P&Z hears residents' concerns, votes not to recommend light industrial rezoning for acres on South Hall Street

Bob Foos

Residents on the South Hall Street corridor got their way Monday when the Webb City Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-1 against rezoning 13 acres from agricultural to light industrial.

Specialty Foods Distribution, which has a warehouse on Enterprise Avenue in the Joplin/Webb City Industrial Park, proposes to build a second facility where Enterprise ends at South Hall Street (2105 S. Hall St). A burned vacant house is currently on the property.

Tony Dahl, representing Specialty Foods, said the new building would have 80,000 square feet for dry storage and 5,000 square feet of office space.

He estimated an additional 20 jobs would be created to operate the second facility.

“We don’t produce any product,” he emphasized. The site would include barriers to shield the view of nearby residents, especially those to the east in Eden Acres.

“We’re a local company,” Dahl said. “It’s important for us to be good neighbors.”

Area residents, however, said they already have too many industrial neighbors on Hall Street.

Paul Cooper, 2211 S. Hall St., spoke for many in attendance when he said truck traffic on Hall Street is bad already.

Part of the issue is that Joplin plans to widen Zora Street west of MO-249 and build a roundabout at Zora and Hall Street, in part to accommodate truck traffic better.

“I really think Hall Street needs to be addressed,” Cooper said.

Other residents complained about existing problems with trash from the industrial park.

On the north side of the industrial park is Cardinal Drive, where property owner Chad Brooks said “there’s an insane amount of trash” coming from the industries. “I’m 100% against it” (Specialty Foods rezoning request).

City Administrator Carl Francis urged residents to report trash complaints to the Webb City Police Department, which will forward the information to the code enforcement officer.

Others attending the rezoning hearing cited worries about harm to the natural waterway and falling property values.

Even though the request was turned down by the Planning and Zoning Commission, Specialty Foods can still take its request to the City Council. The next council meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, at City Hall.

The commission advanced two other rezoning requests to the city council with its recommendation to approve.

Matt Hodson said he wants resume building houses and would like the opportunity to maximize by building duplexes on property he has owned at 14th and Oronogo streets.

He said he plans to build gradually on 10 to 12 lots of varied sizes. If the property is rezoned from single family (R-1) to allow duplexes (R-2), he noted he could still build single-family houses.

All one neighbor came to the public hearing for was to verify Hodson won’t be allowed to build an apartment complex.

Others “like our neighborhood the way it is.”

City Attorney Troy Salchow reminded them that with the current R-1 zoning Hodson could subdivide his property into small lots, build houses and rent them all out.

The vote to recommend approval was 4-1.

There was no opposition to Chad Brooks’ request to rezone property at 1817 and 1825 S. Hall St. from agricultural to commercial (C-2) and 1919 S. Hall St. from R-1 to C-2.

He said he plans to move his business, Chances of Hope, from 27 S. Madison St. to the new site.