AGREEMENT REACHED

Dustin Harrison, West Plains building inspector, right, presents a proposed agreement between the city of West Plains and H&W Real Estate Investments to members of the city council Mayor Pro Tem Mike Topliff, left, and Mayor Jack Pahlmann. The agreement regarding utility access for a 60,000 square foot warehouse facility for West Plains Veterinary Supply was approved. Councilman Josh Cotter was also at the meeting and Councilwoman Jessica Nease attended via video conference.

In a meeting that lasted less than 10 minutes Monday afternoon, the city of West Plains agreed to extend utility services for a proposed warehouse outside of city limits.

The property located on Clark Avenue, owned by H&W Real Estate Investments, will be the location of a new 60,000 square foot West Plains Veterinary Supply warehouse, just north of the Industrial Development Corporation Industrial Park.

City Building Code Official Dustin Harrison presented the tentative agreement between H&W and the city to the city council. The agreement would allow the warehouse to use city utility services without abiding by its fire codes, as per previous rural service agreements.

Councilman Josh Cotter asked questions and got clarification on the agreement before the council proceeded to the vote. The agreement passed with Councilman Cary Stewart abstaining and Councilwoman Jessica Nease voting via video conference.

The agreement with H&W means the property would be annexed into the city at a time when it is contiguous with the city limits. At that time, the warehouse would have to adapt to the city’s fire codes.

After the vote, the council agreed to suspend the issuances of all new rural service agreements immediately until a later date, to be determined. The action will not affect those with current rural service agreements.

A similar proposal failed to pass city council’s approval Aug. 19. A special work session was called Sept. 4, during which concerns were expressed by West Plains Fire Chief Roy Sims regarding the safety of firefighters and building occupants, and by Cotter regarding the potential precedent that could be set by diverging from protocol set by city code.

John Williams, who co-owns H&W Real Estate with Larry Hirsch, said the cost to install sprinklers to comply with city fire code was too prohibitive up front and asked the city for a compromise.

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