The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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September 3, 2012

Public hearings on zoning issues, dog park question top today's City Council business

A slate of public hearings on zoning requests, including a contested permit for an electric substation in southwest Joplin, and a step toward establishing an off-leash dog park are scheduled for action tonight by the City Council.

The council’s regular meeting on Monday was rescheduled in observance of Labor Day. The panel meets for an informal session at 5:15 p.m. and its regular meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 602 S. Main St.

A request for a special-use permit by Empire District Electric Co. is slated for a public hearing. That request has encountered opposition from residents of the Hidden Hills subdivision that resulted in a vote last month by the Planning and Zoning Commission recommending that the council deny the request. The electric company has filed a request with the city to table council action because the company intends to hold an open house Sept. 13 to answer questions residents may have about the project.

A public hearing will be held on the first request by a property owner seeking a change in zoning on South Hearnes Boulevard to build a medical office near what will be the new Mercy Hospital Joplin. Dr. Jay Joseph, Z-Four Inc. and Richard Beckham are asking for C-1 zoning of a tract at 5227 S. Hearnes Blvd. The zoning commission recommends C-1 zoning, but as a planned district.

In other business, the council will be asked to approve a sponsorship agreement with Mars Petcare that would provide part of the construction costs for an off-leash dog park at Parr Hill Park. Parks Director Chris Cotten received informal council authorization in December to work on the sponsorship agreement as a way to provide the dog park, which residents have been requesting for several years.

Under the agreement, Mars would install about $20,000 worth of fencing and equipment for the dog area to be established at the park. There are to be separate areas for large and small dogs. The work would include entry gates, sitting benches, pickup stations and signs.

Mars also would receive some promotional rights for the park. The city would pay to install waterlines and drinking fountains for both dogs and people, run electricity to the park’s motorized gates, and install shade structures. The city’s costs would be about $30,000 and would come from the proceeds of the parks and stormwater sales tax. The dog park project was one of several tied to voter renewal of the tax last year.

Other public hearings are scheduled on requests by:

• Freeman Health System for C-3 zoning on Highway 171, south of Dennis Weaver Drive, to build a clinic.

• David Sweeney for C-1 zoning for 3010 S. Connecticut Ave.

• Patsy Loyd for C1-PD zoning at the northeast corner of St. Louis Avenue and Zora Street. The owner has filed a request to strike the request from the agenda.

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