shawn Mitchell regarding the Jackson Fire and Rescue members who assisted in rescues during the floods after Hurricane Harvey in Houston.
“These people were so grateful we were down there,” said Mitchell.
• Park sewer: The Board was updated on the City Park rest room building project. Koehler Engineering will survey the area to see if it’s possible to install a gravity sewer in the park or if a lift station is needed. A report will be brought to the Board Nov. 20.
• Break in median: The Board gave a nod of approval for a memorandum of understanding regarding a request by a developer to put a break in the concrete median on East Main Street west of the interstate to allow for full access to vacant property north of east Main Street. The cut in the concrete will be made at the developer’s expense.
• Diamond grinding: Bids for diamond grinding West Main Street came back much higher than estimated ($93,869.12 or more vs. $76,000), so the Board decided to have further discussions. The Aldermen did not think it was worth nearly $100,000 to gain only a 20 percent improvement in road conditions.
At the Nov. 6 meeting, it is expected that the Board will reject all bids and continue to further analyze the problem.
• East Main St.: Koehler Engineering is designing changes for a traffic signal at East Main Street and Oak Hill Road. Part of the project will look at straightening out the “skew” in the intersection. This $400,000 project could be under construction by this time next year. An action item will be on the Nov. 6 agenda.
A study is being conducted regarding the East Main Street and Shawnee Blvd. intersection. A decision will be made early next year as to whether to build a roundabout or put in traffic signals at this location. Construction will probably take place in 2019.