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Planning and Zoning Commision rejects special use permit for apartments near middle school

The Jackson Planning and Zoning Commission denied a special use permit for a community unit plan to construct a 26-unit apartment complex on Lot 8 of Independence Center Third Subdivision.

The special-use permit  would have allowed three separate buildings on the lot. Because the lot is already zoned for apartments, the City could only vote on whether to allow the complex to be multiple buildings.

The Commission voted 4-3 against the permit after a public hearing was held on Jan. 10. Many residents who lived near the proposed apartment complex spoke to the Commission in opposition to the proposal, and cited the already heavy traffic in the area due to the Middle School, the safety of children walking to and from school, lack of street parking, noise, congestion and lower property values as their main concerns.

Shawn Wren, who submitted the proposal, said he hoped to have the complex be separate buildings to be more aesthetically pleasing. He added that without having the special use permit, he could still build a building containing 16 to 20 apartments on the same lot.

“My goal isn’t to make things tougher, but that area is going to be developed and it’s already approved to be developed,” Wren said.

Wren asked those in the audience if they had ever rented when they were younger, and said adding apartments don’t mean there will be more crime.

“I’m not trying to integrate people from Charleston or south Cape,” Wren said. “Potential tenants are more than likely already in our community.”

Commission members struggled in deciding how to vote, agreeing with many of the residents’ concerns but acknowledging that their vote may not stop an apartment building from being constructed on that lot.

Wade Bartels, Tina Weber and Mike Seabaugh voted in favor for the permit, while Tony Koeller, Janice Unger, Beth Emmendorfer and Bill Fadler voted against. The matter will now go to the Jackson Board of Aldermen, where a super-majority will be needed to reverse the Commission’s decision.

In other news:

• The Commission rejected Lisa Craig’s request for rezoning all of 1211 Gloria Street from residential to general commercial. They did say that they would be open to rezoning part of the property to commercial, while leaving some of it residential.

• The Commission approved a final version of a zoning amendment to add regulations regarding shipping containers. The amendment will now go to the Board of Aldermen for final approval.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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