A dozen residents who live near the intersection of Highways OO and 100 outside Pacific spoke against the rezoning of property in that area slated for a new gas station, grocery store and 54-unit apartment complex.
The overall development proposed by Pacific resident Sam Salamah would sit on roughly 12 acres, but the hearing Thursday focused on a 3.6-acre tract that is currently zoned suburban development (SD).
The Franklin County Planning and Zoning Commission voted against the rezoning last month prompting the public hearing in front of the Franklin County Commission.
The main focus of the speakers against the rezoning was the location of a sewage lift station that might be placed there to transfer waste from the development to the water supply district.
Salamah, his daughter, and Rob Bittick, the developer on the project, were the only speakers in favor of the rezoning.
“The development will be costly, but we have to do it,” Salamah said. “This will be beneficial to the area. It will create jobs and revenues for the city, county and state.”
Salamah added the project is going to cost $13 million, he has the experience to do it and it would be something everybody could be proud of. Salamah has owned the property since 1991.
Currently there are no gas stations or grocery stores near the area in question.
“People ask why I didn’t do this sooner?” Salamah said. “We do things step by step. The county needs this. I can provide these services.
The property is not near sewer or water hookups, and Salamah would have to go 1,600 feet to the west to hook up to water and is planning to hook up to a treatment plant at the Victoria Gardens Mobile Home Park nearly a half mile away.
According to their current plan, a sewage holding tank and lift station would be located on the parcel up for discussion.
These sewage uncertainties were mentioned time and time again by neighbors opposed to the rezoning, who repeatedly testified the current sewage treatment plant could barely handle what was sent to them now.
Tom Brandt, whose family has a Century Farm where they raise beef cattle has property lines only 600 feet from the site.
Brandt raised concerns about the creek on his property he uses to water his livestock that could become contaminated if the sewage treatment plant would become overloaded.
Tom Gustafson, who lives near the proposed site, said it would be wrong to build the entire development because of added commuter traffic and future road projects.
“In 1982, MoDOT had a plan to realign Highway OO,” he explained. “I just looked and it’s still on the long-range plan for 2024. So they would have to spend more money to tear down all of the buildings he would be putting up.”
Bill Enzinger called the development incompatible for the location and suggested it would be better built somewhere else.
“The development is 1,600 feet from a water line and 900 feet from a sewer line,” he said. “These are all indicators of incompatibility.”
In addition to the testimonies, Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said several letters opposing the rezoning also had been submitted.
The county commission will review all of the testimonies and evidence submitted and make a ruling to either uphold the planning board’s decision or overturn it and allow the parcel to be rezoned.