Springfield Mayor Mike Houston has vetoed zoning changes for two east-side halfway houses.
The city council approved the changes, which would have rezoned the facilities on south 11th and east Jackson streets to multi-family residential.
“Heaven forbid if any one of you had a relative that did something that created a situation where they were incarcerated, and they got out, and they had no place to go,” said Ward 2 Alderman Gail Simpson, who pushed hard for the zoning reclassification of the facility at 1322 S. 11th St.
Simpson, along with Ward 3 Alderman Doris Turner, contended this week and last month when the city council approved the changes, that those who use the facilities never bother anyone and, in the case of the south 11th street facility, people barely knew it existed. No service calls were recorded.
The mayor doesn’t buy that argument.
“It’s never a problem until you have a problem,” said Houston. “Up north, we had a major problem when someone committed a murder.”
The mayor’s referring to the House of Rainbow in Enos Park, which came under scrutiny shortly after that murder occurred in late 2012. Investigators found out it wasn’t zoned properly, hence, other halfway houses are getting the same scrutiny.
The mayor says he also vetoed the measures because they weren’t a good fit for the neighborhoods.