By Debby Woodin
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Zoning of eight former residential properties on Highview Avenue for the proposed expansion of the Bel-Aire Plaza won a recommendation for approval on Monday from the Joplin Planning and Zoning Commission.
The commission agreed unanimously to advance the proposal to change the 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 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.
At a public meeting on Thursday for neighbors, the owner and developer of the property unveiled a site plan with renderings of the buildings they propose to construct to replace the shopping center that was destroyed by the May 22 tornado.
The shopping center is owned by Dr. Hish Majzoub and his family, of Joplin.
Developer Mike Mellinger of Springfield told the planning commission that the redevelopment of three commercial buildings for storefronts with a freestanding, sit-down restaurant, a LongHorn Steakhouse, is planned to meet new design standards adopted by the City Council last month.
The property will be edged on Highview Avenue and 18th Street with 25-foot landscaped and fenced buffering zones.
Mellinger said C3-PD zoning is sought rather than a more stringent C1-PD because the restaurant business will apply to sell alcohol and that is allowed only with C3 zoning.
No one opposed the request before the planning commission and no protests have been filed, the commission was told.
The panel also voted to recommend a special-use permit for Majzoub property at 2926 E. 17th St. Mellinger said that an AT&T store is to be rebuilt at 17th Street and Range Line, and this property would be used for additional parking behind the store.
Neighbor Joe Landrith, 2914 E. 16th St., asked that a masonry wall rather than a wood fence be built to separate the parking lot from his nearby home. He said the masonry reduces traffic noise better than a wood fence.
The panel also agreed to recommend rezoning requests at 1825 S. Connecticut Ave. from single-family residential to C3-PD. Builder Charles Kuehn said he does not have a plan yet for the site.
Kuehn also seeks rezoning of three adjoining properties near 16th Street and Range Line Road. A change from single-family and non-retail commercial to C-3 commercial zoning is sought for 1602 S. Range Line Road, 2918 and 2920 E. 16th Rezoning was denied several weeks ago by the City Council, but Kuehn told the zoning panel Monday he now has a tenant and a site design.
Landrith filed opposition to the request and told the panel that “until we hear what they are going to build, we’re against it.” He said he is concerned a restaurant will be built there that would generate a traffic increase in his neighborhood.
The zoning panel agreed to advance the proposal for rezoning to the council with a recommendation to approve.
If the Bel-Aire Plaza proposal receives council approval, construction is to start in June, with completion planned for early 2013.