A last-minute addition to Jefferson's agenda led the city council to enact a moratorium Oct. 11 on residential developments in commercial buildings or on commercial property. The moratorium will last 60 days.
Councilman Mark Mobley brought the moratorium to the council, saying he hopes the city can amend regulations on mixed-use projects within those 60 days. The council voted 4-0 in favor of the moratorium, with Malcolm Gramley declining to vote. He said he wouldn't vote on the moratorium because it was a last-minute addition to the agenda and went against the council's goal of being transparent.
Councilman Clint Roberts also expressed concerns over passing a moratorium with little discussion, but said he understood the intent.
“I hear people lamenting that we’ll lose that small-town feel (from high-density housing),” Roberts said. “I don’t think there’s much more you can do to squash a small-town than have such high density on these properties.”
The desire of the council is to adjust regulations to make mixed-use buildings conditional. Mobley expressed concern over the potential “density” in such buildings.
“What I would like to do is put a pause on that particular piece… until we can address this,” he said. “It’s going to take us a while to work out the actual language that we want. I think it will give us time to hear input from the public and it will give us an opportunity to bring that through the planning commission.
“Somebody can come in tomorrow and do this. I’m not sure it’s the character that we want for Jefferson. I don’t think that we want that level of density. I’m really looking that we’ll make this conditional use and that we’ll look at the density numbers.”
In 2016, the city council passed a mixed-use management code that set a maximum residency per acre that Mobley believes is too high.
“Maybe in 2016 when we voted for this, this looked like something that would fit the character of Jefferson,” he said. “Because we were looking for some of that growth that would give us commercial potential. As we look at these numbers, I feel like what we have to do is plug a hole for a moment.”
In other business, the council:
•heard a rezoning request by Integrity Development Group for 21.12 acres on the south-side of Washington St. and just west of Jett Roberts Rd. The land is currently zoned for office industrial and highway commercial, and the group is requesting to rezone the land to planned community development. The proposed use is a neighborhood featuring 74 single-family detached homes and 31 town homes. The planning staff recommended approving the project with conditions, but both the city planning commission and Jefferson City School System recommended denying the request.
•heard from Bob Healy of Bright Beginnings Day Care Center on Hwy. 129 north who requested a variance to reduce the required building setback from 40 feet to 20 feet, and natural buffer from 30 feet to a 10-foot landscape strip. The center is planning an expansion. The planning staff and planning commission recommended approving the request.