Split vote spikes request for special-use permit

Thursday, June 15, 2006

For the second time in two months, the Cape Girardeau Planning and Zoning Commission will recommend against allowing the construction of a convenience store and filling station at the corner of Lexington Avenue and Perryville Road.

In a split 5-5 vote, commissioners decided the neighborhood was residential and should stay that way. A split vote amounts to a rejection.

"If you allow this, then how do you deny the next applicant?" said commissioner Bill Hinckley. "I would say it becomes a philosophical argument of whether you want to let the camel get his nose under the tent."

The applicant for the project, Westside Investments, currently operates a Winks convenience store adjacent to the property at 2021 Perryville Road. The zoning on that property was grandfathered in to the neighborhood, which is strictly residential.

Steve Wilson of 2009 Perryville Road, across the street, does not want to see the neighborhood's character change.

"It puts a footprint right in the neighborhood and changes it. People act differently in commercial areas," he said.

In May the commission denied this request citing traffic concerns. The applicant, Bill Stanfield, made revisions to the plan which were approved by the city engineer.

It was not enough, though, to sway the commission. "We have gone on record and said we will not issue a special-use permit in an R-1 district, period," said commissioner Cliff Crosnoe.

Since 1990, six requests to develop the property for commercial use have been denied. This would be the seventh.

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