Divided commission recommends status quo on Main Street

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A divided Cape Girardeau planning and zoning commission Wednesday recommended downtown Main Street remain one way southbound, citing frustration over the fact that downtown merchants couldn't agree on a traffic plan.

The commission followed the recommendation of a six-member committee of planning commissioners and downtown merchants. The vote was 7-2 to forward the recommendation to the city council, which has the final decision.

Commissioners Scott Rhodes and Clifford Crosnoe voted against the recommendation. "We did not achieve anything," Rhodes said.

Downtown jeweler Kent Zickfield served on the planning committee. Zickfield said he opposed the recommendation to keep the current traffic pattern on Main Street.

"I don't believe any of us think it is right to have two streets going in the same direction," he told the commission. "I think it is a very poor traffic plan."

Said Zickfield, "I think this committee failed."

He and some other downtown merchants want Main Street made two ways between Broadway and William Street.

Zickfield said the city needs to hire a traffic planner to look at traffic flow on all the downtown streets. "I think it's time we have professional help," he said.

Rhodes said the traffic issue on Main Street surfaced because of the fact that Water Street is being changed from a two-way street to one way southbound to benefit the floodwall mural.

"We are screwing with all the downtown merchants to accommodate a wall," he said.

'We're stuck'

Commission and committee chairman Skip Smallwood said they had little choice but to recommend the status quo on Main Street. "We're stuck," he said.

Commissioner Charles Haubold agreed with Zickfield that further study of downtown traffic patterns is needed.

Smallwood said he would mention that suggestion when he appears before the city council Monday night to explain the no-change recommendation.

In other action, the commission recommended the council deny the request of the Cape Girardeau Baptist Association for a special-use permit to operate a Baptist center for Southeast Missouri State University students in a house at 1016 N. Henderson Ave. Neighbors on Henderson Avenue had objected to the proposed development, saying it would hurt property values and the residential character of the neighborhood.

The commission also recommended the council deny special-use permit requests for an apartment building at 2784 Lynwood Hills Drive and a day-care facility at 733 Watkins Drive. In both instances, nearby property owners objected to the proposed developments.

The commission recommended rezoning of an 82-acre tract on the north end of the Dalhousie development off Bloomfield Road for development of condominiums.

Commissioners also voiced support for a special-use permit to allow the city to tear down a house at 506 N. West End Blvd. to provide parking for Hardee's restaurant to replace the parking spaces that will be lost with the widening of Broadway.

The commission's support included two stipulations to address concerns of nearby homeowners: no restaurant trash container can be placed on the lot and any additional lights on the lot must be directed away from the adjacent homes.

Commissioners tabled action on a record plat for Timber Creek Subdivision, but recommended approval of record plats for The Highlands, Arbor Heights Fourth Addition and Emerald Forest Second subdivisions.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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