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Residents seek to limit plans for apartments to be built near them

Residents who opposed a special use permit to build three apartment buildings at Broadridge and Independence (near the Middle School) during a Planning and Zoning Commission Jan. 10 appeared before the Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen on Jan. 22 to request help in limiting the development.

The vacant property is zoned O-1 (professional office), and that zoning allows for a single apartment building, duplexes or single family homes.

Shawn Wren had sought a special use permit to construct three apartment buildings instead of one because, he said, it would be more aesthetically pleasing. When the Commission denied the special use permit on a 4-3 vote, Wren withdrew his proposal.

He can still proceed to build one apartment building on the property.

The residents presented a petition with more than 300 signatures of people against the development. One woman told the Board she was opposed to having a normal apartment building constructed there. She would prefer to see it developed as a duplex or luxury apartments.

The residents expressed concerns about traffic, which is already heavy in the area (when parents drop off or pick up students), and the possibility of sexual predators renting apartments near the school.

They asked if the City could change the zoning of the property so apartments would not be allowed.

Mayor Dwain Hahs said if the Board of Aldermen had an interest in doing so, it could send the matter to the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Board also could change what O-1 zoning allows. But all of this takes time, and the developer could proceed unhindered to build one apartment building on his property, as currently allowed by law.

“Missouri statutes are very specific about the procedures we have to follow before we can change a zoning law,” explained City Attorney Tom Ludwig. The matter has to go to the Planning and Zoning Commission, public hearings must be held, and the process is slow so cities can’t quickly change laws and deny citizens the right to use their land.

Issuing a building permit is considered “ministerial,” he said. That means if the applicant meets all the requirements, the City has no option but to issue it. “The City can’t deny a permit because it’s thinking about changing the rules,” he added.

It would take three to four  months for the City to hold public hearings and change the law. Meanwhile, developers can get building permits in three weeks once they turn in their plans.

In other action:

• Financial statement: The Board approved the semi-annual financial statement ending Dec. 31, 2017.

• Electric lines: The Board accepted a bid of $96,418.50 from Power Line Consultants, LLC, of Farmington, to work on overhead lines for the Old Cape Road East Electric Line Extension Project.

The Board also accepted a bid of $661,573.35 for underground lines on that same project.

• Storm Sewer: The Board agreed to pay HR Green, Inc. of Chesterfield $12,100 for engineering services under the Separate Storm Sewer System Permit program.

• Public hearing set: The Board set a public hearing for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, to consider a request from Lisa Craig to rezone her property at 1211 Gloria Street from R-2 (single family residential) to C-2 (general commercial).

• Retail market analysis: During study session, Jason Claunch of Catalyst Commercial, Inc., gave a progress report. He said there are 68 prospective businesses that his firm is having “ongoing conversations” to get them to move to Jackson. Eleven prospects are “beyond the initial stage.”

He said a workshop was held earlier that day with owners of property around I-55’s exit 99, to discuss possible developments there. Some owners were interested in developing their property, some wanted to redevelop theirs, and others would consider selling their property to developers. “They were not pigeonholed into one idea,” said Claunch.

• Humane Society: Charlotte Craig, Tracy Poston and Karen Hahs appeared before the Board to request an increase in the contracted amount the City pays the Humane Society to take unwanted animals from within the city limits of Jackson.

The average cost per animal during its stay at the shelter is $124. The City’s previous contract is based upon a cost of $100 per animal. “Last year, we decided we’ve been treading water long enough,” Craig said.

The cost for Jackson will increase from $22,000 to $28,796. The Humane Society has been asking for increases in all of its contracts. (It has contracts with 11 entities, including Cape County, Cape City, Scott City and Perry County.) So far, all entities that were asked to pay a higher price have agreed to it. “We provide a great public health service for you,” said Craig.

City Administrator Jim Roach asked if there were any ordinances that Jackson does not have that would help with stray and unwanted animals. Craig suggested having one similar to the City of Cape’s that says the first time a dog or cat is brought to the shelter it gets micro-chipped, and the second time it gets spayed or neutered. “It really has worked in Cape,” she said.

• Sewer replacement: Two pieces of sanitary sewer need to be repaired on Old Cape Road. It is hoped that the work can be done while the street is torn up for street repairs.

• Shipping containers: The Board received a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission that shipping containers not be allowed for occupancy in commercial or residential areas. They may only be used for storage. The Board may choose to discuss this recommendation at a future study session before setting a public hearing.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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