Development will add new homes to legacy neighborhood in Springfield

Houses would sell for $200-$300K, a ‘quality development,’ Rue says.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Springfield City Commissioners have approved a zoning modification that marks the first step toward authorizing the construction of nine new houses on a former school site located in a legacy neighborhood.

Residents near the 3.367-acre parcel of land located at 280 South Clairmont and Raffensperger Avenues have expressed concerns about the proposed new construction and impact it will have on the area. City officials sought to ease their worries as they acted to clear a zoning change that will allow the project to move forward.

“I can understand the concerns,” Assistant Mayor Rob Rue said, “however, this represents a quality development in a legacy neighborhood … It is hard to not vote in favor because it meets exactly what we are looking for - quality development in that type of neighborhood.”

The new houses are designed to sell in the range of $200,000-$300,000. The homes include a two-car garage and are approximately 1,426 square feet of living space.

The development project is being led by Bruce Kelley, a previous resident of the neighborhood and current Springfield resident. He said he is motivated by personal reasons to develop the property.

“I grew up in this neighborhood,” Kelly told commissioners in a previous meeting. The subdivision will also honor his 4-year old daughter, who passed away in 2019, with the name Camella Estates.

The site is the former location of a Springfield elementary school, Elmwood.

“I’m really excited to see someone from that neighborhood coming back and using his resources to invest in this neighborhood,” Commissioner Krystal Phillips said as commissioners reviewed the proposed plan.

Neighborhood resident Shirley Campbell, who resides on Clairmont Avenue, told the commission she is concerned that new homes will have a negative impact on the uniqueness of the homes in the area.

“My home is almost 100 years old … I would like to have seen this space turned into a park. I commend the young man who is planning this development, and would ask that the design of the homes be conducive to the atmosphere of the 100-year-old neighborhood … My concern is that we’re going to overbuild.”

She also expressed concerns about drainage issues in the neighborhood and asked if existing problems will be addressed before construction takes place.

Springfield City Manager Bryan Heck reassured her that only nine homes are proposed, so lots are larger and will not adversely affect neighborhood density. He also advised that the city service department is already looking into drainage concerns to see what can be done to alleviate any problems.

“We’ve been working very hard to encourage the development of single-family homes in our neighborhoods, where there are vacant lots and vacant properties,” Commissioner David Estrop said. “These will be single-family homes, nice homes, in a great neighborhood.”

There are still additional procedural hurdles to cover before work gets underway on the project, and all structures will be reviewed and approved for compliance with city code before final approval by city officials.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

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