Usually the argument is reverse. Usually a property owner argues to rezone a property from single family to multi-family.
But at the Nixa City Council meeting Jan. 28, property owner Kyle Tunnel urged the opposite. He wanted members to override the city’s planning and zoning commission and rezone his one-acre parcel on Missouri Highway 14 from multi-family to single-family residential.
“On my behalf, it is surrounded by Majestic Road and Cheyenne by single-family (homes)… –in conformance with the neighborhood,” Tunnel said. “ I understand the city has master plan …I bought it to build a house for myself…”
According to background information provided by Nixa Director of Planning and Development Travis Cossey, the property sits on Highway 14 at the intersection of Shangri-La Court. The city annexed the land in 1994 and approved a rezoning request creating the WAA-CAA Subdivision in 2002 with five lots. One lot contains a regional lift station and one lot—the one Tunnel purchased with highway frontage—was zoned R-3 or multi-family.
Cossey said the Nixa Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously denied Tunnel’s request to return the property to single family, because it did not conform to the city’s comprehensive master plan. According to city code, a single-family home cannot be built on land zoned multi-family.
Tunnel had support from neighbors in the area who told the city council that the lot had remained vacant for decades and that they were unaware that it ever had been zoned multi-family.
“When this whole thing started, nobody knew that the owners changed it,” said Leslie Dye, who lives just north of the parcel. “We had no idea how it happened. We were under the impression that it would be single-family houses. Everything along there is single-family houses.”
Nearby resident Derek Bodendorfer said the same.
“I see a bunch of homes and I don’t see why it should be any different than that,” he said. He added that “if it was 10 or 20 acres and you could build a huge complex” he would better understand the city’s position.
“I am in favor of Kyle’s request for a rezone,” Bodendorfer said. “All of us want it to stay (single-family) residential. That’s what we all feel it should be. It’s be vacant for over 10 years.”
Mayor Brian Steele said there were unanswered questions and recommended that the bill to rezone be tabled and kicked back to planning and zoning for further discussion.
“I would like to send this back to P&Z and make sure we are all on the same page.” Steele said. “I hate for us to override planning and zoning. “
District 1 Councilman Jimmy Ledbetter seemed to agree and was reluctant to rule against the zoning commissioners.
“Why did P&Z say no?” Ledbetter asked. “I don’t’ feel I have all the facts yet. I don’t feel comfortable just yet. “
But District 2 Councilman Matt Barker felt uncomfortable with any delay. Barber lives near the property and agreed with Tunnel and the other property owners.
“That’s a problem for me,” Barker said. “I would rather resolve this tonight. I think it is black and white and we’re making it gray.”
Barker’s push prevailed. Steele failed to get a motion to table the bill and city council members unanimously overruled planning and zoning and approved the legislation by a 6-0 vote.