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Developers attend session to explain intentions

There was discussion on both sides of the issue when a rezoning request for property along Karsch Boulevard came up again during the Farmington City Council work session last Thursday night.

A public hearing was held for a rezoning request for a portion of three lots near the corner of Karsch Boulevard and A Street. The owners, Denny Pogue and Mary Dunn, are requesting that a portion of the rear of each lot be made commercial to be added to a neighboring lot they already own.

Twice in the past several months the rezoning matter has run the gamut of hurdles through Planning and Zoning and the full council before being rejected at the end. This time there was less opposition voiced during the public hearing.

The property owners also had the proposed developers for the new commercial area, Prarieland Development, LLC, in attendance at the meeting to make their intentions known. Larry Quinn, of Prarieland, talked of how the company is “looking forward to becoming partners” in the business community of Farmington.

Prarieland Development, LLC., intends to build an Advance Auto Parts store on the newly-expanded lot facing Karsch Boulevard. The company has already met with the Missouri Department of Transportation and apparently received approval for two entrances, actually an “ingress” and an “egress”, from and to Karsch Boulevard.

Those speaking out against the proposed rezoning and auto parts store during Monday evening’s meeting were Charles Limbaugh and Jack Richardson. Both talked mainly about a set of “covenant restrictions” placed on the neighborhood decades ago — which both explained were still in place and enforceable.

Council legal counsel Mike Reid explained to the audience that restrictive covenants are restrictions brought and defended in the private sector, not the public sector. He told how zoning was a public matter to be decided by the council, but any fight to enforce restrictive covenants would have to be waged by other nearby residents living under the covenants and wishing to pursue the matter in civil court … and would have to be done at their cost.

Farmington Chamber of Commerce President David Buerck made a statement on behalf of chamber members and board members present at the meeting. In his talk he explained how the chamber had embraced and supported a Tax Increment Financing district including the property in question when the city asked them to do so a few years ago to assist with the building of the St. Francois County Courthouse Annex building.

Buerck said the chamber was told the goal of a TIF district was to garner new tax revenue from retail growth within the district to fund specific improvements. He said the chamber “believes wholeheartedly in small business,” which he explained was the bulk of businesses in Farmington.

He added that he believed it was important to “build our business base.”

With no further comments during the public hearing, Mayor Jeannie Roberts moved on to the second hearing of the evening. A bill has been proposed to limit the location of non-chartered payday and title loan businesses.

 No one spoke out during the public hearing. It was explained that the new restrictions would include limiting how close such businesses could be located to each other, and that they would have to be at least 200 feet from a residential area.

That done, a number of committee reports was given with it being told that the annual spring cleanup will be April 14-17, beginning with Ward 1 the first day, ward 2 the second, and on and on.

A presentation was given by members of Le Ann Johnson’s eighth grade class at St. Paul Lutheran School encouraging the city to adopt a recycling program and establish a center for that effort.

To close the meeting the council heard a first reading on the rezoning and payday and title loan bills. They also heard a brief explanation on Mineral Area College’s work to get an $8 million tax issue passed April 8. If approved, the college would receive matching funds from the state to build a $16 million vocational technical school on the college campus.

Gill Kennon, of MAC, explained that the new building would be “green” friendly.

The council gave unanimous approval to a resolution showing the city’s support for the bond issue.

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