Properties on South Madison Street between MacArthur Drive and 10th Street are within a special zoning area known as the Madison Overlay.

Madison Overlay restrictions likely to become a thing of the past

Developer says the restrictions have caused firms to build instead on Range Line Road

The Madison Street Overlay District, established more than 15 years ago to protect the character of South Madison Street from MacArthur Drive to 10th Street as it transitioned from residential to commercial – is on the way out.

On Monday, the Webb City Council accepted first reading of a bill to repeal the Madison Street Overlay District section of the municipal code.

Businessman Shane Burns spoke during the visitor portion of the meeting asking for the council to “redo” the Madison Overlay to encourage commercial growth. He said he has lost deals on land he owns on South Madison Street because of the overlay. In one instance, he said the prospective buyer wound up purchasing property farther south in Joplin on Range Line Road.

Burns owns more than half of the frontage on the west side of the 700 block of South Madison Street.

City Administrator Carl Francis said the overlay’s regulations are no longer practical. He mentioned “bright colors” being prohibited on buildings and the requirement to save trees.

Jerry Fisher (3rd Ward), who was on the council when the overlay was enacted, said the restrictions were written a lot to regulate the City Pointe shopping center, which led the move to commercialize the tree-lined residential strip on South Madison Street.

He said he has one constituent in particular who asks why the restrictions aren’t enforced. “I didn’t know the Board of Adjustments and Appeals could throw it (overlay) out.”

Fisher asked Burns what the reasons were for him losing the deals. 

Burns said the 45-foot setback requirement is the main issue. He also mentioned the colors prohibition.

Another feature of the overlay requires a vegetation barrier in the back of the businesses to shield adjacent homeowners.

If the overlay is repealed, Francis said the affected properties would be revert to the “every day” underlying C-1, C-2 or C-3 zoning regulations.

Regular commercial rezoning only requires 25-foot setbacks, as opposed to the overlay’s 45-foot setbacks. And it requires a barrier (not vegetative) between commercial and residential property.

“I personally hate to see the whole thing (overlay) go out,” said Fisher. 

On the other hand, he added, “Bottom line, it’s not working anyway – probably best to repeal it.”

Second (final) reading will be on the council’s April 12 agenda.


The dark area is property on the west side of East Street that’s requested to be rezoned from commercial to multi-family. 

Multi-family zoning requested near East Street

The council also gave first-reading approval to a bill that would rezone approximately four acres in the Centennial Retail and Industrial Park from commercial to multi-family residential.

Jock Evans, 1114 Elm Court, is requesting the change, which was advanced to the council on March 16 by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The property extends north of the strip shopping center on the northwest corner of East and Galena streets. Duplexes are behind that shopping center.

It will not front East Street. There’s another tract between it and East Street. Kyle Hickam, one of the owners of that property, spoke in favor of the rezoning at the P&Z meeting.

In other action, the council:

  • Heard a request from resident Teresa Richey to do something about fireworks displays in residential neighborhoods. She brought a gallon jug full of debris she had picked up last year from her property. The display had been in the street in front of her house.
  • Noted the city’s finances are in good condition. Sales tax collections continue to outpace the budget projection by 10%. And the use tax collections are 53% above expectations.
  • Authorized the purchase of a replacement postage machine from Pitney Bowes, which submitted the lowest of four bids, $2,816.
  • Heard from Tom Reeder, director of parks and recreation, that he needed to replace two unsafe pickups but didn’t have the money available in his budget. A car dealer in town informed him that he was obtaining two 3/4-ton, low-mileage pickups, which he would let the city have at a discount. Even that was too expensive for Reeder’s available funds. So the dealer wound up donating the pickups to the city. The dealer is Shane Burns, who owns X-Treme Powersports Auto Center, 1301 S. Madison St. Reeder said he waited until the meeting was about to be adjourned before telling the council about Burns’ generosity because he didn’t want to connect it to the Madison Overlay issue. “Shane has always been a friend of ours,” Reeder said.
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