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Proposed development divides Jefferson City residents and council member

A proposed seven-lot development off Hayselton Drive in Jefferson City has residents speaking out against the plan.

“We’re not against development,” said resident Terry Lyskowski. “It’s about changing the game in the middle of the plan at our expense.”

The plan is to have the entrance to the new subdivision on the 1600 block of Hayselton but residents believe that’s a poor place for an entrance and believe there are better places for the entrance, including at West Main Street.

“A developer 10 years ago had an opportunity and permission to come in from West Main,” Lyskowski said. “My understanding is that he changed the development because of the cost, it seemed to be too high to him. So he found an opportunity to come in from this angle and that’s more what the neighbors are opposed to.”

According to public record, residents are opposed to the entrance because it is at a “hairpin curve” and will be dangerous when there are more cars on the road.

“You have moving vans that are going to come in and out, you have garbage trucks coming in and out,” said Lyskowski. “It’s a very seriously tight curve when you’re talking about big vehicles coming and going.”

Third Ward Councilman Bob Scrivner has constituents in that ward, but he said he is in favor of the development and does not see the traffic to be a dangerous issue, especially because he said seven additional lots isn’t going to bring in that much traffic.

“I’ve been out in the neighborhood a number of times, I’ve looked at sight distances, speed, traffic count,” he said. “I’m convinced that it is not going to be a safety issue. In fact, I think when it’s all said and done, it may be one of the safer intersections in town.”

He mentioned the intersection of Beverly and Hayselton as an example of one of the more awkward intersections that he’s seen. Beverly is just a few hundred feet down from the proposed entrance.

“How can we logically think that an intersection that has better sight distance and has slower speed is going to be more dangerous than another intersection that has an awkward angle, less sight distance and yet has had no accidents?” he said. “Why do we think Hayselton is going to have more accidents? It is not logical.”

Residents like Lyskowski aren’t just worried about safety. They’re also concerned there will be more development than what’s proposed.

“It leaves a lot of questions that we don’t feel are being answered for certain about the future of what the future may look like,” she said.

She also feels like the extra construction will take a toll.

“This is an older neighborhood and I don’t know that it’s strong enough to withstand blasting, chipping and all of the construction trucks going back and forth for many years until these ‘seven houses’ are built,” she said.

Scrivner said he’s spent hours with the supporting documentation for the plan (you can find ithere, starting at about page 100) and has been out to the neighborhood several times.

He said while the residents are sincere and passionate about the cause, they don’t have all the facts needed to make a convincing argument.

“Are we going to be a Council that makes our decisions based on fact or are we going to be a Council that is going to make decisions based on pressure, based on illogical thought?” he said. “I think that we are a better Council if we do make our decisions based on fact and based on the ordinances that we have, the processes that we have in place, because then we’re fair to everyone.”

He said if they deny this development, it sends yet another message that Jefferson City isn’t welcoming to new development and doesn’t want to grow.

The residents say they do welcome the development, but protest the way it was decided.

“Neighbors would be very fine sitting down and talking with the developer and trying to work out a win-win situation,” said Lyskowski. “But Idon’t feel that that’s been done in a way to make it work for both sides.”

Scrivner said he hopes his constituents do reach out to him.

“I’ll be happy to sit down with anyone and go over those plans step by step, answer any question that they want to ask in regards to this entire project,” he said.

The Jefferson City Council is scheduled to vote on two issues related to this proposed development Monday night – rezoning the area as well as making it a subdivision.

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