PC bids to return district to new HS City rainwater office

The Hot Springs Planning Commission has approved the city’s request to repartition three parcels as it plans to build its new rainwater office.

The Hot Springs board of directors will consider recommending that the Leawood Street acreage be rezoned from suburban residential, or R-2, to light manufacturing, or M-1, Tuesday night. The city already owned two of the lots before the board approved a $6,000 purchase for the third lot in March. The 36-acre City Services complex is located across from Leawood and is also designated for the M-1.

Deputy City Manager Denny Macbatt told the committee that the city plans to build a 1,250-square-foot office for the rainwater department, which is currently in the transportation depot. The 2022 Storm Water Fund budget of $1.22 million approved by the council included $450,000 for the new building.

“We would like to move forward with the construction of that year,” MacBate said at the committee’s April 14 meeting. “It will have some of the most prominent and state-of-the-art amenities for monitoring the quality of runoff. It will be an exemplary site that we can boast to our community and contractors, have training facilities and show them how the amenities from rainwater can be done on the construction site.”

Builder Tim Winston told the commission that containing the runoff could be difficult.

“It’s hard work maintaining sediment control,” he said. “What contractors fight most of the time is rainwater.”

The committee recommended that the council approve its request to repartition the southern half of a 15-acre plot on East Grand Avenue from a medium/high-density residential area, or R-4, to a regional commercial/open show area, or C-4. The application was submitted on behalf of Kevin Hill, who acquired the plot of the 1400 block in the East Grand last year.

A commercial subdivision designation is required for the RV park that is planned to be built. RV Parks are an permitted use in a C-4 zone, according to the zoning code uses schedule. They are not permitted by right or on a conditional basis in four of the city’s five residential district designations.

“Our city has seen a significant increase in the number of tourist visitors, and with the increase in RV sales nationwide, we need more RV parking spaces to accommodate these visitors,” said the project narrative submitted to the commission. “These two-vehicle rigs can be up to 75 feet long, and knowing where you can dock one in the city feels good.”

Commissioner Bart Stafford has expressed concern about runoff from the construction site up to Gulpha Creek, which runs down the west side of the property.

“I am sensitive to anything that might have a negative impact on our channels,” he said. “I know the planning staff did their job to make sure that wasn’t the case.”

Winston said the property was full of rubbish when Hill acquired it.

“Galfa Creek is something to watch out for,” said Winston. “We picked up eight or nine tons of rubbish from people who got rid of there and lived there. It was scattered along the hill. They were camping in the creek. We were cleaning up the property, so we could figure out how we were going to develop it.”

Chaucer Street Apartments borders the habitable portion of the property. Winston told the commission that a 15 to 25-foot barrier will separate the apartments from the RV park.

“We intend to leave a lot of trees around that,” he said.

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