RNA letter to City Council about proposed Cherry Street development

The following letter was sent to Springfield City Council last week with respect to the latest proposal for redevelopment on Cherry Street. This proposal by Roza Homes was covered in a previous post. As always, the board believes it is important to let neighbors know what we are doing on your behalf. City Council will vote on this matter at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 21, and public comment is open at this time. Here is a link to the full bill. If City Council grants the blight designation and tax abatements, a more detailed development plan will be forthcoming for separate approval. If you would like to chime in, you can send an email to: citycouncil@springfieldmo.gov.

 

August 7, 2017
Springfield City Council
840 N. Boonville Springfield, MO

Re: Tax Abatement for 1325 and 1329 E. Cherry Street; Council Bill 2017-203

Officially, the Rountree Neighborhood Association (RNA) neither opposes nor endorses the development project proposed for 1325 and 1329 E. Cherry, by Roza Capital Group, LLC. We appreciate the two-story height of the project and the proposed density of 12 units on a 0.45- acre site. The front facing porches and the rear facing driveways are compatible with the overall existing design in our area. We also appreciate the developer’s efforts to contact the RNA with details about the plan in advance of its submission for final City approvals.

However, we believe the project could be accomplished without the requested blight designation. RNA questions whether tax abatement is necessary for this parcel, which was listed for $250,000, and received multiple offers in the first week it was on the market. If city government provides incentives to projects that don’t truly need them, we create unnecessary meddling in the free enterprise system, and antagonize the adjacent neighbors who still don’t understand why there is no transition zone between R-HD and R-SF at this location. Other Rountree residents question why the City is incentivizing the demolition of historic structures. Still other neighbors question whether the tax abatement program encouraged the previous owner of this property to let it sit vacant for two years, while allowing it to slide into disrepair.

In the document, Exhibit 1, Evidence in Support of Blight, a few corrections need to be made. These and many other homes were built Single-Family and rezoned to R-HD in the 1930’s. Most of these homes have been used as Single-Family, not Multi-family, with some exceptions. Several homeowners and business owners have significant investments on Cherry Street. These stakeholders have maintained their properties while paying fair taxes, despite their restoration costs.

Generally speaking, the proposed project would be more acceptable to Rountree residents if it was paying the same property rates as the rest of the neighborhood. This might also be a good time for City Council to consider whether “spot blighting” is worth the time and effort, at any location.

Sincerely,
Rountree Neighborhood Association

cc: Roza Capital Group, LLC

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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