This 5.63 acre site features an 81,000+ square foot primarily single-story office building. The building’s brick and stucco façade incorporates a brown metal canopy along its front facade. As viewed from the highway, the western portion of the building has a single office tenant appearance; in contrast, the eastern section has a multi-tenant retail/office look. A significant number of parking spaces were provided on the south side of this building and an adjacent parking lot across E. Atherton Road to the north.
Generally, the applicant plans to divide the building into multiple rental spaces and the proposed C-3 classification would expand the potential number and types of tenants. Prospective tenants include the National Guard, a truck driver training school (classrooms/offices) and a document storage facility. The C-3 classification will also eliminate the 15,000 SF maximum floor limitation for most uses in a C-1 district.
The existing C-1 zoning classification allows for animal sales and grooming, daycare centers, employment agencies, banks, offices, retail stores, medical services, and hair salons. In addition to retaining the office, retail, medical uses, C-3 zoning allows for services such as auto repair, construction contracting, light manufacturing/assembly and both residential and commercial warehousing. Service Commercial prohibits daycare centers, hospitals, taverns, and food/beverage sales.
In contrast to most other segments of E. US 24 Highway (and other City arterials for that matter) this portion of the highway east of Missouri 291 experienced only a limited amount of strip commercial zoning decades ago. The corridor includes a mix of C-1 and C-2 zoned properties, with some R-6 zoned properties still in residential use to the east of this site. The majority of properties appear to have been initially developed in a commercial manner, not residential property converted into commercial use.
Sewer, water and electrical service are available to the site. It appears that there is a single sanitary sewer lateral serving the entire complex. Depending on future volumes, a service upgrade may be required.
Comprehensive Plan: The City’s new Comprehensive Plan, ‘Imagine Independence,’ envisions Office uses for the site.
Review Criteria: Recommendations and decisions on rezoning applications must be based on consideration of all of the following criteria:
1. Conformance of the requested zoning with the Comprehensive Plan – The recently adopted Imagine Independence plan envisions Office uses for this site. A guiding principle of the Plan is to Foster redevelopment opportunities within the City to revitalize unused or underused property. This rezoning meets that principle.
2. Conformance of the requested zoning with any adopted neighborhood or sub-area plans in which the property is located or abuts – There are no sub-area plans for this site.
3. The compatibility of the proposed zoning with the zoning and use of nearby property, including any overlay zoning – This corridor segment contains only one other C-3 zoned property and no industrial zoned lots. The use of this large space for a mixture of retail and service uses can be compatible with surrounding uses and zoning.
4. The compatibility of the proposed zoning and allowed uses with the character of the neighborhood – This commercial neighborhood is zoned either C-1 or C-2 and contains an assortment of uses including banks, auto repair shops, restaurants, offices, and strip centers. The proposed C-3 zoning and the subsequent business activity could spawn additional economic activity along the corridor.
5. The suitability of the subject property for the uses to which it has been restricted under the existing zoning regulations – Considering the size of this building, with the C-1 district’s uses and performance limitations, the changing the zoning of the property to a classification with more flexibility could increase its development potential.
6. The length of time the subject property has remained vacant as zoned – It has been vacant for roughly two years.
7. The extent to which approving the rezoning will detrimentally affect nearby properties – If this rezoning assists with the occupancy of a now empty large commercial space on E. US 24 Highway, the economic activity created beneficial to area residents and businesses.
8. The gain, if any, to the public health, safety and welfare due to denial of the application, as compared to the hardship imposed upon the landowner, if any, as a result of denial of the application – If the rezoning is denied, it would have a negative financial effect on the owner.
Planning Commission Action: At its May 22, 2018 Planning Commission meeting, the motion for approval passed 4-0, after consideration of the following facts:
- That, the rezoning is consistent with the review criteria listed in Section 14-701-02 of the City Code.
- That, a public hearing was held pursuant to a notice duly published according to law, at which time all interested parties were given the full opportunity to be heard.
- That the newly adopted ‘Imagine Independence’ Comprehensive Plan recommends office uses for this site.
- The C-1 zoning classification allows for animal sales and grooming, daycare centers, employment agencies, banks, offices, retail stores, medical services, and hair salons. C-3 zoning allows for services such as auto repair, construction contracting, light manufacturing/assembly and both residential and commercial warehousing.
- That, at the Planning Commission hearing, no one spoke in opposition to the rezoning application.
- That, during the public hearing, one person spoke in favor of the application.
- That, at the hearing, no protest petition was submitted in opposition to the application.
Draft Planning Commission minutes are attached to this Council agenda item.