RNA Meeting Minutes – February 2017

Board members present: Nick Harper, president; Nancy Dornan, member at large; Jeff Barber, NAC representative; Laurel Bryant, president-elect; Jeff Bentley, member at large; Jim Lohmeyer, member at large; Peggy Wise, treasurer; Mike Brothers, secretary

Others present: Nancy Evans, Ed Fillmer, Courtney Smith, Paden Chambers, Delia Gresham, Jerris Harper, Alana Owen – City of Springfield Planning Department, Brendan Griesmer – City of Springfield Planning Department, Officer Zach Schlup – Springfield Police Department

Call to Order – 7 p.m.

Review of Minutes – Laurel motioned to approve, Peggy seconded; approved.

Treasurers Report – Peggy Wise gave the report. We added one new business and one new residential membership this month. The balance stands at $1778.89.

Par Officer – Officer Zach Schlup gave an update. A home in the 1100 block of S. Pickwick had a break-in; no leads so far. There was a string of burglaries in the area, and they were caught at a nearby gas station. These were mostly just a crime of opportunity by some young kids and are in custody now. There were two homicides in the areas but were unrelated to each other. Officer Sears executed a search warrant at 1210 E. Cherry St. and found some drugs, mainly marijuana. There have been peeping Toms, including on 900 block East Loren where some college girls live, as well as some other nearby areas. Has not been caught. A trail camera has been set up. Likely a younger guy, stocky build, dark hair with a buzz cut and a goatee on his chin. Possibly a college age guy as well. Also has been some theft of business mail and car break-ins in the area. People are stealing IDs from the cars. Laurel suggested some patrols on Cherry and the alley to the north on vacant houses where homeless are gathering. Nancy mentioned the continued eggings up and down Weller and Pickwick, as well as some rocks that were thrown through car windows. Schlup said it’s very tough to catch people doing this. He urged people to call 9-1-1 when it happens to document it. SPD is hiring officers right now, too. His contact info is 864-1110 and zschlup@springfieldmo.gov.

Dues increases – Laurel read a note from a former board member about the cost of the dues. No other Springfield neighborhood association dues cost more than $15 per household per year. The letter writer argued that it should be lowered and suggested RNA should do a marketing campaign to get more premium payers. RNA is $25 for households. It was noted that RNA doesn’t charge for other services such as mulch and green space maintenance and the annual household cleanup. RNA recently donated $1,000 to Rountree PTA, about $200 at Xmas for school kids wish list, and have kicked in a few hundred dollars for planning studies done in the area. We have gone from 13 to over 30 members this year. Some kind of flexibility in dues pricing was discussed. Can we add some language that says people can come to us if there is a hardship? Also agreed that a marketing campaign would help to increase membership overall. However, we will need to show what the money goes for and what the RNA actually does to support neighbors. Most agree that the dollar amount brought in is less relevant than increasing the participation rate, and supported the idea of a hardship exception. Members present agreed to allow for a hardship exception going forward. No dollar amount will be set, but households can simply request a lesser amount from the RNA if they have a need.

City planning update – Brendan and Alana from the City of Springfield’s planning department engaged with the board on the UCD and planned developments.

Brendan said Planned Developments (PDs) don’t have to negate UCD rules, they can alter but not entirely scrap the requirements for the UCD. That will keep new projects more in line with the UCD. Jeff Barber asked whether specialized PDs could be conducted as pilot projects if development moves faster than formal review of the UCD would allow. Jeff Bentley said the neighborhood is frustrated that development won’t match what we expect and that developers are frustrated that the neighbor expectations, UCD, R-HD zoning and the comprehensive plan don’t all match up. Brendan said the city recognizes that neighborhood plans across the city are out of date. City staff has gone to City Council to make this a priority and have even started the hiring process to bring on a staffer to help with this (currently Alana is the only neighborhood planning staffer). Rountree could be the first out of the gate for an update.

RNA members asked how we might slow down the process until a review can be conducted. Brendan said an administrative delay is a way to hold development until such time that some planning could take place. It could go on the CC agenda as early as sometime in March. Laurel noted that we want developers to succeed and invest in the neighborhood in a way that makes sense for all concerned.

Nancy Dornan motioned to move forward on requesting the administrative delay from City Council, Jeff Barber seconded. Approved.

Brewery Update – Owner Curtis Marshall gave an update. Have purchased 1451 and 1459 E. Cherry to create Tie & Timber Beer Co., which will be a “neighborhood tap room.” Brewery would go into the old tanning salon and they will be looking to rent the other building to one or two businesses that have an idea that will support the existing business environment at Cherry & Pickwick. The brewery would not be a pub with a kitchen serving food. The City is recommending a text amendment to the UCD to add “micro brewery and tap room” to the conditional use list, so that they could then apply for such a use. The text would not allow for a bar or a production brewery; it would be written narrowly enough that it could only allow for a business such as Tie & Timber.

National Avenue development proposal – Developers recently held an open meeting about a proposed 4-story apartment building. Concerns were expressed about traffic increases on Page and Madison, especially given that the median on National prevents any way for residents of the new building to turn south. Jeff Barber said the difficulty lies in the fact that the block is split in half between R-HD and R-SF. Jeff Bentley and Laurel suggested we need a process to dialog with and guide developers. Brendan affirmed this approach rather than simply digging in our heels and saying NO. Concerns were also expressed about the rather anemic buffer zone between the HD and SF zoning, which will be low trees (under power lines) and a 6 ft. fence. There is little RNA can do prevent the development. Suggestion was made to ask for stormwater improvements and blocking traffic on Page and/or McCann in order for RNA to withhold opposition to the development.

Board meeting attendance – Anyone can attend and give input. Only paying members of RNA can vote.

Pit Bull ordinance – Zone 2 Councilman Tom Prater has asked RNA to weigh in since this issue has come up again and could be voted on later this year. No vote was taken in support or opposition. We will encourage neighbors to make their voice heard.

Facebook page – Mike Brothers passed out suggested changes to the RNA Facebook page “About” text. Changes will make it clear that membership is the same as the RNA itself and that the page exists for official business.

Other business – Neighborhood clean up day is proposed for May 6.

Adjournment – Laurel motioned to adjourn, Peggy seconded. Meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

About Mike Brothers

Mike is a Pickwick Person; husband to Maureen and dad to Vivian and Dorothy. He has lived in the neighborhood since 2011 and has lived in Springfield for over 20 years. He the PR director for Drury University. He was previously a communications specialist with the City of Springfield and the Springfield-Greene County Health Dept, and before that a features writer and music columnist with the News-Leader.
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