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Residents voice concerns

Neighbors in a residential area of Farmington where a commercial rezoning request was denied last month were at the Farmington City Council meeting on Monday night seeking information on the property.

The residents of Janey Drive were present to address their concerns that Rafi Kthiri was continuing to operate his lawn care business at the property even after the rezoning to commercial was denied.

Farmington City Administrator Greg Beavers explained the background to their concerns following the meeting.

“We had an unfortunate situation develop where Mr. Kthiri was proceeding to occupy that property, make certain improvements on it for commercial use based on some guidance he was given by one of our city staff,” Beavers said. “We determined that it wasn’t an allowed use in that zoning district. He filed for a general zoning change for commercial use – which was denied by both planning and zoning and city council. They didn’t feel it was appropriate to just out-right rezone that property in a residential area.”

Since that time, Kthiri decided to pursue filing a planned unit development for the property which, according to Beavers, places more restrictions on the property than would exist under a general commercial change.

“It provides an opportunity to at least try to address some of the concerns brought up by the neighborhood,” he said.

The issue for those neighbors speaking at the meeting is that Kthiri continues to operate his business at that location, even after the decision made by the council to deny the rezoning request.

City Attorney Scott Reid explained to the residents the decision was made by City Prosecutor Julie McCarver for the city not to file charges for the illegal land use while there is an undergoing legislative process.

“While it’s frustrating to the neighborhood, it seems inconsistent to be prosecuting (an individual) for something that may be made legal in just a few weeks,” Beavers said.

Read more about the discussion regarding the matter in this week’s edition of the Farmington Press.

In other matters, it was also announced BJC would be donating the building where the OAKS Senior Center is located to the city.

Word of a possible donation was discussed earlier this summer. A piece of legislation passed by council on Monday was for a re-subdivision of the property where the former Mineral Area Regional Medical Center and senior center are located.

“It’s been in discussions a long time,” Beavers said. “When BJC purchased the Mineral Area Hospital and eventually made the decision to close it … we had the senior center and a building on the back side to the east of the hospital.

“(BJC) made a commitment to the city to donate the building and the associated property around it all the way out to Wallace Road to continue to operate as a senior center. That’s going to be a nice donation on their part to give to the city.”

Earlier in the meeting, Mayor Larry Forsythe announced members of the council would be addressed as councilors to maintain uniformity.

During the Public Works report, Ward IV Councilor Mark Kellogg said the city is hoping to use available grant funds to assist in the construction of crosswalks and sidewalks on Karsch Boulevard near Walton Drive and Potosi Street.

“We have a number of crossings across Karsch that people frequent,” Beavers said after the meeting. “We’ve installed two cross signals at Maple Valley Drive and Washington Street.”

He said there are a number of people crossing at the intersections near Taco Bell and Lowe’s, as well as near Walmart and Panera Bread.

“We have some available funding from the Missouri Department of Transportation through the FAU (Federal aid-urban) program that we have to expend out or their going to have to return it to the federal government at some point in time,” he said. “We think it’s a great use for those funds.”

In other action, the council approved an amendment to the ordinance regarding the definition of front yards.

Council also approved resolutions regarding two biosolid land application agreements, an historic grant agreement with Lance and Patti Krause, a contract with Missouri Land Company for excavation and hauling, a settlement agreement and release with Frankie L. Eaton and Katie L. Eaton, and a resolution appointing former councilman Garett Boatright to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Finance Director Michelle Daniels also reported sales tax receipts through the month of March were up 0.9 percent over the previous year.

During the City Administrator’s report, Beavers told the council the city began using work release crews from Eastern Reception and Diagnostic Correctional Center in Bonne Terre on Monday. He said the program at the Farmington Correctional Center was unable to provide the 22 needed for the city’s crews. In addition, he said, the crews being used from Bonne Terre are from the minimum security unit. The previous crews used from Farmington were medium security.

Forsythe presented a proclamation to Eagle Scout Jordan Duncan in recognition of his achieving the rank as a member of Troop 471 in Farmington. Also attending were his parents, Dan and Teresa. Duncan constructed an area for a garden at Jefferson Elementary School for his project.

It was also announced a dedication ceremony will take place at 8 a.m. on Friday at the tennis courts at Engler Park, renaming the courts in memory of former Mayor Floyd Hager. The dedication ceremony will coincide with the Farmington Invitational Tennis Tournament. Read more about the late mayor’s role in tennis in Farmington in this week’s Farmington Press.

The council next meets in regular session on May 11.

Vehicles are parked behind an outbuilding at a property located at 713 Janey Dr. in Farmington on March 10.

Vehicles are parked behind an outbuilding at a property located at 713 Janey Dr. in Farmington on March 10.

Farmington High School Senior Jordan Duncan is presented a proclamation by Mayor Larry Forsythe for obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout earlier this year. Forsythe made the presentation during the Farmington City Council meeting on Monday. Also pictured is City Counselor Scott Reid and Ward IV Councilor Vanessa Pegram.

Farmington High School Senior Jordan Duncan is presented a proclamation by Mayor Larry Forsythe for obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout earlier this year. Forsythe made the presentation during the Farmington City Council meeting on Monday. Also pictured is City Counselor Scott Reid and Ward IV Councilor Vanessa Pegram.

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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