SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Organizers behind Springfield's Eden Village filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Springfield accusing it of discrimination.
The lawsuit concerns a rezoning request the group filed for property on West Division Street for a second Eden Village. The plans included 40 new units on five acres. However, some business owners and neighbors living nearby did not support the project.
Lawyers for Eden Village argue the city of Springfield and specifically Mayor Ken McClure violated several federal statutes and unfairly discriminated against the organization and the possible homeless recipients. Lawyers say comments McClure made to the Springfield News-Leader about the rezoning vote led to the lawsuit.
The city of Springfield released this statement to KY3 News:
"The City of Springfield has considered The Gathering Tree, LLC a community partner and our staff has worked with them extensively to develop Eden Village. At the direction of Mayor Ken McClure and City Council, the City also allocated approximately $300,000 to assist them with infrastructure improvements that made the development possible.
A second proposed Eden Village development at 3303 W. Division required a zoning change that failed to pass City Council. Six votes were required for approval and the measure received five affirmative votes.
In this case, there was a protest petition that required a higher threshold of affirmative votes. If owners of 30 percent of the property within 185 feet of the property proposed to be changed, sign a petition, a 2/3-majority vote is required. This protest petition constituted 72.8 percent.
City officials met with Eden Village partners recently to discuss other paths forward. Alternate approaches offered to them included applying for a planned development or waiting until the City had time to review and possibly update our zoning regulations.
We were disappointed to learn through media reports that they have instead decided to file a lawsuit.
The City of Springfield has not been served with a lawsuit and therefore, officials have not had a chance to review."