Springfield may rezone South Limestone corridor

Springfield will move forward with zoning changes.

The city has applied to the Springfield Planning Board to change zoning classifications along the South Limestone Street corridor, as well as changes to the commercial highway classification that would allow for more uses near Interstate 70.

The application was heard at last month’s Planning Board meeting, but not enough members were in attendance for a quorum. The application will be heard again at the meeting on Feb. 9.

Last year, the city held a public meeting to discuss with residents possible changes to the shopping corridor, which sees about 20,000 cars per day and also serves as one of the main entrances to the city from Interstate 70.

The corridor has many different zoning categories, which has hindered some development in the past, said Springfield Planning, Zoning and Code Enforcement Administrator Stephen Thompson. For example, Dunkin Donuts had to get a variance to open their standard store — which wouldn’t have been the case in other areas of town, such as Bechtle Avenue or East Main Street.

“Staff is trying to remove any zoning barriers that may have been present,” Thompson said. “The intent is to spur economic development and do whatever we can as staff that may be preventing that and give that area as much help as we can.”

As part of the changes, some properties zoned residential will change to commercial, but the owners will still be able to live in their homes, Thompson said.

A number of uses could also be added to the commercial highway classification, including community and daycare centers, banks, office, retail and theaters.

“This should give a little bit more direction about the kind of development people want to see in that area,” Thompson said.

If approved by the planning board, the changes would likely go before city commissioners in mid-March, he said.

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