Briarwood Commons

Moscow Mills, Mo. - Residents of Moscow Mills came to City Hall on Jan. 10 let their voices be heard to the Board of Aldermen about proposed zoning changes in the Briarwood Commons neighborhood during the board’s monthly meeting.

The last of two public hearings concerned a zoning change from R-1A Single Family Residential District and R-2 Two Family Residential District to R-3 Multiple Family Residential District. 

The re-zone from R-1A Single Family Residential District to R-3 Multiple Family Residential District would be on a 3.41 acre tract of land and be a part of Fractional Section 8 and U.S. Survey 3005, Township 48 North, Range 1 east of the city.

The re-zone from R-2 Two-Family Residential District to R-3 Multiple Family Residential District would be on a 12.825 acre tract of land and be a part of Fractional Section 8 and U.S. Survey 3005, Township 48 North, Range 1, east of the city.

The rezoning would allow the construction of a 100-plus-unit apartment complex to be built in the area.

Many residents issued complaints about the rezoning, which they said would further congest schools, raise flooding and exacerbate water issues – among other issues.

Alderman Cody Quist said, while he’s not in complete agreement with all of their opinions, he’s willing to listen to them.

“The rezoning of this section of land garnered a lot of attention - by far the strongest reaction to anything that I have seen since I have been in office,” Quist said. “While I didn’t personally agree with some of the concerns that were discussed at the city meeting, my job is to hear whatever concerns or complaints the members of our community have and to take those into consideration.”

Quist also said, should that property ever be developed, the floodplain issues would be a paramount issue to be discussed by the board, including the building of a new lift station. 

“Should this property be developed, the water situation would be closely monitored,” he said “Whether that be low income housing or multi-million dollar homes, whatever plans get approved by us will have to be reviewed by our engineer and we will make sure that any construction will address all water issues. If the construction of a new lift station is required then that will have to be a part of the plan in order to be approved. 

“In my own opinion I think the development of this property and the consequent water improvements required would decrease the drainage issues that the Briarwood residents have.”

Some of the comments made by the residents during the meeting led to possible accusations of racism. However, Quist didn’t really see those concerns that way. 

“There were not any overt racist remarks that were presented during the meeting, he said. “Some of the residents that spoke during the meeting thought that the rezoning and development of this property into low income housing would ‘attract an unwanted demographic,’ and result in ‘lower quality residents.’

“How the people that made those specific comments define an ‘unwanted demographic’ or what a ‘lower quality resident’ means to them wasn’t explained.”

Quist and Alderman Steven Aston voted “yes” for the resolution. Alderwoman Marsha Mills voted “no,” therefore, the resolution failed. Alderman Mark Spence wasn’t present at the meeting.

The Lincoln County Journal attempted to reach Mills for a comment as to why she voted “no,” but she did not respond by press time.

Quist said he knows this is an issue that isn’t going anytime soon, and Moscow Mills is a growing area. Lessons can be learned from this meeting going forward.

“I have learned that the citizens of Moscow Mills are passionate about their community,” he said. “Even though I didn’t agree with all of the arguments that were presented to oppose this rezoning, I did appreciate that people voiced those concerns. I will always vote in favor of what I think is best for the city as a whole, however I do realize that regardless of what is being decided, there will always be people that disagree. 

“Such is the nature of politics.”