By Debby Woodin
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
A public hearing on a commercial rezoning request that is the first to incorporate design guidelines recently adopted by the Joplin City Council is set for tonight’s council meeting.
The new guidelines are intended to create more attractive commercial districts and provide a buffer for adjacent residential areas.
The council will hear a request by Yorktown Properties and the Majzoub Family Limited Partnership to rezone properties along Highview Avenue, north of 20th Street, as they rebuild the Bel-Aire Plaza. The shopping center was destroyed in the May 22 tornado.
Requests to rezone nine lots — eight of them on Highview Avenue — were heard last month by the Joplin Planning and Zoning Commission, and no opposition surfaced.
The commission agreed unanimously to advance the proposal to the council with a recommendation that it approve the requested change in zoning from single-family residential to a commercial-planned development for lots at 1805, 1809, 1813, 1817, 1823, 1903, 1909 and 1915 S. Highview Ave. The proposal also includes a zoning change for the shopping center’s existing site at 1900 S. Range Line Road from C-1-PD to C-3-PD. The latter designation would allow a restaurant on the site to sell alcohol. The PD, or planned district, designation gives the city some control to approve or alter buffering landscaping and fencing between the commercial area and a nearby residential area.
If the zoning is approved, the shopping center’s site plan will go before the planning board on Monday, May 14, and then will advance to council.
That site plan shows three buildings flanking a free-standing, sit-down restaurant, a LongHorn Steakhouse. The chain operates 370 restaurants in 35 states. The property is to be edged on Highview Avenue and 18th Street with landscaped and fenced buffering zones. The former shopping center had one building with no free-standing restaurant. Owner Hish Majzoub has said that most of the former tenants, including Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, will return.
City Planner Troy Bolander said it is the first project to incorporate zoning changes and design guidelines that were adopted by the council in March.
Public hearings also are slated on the following proposals:
• Voluntary annexation of property at 655 Lavender Lane, south of Missouri Southern State University, to the city limits.
• Rezoning of property at 1825 S. Connecticut Ave. from single-family residential to commercial with a planned district designation.
• Rezoning of property at 1602 S. Range Line, and 2918 and 2920 E. 16th St., from residential and low commercial use to higher commercial use for the construction of doctors’ offices and retail stores.
In other business, the council will be asked to decide on an emergency ordinance that would request that the Jasper and Newton county commissions allow an election on Aug. 7 on consolidating the village of Silver Creek with the city of Joplin.
Trustees of Silver Creek are asking for the consolidation. About 600 to 700 people live in the village.
Pat Worley, chairman of the Silver Creek Board of Trustees, said last month that one reason for the request is that village residents would save more than $500 in annual taxes and fees by joining Joplin. Another is that there is too much work for the existing board to handle and there are not enough volunteers to take care of village business, he said.
If the measure advances, it would take a simple majority vote in both the village and the city to authorize the consolidation.
The Joplin City Council meets at 6 p.m. today on the fifth floor of City Hall, 602 S. Main St.