City officials: Habitat for Humanity development plan would require variances to meet code

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A proposed Habitat for Humanity residential subdivision in Cape Girardeau does not meet all Cape Girardeau city development regulations, city officials said Monday.

That information is contained in a written question-and-answer sheet made available to the public at the city council study session and subsequent regular meeting.

"Hopefully, this will answer some of your questions," deputy city manager Molly Hood told a handful of residents who showed up at the study session to voice concerns about the proposed development.

The Habitat for Humanity not-for-profit organization has proposed developing a 40-lot residential subdivision that would include six cul-de-sac streets and raze much of a 14-acre wooded area.

Under city regulations, the developer could build as many as 56 houses as part of a "cluster subdivision" that involves smaller lot sizes with dedicated open space, officials said.

According to the city's development services, two features of the proposed development do not meet city code for R-1, or single family residential, zoning.

Habitat for Humanity is seeking setback variances to allow a front-yard setback of 20 feet instead of the required 30 feet and a rear-yard setback of 6 feet instead of the required 25 feet.

City officials said it is up to the city council to decide whether to grant such variances.

"If the city council denies one or both variances, they also must deny the preliminary plat," the written information sheet states.

The city council would have to approve a preliminary plat and a record plat before the project can proceed.

The council must approve such plats if it meets all the zoning regulations, according to the information sheet.

The issue was not on the council agenda Monday night, but several people who live or work near the proposed development took the opportunity to address the council.

Christine Rice, who lives on North Clark Street near where it dead ends at the southern tip of the woods, said the extension of Clark Street as part of the proposed development could add to traffic problems. The development would connect the south and north dead ends of Clark Street.

Rice said she and other neighbors worry Clark Street would become "a major thruway."

In response to a question from Rice, Hood said the city has not done a traffic study.

Steve Foeste, who is involved in the operation of Foeste Nursery at 1020 N. Clark St., voiced concern the development could add to existing drainage problems.

Adjacent property owners complained last week they had not been notified by the city of the project before the planning and zoning commission last month recommended approval of the development plat.

But city officials said at the study session no notification is required for subdivision plats. Such notification is required if a developer requests to rezone land or obtain a special-use permit.

Mayor Harry Rediger urged concerned residents to attend a meeting with Al Stoverink, executive director of the Habitat for Humanity chapter, at city hall Thursday. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Hood said she expects Stoverink will present some revised development plans at the meeting.

In other business, the council voted in regular session to seek federal grant money to construct sidewalks along a section of Independence Street and a section of Cape Rock Drive.

mbliss@semissourian.com

(573) 388-3641

Pertinent address:

401 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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