Springfield City Commission members unanimously approved a re-zoning request Tuesday that will allow a proposed housing development to move forward.
The commission’s decision will impact two tracts of land along East National Road near Walmart. It includes 37 acres of property south of the Tuttle Road Walmart along with an additional 15-acre tract to the east of the Walmart. A developer called DDC Management is planning a single-family housing development on the land.
If the project goes ahead as planned, it could be the first significant development of its kind since the 1990s, said Tom Franzen, assistant city manager and director of economic development for Springfield. He said a lack of new, affordable housing is one of the city’s biggest challenges. It could also provide a boost to businesses along that corridor.
“It’s a big project,” Franzen said. “It’s important to this community.”
However, the proposed development has received some opposition. The Central Regional Planning Commission voted against the proposed zoning change, raising concerns about how the project may be financed and the possibility the developers could build homes too close together if the initial demand is slower than expected.
Residents already living in that corridor aren’t necessarily opposed to a new development, said Dan Kelly, a CEDA board member. But he said the new zoning will allow up to eight houses per acre.
“We welcome zoning that promotes a bigger lot size, more square footage, less population, more green space and it fits in with our neighborhood,” Kelly said.
Springfield city officials previously told the News-Sun that the commissioners take the CEDA board’s recommendations into consideration while reviewing a proposed zoning change. But the final decision is up to the commissioners.
Franzen said the zoning change is just an initial step in allowing the development process to move forward. The city and chamber have had some success attracting new businesses and jobs to the area, and new housing options are needed to encourage those workers to move to Springfield instead of other neighboring communities.
“Industry has an interest as well in bringing in new housing because that helps them attract new employees,” Franzen said.
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