Neighbors turned out in force at a public hearing Aug. 7 to object to plans by Emily Schmitt to build a greenhouse in her backyard at 1233 Cherokee St., if she should buy that property.
Schmitt told the Jackson Board of Aldermen she wanted to build a 30×20 foot greenhouse in her backyard to grow herbs and plants to be sold on the Internet. “No one would be coming to the home,” she said.
Her yard is big enough to accommodate the greenhouse and she could build one without a special use permit.
However, because she plans to sell the plants, she sought a permit to operate this business in a residential district.
Emily’s mother, Carol Hanson, said she has operated a greenhouse business for more than 40 years in Illinois.
Because of her health, she wants to move in with her daughter and operate this one “hobby” greenhouse, selling plants on e-Bay or Amazon.com. “There will be no foot traffic or [on-site] retail sales at all,” she confirmed.
The greenhouse will be Quonset-hut-shaped, constructed of metal poles and clear plastic; and about 10 feet tall in the middle. “Twenty by 30 [feet] is probably smaller than most of the rooms in your house,” she said.
“I’ve talked to all the neighbors,” said Kenneth Denton, who currently lives in the home at 1233 Cherokee and wants to sell the property to Schmitt. “They are friends. All of them were okay.” (Several people in the audience could be seen shaking their heads at this comment.) “It’s a simple hobby greenhouse.”
Denton said the property is on the border of two subdivisions and claimed the Indian Hills neighbors were okay with the project while the Warren Place neighbors were opposed. “These people are opposed to it,” he said. “I wish they’d listen and get all the facts.”
Two neighbors spoke in favor of the project. Peggy Devault asked what plants would grown, and upon hearing they would be herbs and perennials, stated, “I’m not opposed to it at all. I think it’s fine.” Steve Dunn told the Board, “Our properties connect. If anyone should object, I should. I’m not opposed to it at all.”
“They don’t have to look at the backyard,” complained Julie Johns. “We do. What will it [the plastic] be like blowing in the wind?”
“We are totally opposed to it,” stated Jane Hicks. “We’re afraid it will be an eyesore. After hearing a description of it, we’re pretty sure it will be an eyesore. I don’t think we need a commercial business in a residential zone.” She claimed it would cause her property to lose value.
Sally Gann said she moved to Indian Hills in 1975 and “it was a wonderful neighborhood. It has declined. Trailers are parked on the street that are not licensed. I am opposed to something like this. It opens the door for other enterprises like that. Something like that could devaluate our property.”
Nancy Seyer said she sold the property to Denton, and she opposed the plan. “We’re having a difficult time getting fair market value for our property,” she added.
“It would be an eyesore to us,” added LaRue Wilson. She said this was not a hobby greenhouse; it was a business. That would open the door for more businesses to be operated out of homes. “Once you start something, you can’t stop it,” she said. “We’re asking you to deny it.”
Delbert Wilson said he spends 15 hours a day in his sun room on the back of his house. “I don’t want to look at it and listen to fans running.” He said an 8×12 greenhouse would be a hobby greenhouse, but this 20×30 greenhouse to sell plants on the Internet was a business.
Denton spoke again in defense of the project. “She’s putting up a privacy fence. The only thing you’ll see is the top of their roofs. A hobby is a hobby and it’s not a full-time business. I operate a construction business and I bring work home. A lady has a sewing business out there on the same street. There are eBay sellers. This lady is just trying to do the right thing by getting a special use permit.”
Hanson spoke again in defense of her daughter’s project. “I have heard a greenhouse called an eyesore. I don’t understand that. I don’t feel very welcome in this neighborhood right now. We want to combine our households and supplement our income by growing plants and selling them. We will also grow plants to grow in our yard. We’re interested in plants and beautiful things. We need a greenhouse for economic reasons, supplementing our income.” After a pause, she concluded, “I’m so distressed.”
The Board tabled the request for a special use permit and discussed the matter in study session, as is the custom when objections are raised.
In study session, it was stated that the City has no restrictions on building a greenhouse in this backyard or what materials should be used in its construction.
Alderman Joe Bob Baker said, “She’s allowed to build this, no problem. There are no restrictions on materials. We need to look into subdivision covenants. The City has no restrictions.”
There was some question as to the actual size of the greenhouse. The Board of Aldermen agreed that the following restrictions should be put on the project:
1. The greenhouse is actually 20×30 feet.
2. There will be no on-site customer sales.
3. A privacy fence will be built on the back part of the property.
4. The house will remain a single family home (and not be turned into two separate apartments for mother and daughter).
5. They must take away boxes themselves for shipping (instead of having UPS or FedEx pick them up at the residence).
The special use permit with these restrictions will come back to the Board of Aldermen for a vote Aug. 21.
In other action:
• Motorcycle repair: At a public hearing, Brian Geh-ring, who owns a vacant home near 1418 Parkwood Circle, objected to a special use permit request by John and Lauren Ryan to operate a motorcycle repair business out of their home at that address.
Gehring said his home has sat vacant for two years. People park on the street on that cul-de-sac because driveways are single-lane and the street is congested. This repair shop could add to the problem. The shop also could generate loud motorcycle noise. “It will benefit the property owner while negatively affecting the other property owners,” he said. “I’m really opposed.”
Ryan said that he planned to repair motorcycle engines. ‘Between St. Louis and Memphis there is no one around to rebuild high performance [racing] motorcycles.” He would have engines shipped to him, repair them and ship them back.
The engines would not be started, because they would not be attached to motorcycle frames. There would be no drive-up traffic. “We’re not going to be making noise,” added Lauren Ryan. “We have a six-month old [baby] and a 12-year old.”
John Ryan said he wanted to open a shop in his garage “to get all my ducks in a line.” He plans, within two years, to open a shop in a commercial district. For now, he wanted to keep overhead costs down while he built up business contacts with supply vendors.
The request for a special permit was tabled and discussed in a study session because of the opposition expressed.
During study session, the following restrictions were added to the special use permit:
1. Outdoor storage of motorcycles and parts are prohibited.
2. One motorcycle could be completed and parked outside waiting for pickup.
3. The business would be relocated to a commercial zone.
4. No engines would be running.
After two years, the special use permit may be examined again to see if adjustments need to be made.
Alderman Larry Cunning-ham told the others, “I’m going to be asking myself, do I want to live beside it?” That would determine his vote when it comes back Aug. 21.
• Daycare: Brian and Angela Powell spoke in favor of their special use permit to operate a daycare at 409 N. Shawnee Blvd. during a public hearing. There was no opposition and the Board later approved their permit.
• Change Order: The Board approved a change order for $635.82 to Nip Kelley Equipment for work on the Uptown water mains.
• Sewer pipe: The Board awarded the contract for sewer lining to Ace Pipe Cleaning for its bid price of $91,609.32.
• Southeast Hospital: The Board approved a project for Southeast Hospital to be financed by the Industrial Development Authority of Cape Girardeau County.
• Preliminary plat: The Board approved the preliminary plat of Jackson North Industrial Park Subdivision.
• Liquor license: The Board approved a malt liquor (beer) by drink 5% license to The Ground-A-Bout, 107 E. Adams.
• Sign ordinance: The Board passed a bill amending Chapter 65 of the Code of Ordinances relative to off-site directional signage. See the Mayor’s column in the print edition for more information.
• Concrete pavement: The City accepted a bid and executed a contract with Fronabarger Concreters of Oak Ridge for $226,853 relative to the 2017 Concrete Pavement Improvement Program.
• Liza Walker: City Clerk Liza Walker received her Commission of Office from Mayor Dwain Hahs.
• Homecomers: Alderman David Hitt thanked the City on behalf of the American Legion for its support of Homecomers.
• Hubble Creek trail: The Board discussed plans to build a 10,200-foot long recreational trail from East Jackson Boulevard south along the Hubble Creek Utility corridor. Easements will be sought from the owners of 10 parcels of land along the proposed route. A corridor study has been done but there is no timetable for the project. An 80/20 match grant could be used to fund the project.
• City Park bridge: A grant request to fund the replacement of the foot bridge over Hubble Creek in Jackson City Park (near Highway 61 North) was denied by the State.
The current bridge will be replaced by the City with a steel bridge that has a concrete deck and is ADA accessible. A request for bids will go out in November and be awarded in December. Construction will start early next year, so as not to negatively affect the Christmas festival of lights held in the park. The new bridge will have electricity available for lighting. The estimated cost of the new bridge is $100,000.
• Sewer projects: The Board discussed two sewer projects. The first was upgrade to pumps and controls at the Kimbeland sewer lift station. The estimated cost is just under $300,000. The other is upgrading force mains at Klaus Park from 4 inches to 6 inches at a cost of more than $1.1 million. Work will begin next year.
• Electric service: The City of Jackson was recognized nationally for achieving exceptional electric reliability.