By Pauline Masson
Pacific Missourian Editor
After a 45-minute debate, the Pacific Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission May 8 reluctantly recommended approval of a planned unit district (PUD) for a new industrial building on East Osage.
Aldermen will consider the request Tuesday, May 15.
Developer Joe Bosse wants to construct a 20,000-square-foot industrial building in his Route 66 Business Park on East Osage with the hope of attracting one or two users for the structure.
Bosse said the most likely use of the new building would be for warehouse and office space. The proposed building, to be positioned at the back of the park, would be partitioned at the center to accommodate two users with 10,000 square feet of space for each.
Commissioners grilled Bosse over the history of the business park, future floods on the east end and landscaping, with the biggest concern centering on delivery trucks and possible future apartment residents using the same roadway.
Commissioners did not like the row of Bradford pear trees that line the front of the business park, or the mixed-use within the park, and they worried that the new building was in a flood plain.
Mostly, board members did not want to see residents of a proposed, but not yet built, apartment complex be forced to sit in their cars and wait for a delivery truck to stop and back into the loading area of the new building.
For his part, Bosse was perplexed. He asked commissioners if they needed a history lesson. He said the city approved the business park for mixed use 13 years ago, and it’s properly zoned for the new building.
Bosse also said trucks and residents use the same roadway everywhere. The city approved a new library that is under construction in an industrial area filled with trucks.
He also noted he’s been attempting for 13 years to develop the property as a mixed-use business center with industrial at the rear near the bluffs and retail at the front near Route 66. Currently, the park has only two occupants, Clarkson Eyecare laboratory at the rear and Dollar General store at the front.
“I’m not asking for anything that has not already been approved,” Bosse said.
City Administrator Steve Roth, who has been acting as building commissioner and zoning officer, set the stage for the debate, saying in his opinion having an industrial building against the apartments doesn’t work.
“I don’t feel the intended use (of the new building) is compatible with proposed apartments,” Roth said.
Bosse said the business park is already approved for mixed use and he has to use the site for what is economically viable.
Commissioner Jerry Eversmeyer said because the proposed apartments and proposed industrial building would both be entered from the same roadway he opposes the new building. He said apartment residents would have to sit on the road and wait as trucks stopped to back into the industrial building loading area.
“I cannot approve this,” Eversmeyer said.
Bosse asked Eversmeyer how many trucks would be making deliveries to a 20,000-square-foot building.
“All it takes is one truck and people in the apartment will be sitting there waiting,” Eversmeyer said.
Bosse said it’s doubtful that the apartments will ever be built, but that they had been approved by the city.
“You went to the expense of getting that,” Eversmeyer said. “I would think you went to all that trouble that you planned to do it.”
Chairman Linda Bruns asked how Bosse planned to meet the landscaping requirement for the new building.
Bosse said the city had seen his approach to landscaping at the park.
“How do you like the trees along the front of the park that were recently in the paper?” Bosse asked.
“Well, Joe, I don’t like them,” Bruns said.
Bosse reminded commissioners that M1 light industrial zoning for the business park had been granted 13 years ago. He said he has struggled to attract users to the site and made the choice to construct a $30,000 industrial building as opposed to a $2 million apartment complex because it made economic sense.
Roth backtracked on his earlier comments. He said the property is zoned for the proposed building and it is a permitted use.
“The only issue relates to trucks staging on the street,” he said. “In my opinion, given Clarkson Eyecare entry from Neosho and the rest of the business park vacant, there is no issue at this point. A 20,000-square-foot building would not expect a lot of deliveries in and out of there.”
Eversmeyer asked new building commissioner Shawn Seymore, who had kept silent for the debate, his views on the project.
Seymore said the developer had the right to construct his building.
“This is a planned district and standard development,” he said. “He has all the right to develop in M1.”
Seymore added that to change the plan that previously was approved would require an application from the property owner.
“The site plan has been approved,” he said. “He can build.”
Eversmeyer said he would make a motion to approve the building because it fits the zoning, but the new building would have to meet green space requirements.
The recommended approval passed 6-0 with commissioner Jim Smith absent. Aldermen will consider the application May 15.