This home at 1755 S. National Ave. might be torn down if its owners get their way. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

A lawsuit filed against the University Heights Neighborhood Association by one of its own members has been dropped, according to online court records.

Association member Evelyn Mangan said in an earlier interview she wanted the neighborhood association to provide a list of members and contact information.

Mangan, an attorney, originally filed the “petition for an order to inspect records” on Sept. 6.

Many residents in the historic neighborhood have been up in arms lately after learning developers purchased five pieces of property on or near the intersection of National Avenue and Sunshine Street and want it rezoned from residential to commercial.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Mangan said she dropped the lawsuit as “a gesture of good faith” after a meeting last week with some of the neighborhood association’s board of directors and the group with which she is affiliated. That group is comprised of association members and nonmembers.

Mangan said she hopes the two groups “can find enough common ground to focus our efforts on our common enemy.”

Asked if she still wants that list of members and their contact information, Mangan declined to comment.

“The most important thing is to meet this existential threat to our neighborhood,” she said.

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Association president said giving list would violate bylaws

Mangan had said in an earlier interview that she wanted the list of members so they have a way to communicate other than having to rely on the association’s private Facebook group.

Signs posted in the University Heights neighborhood. (Photo by Shannon Cay Bowers)

At that time, UHNA president Jan Peterson wrote on the association’s Facebook page: “The subject of the lawsuit is to obtain our membership records. The board feels to release them would be in violation of our bylaws.”

According to the association’s bylaws, data supplied on the membership form will only be used for the Association’s direct operations and will not be supplied to third-party organizations.

“The member who sued is not a third party, but they also are not involved in the Association’s direct operations,” Peterson’s post reads.

Developers want property rezoned to retail

Developer Ralph Duda III with BK&M and his partner, Anthony Tolliver, are requesting the properties diagonally across from Mercy be rezoned from residential to retail.

The matter was supposed to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission in early October, but that rezoning case has been postponed at the request of the applicant to the next regular Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Nov. 17.

Their plans include potentially tearing down a few historic houses at or near the intersection of National Avenue and Sunshine Street. Among them is 1755 S. National Ave., which has been the subject of numerous news stories over the years because residents have strongly opposed the property being used for anything other than a single-family residence.

This is the area that the developers either already own or have under contract. The street at the bottom is Sunshine the street at the right is National. (Photo provided)

Also, there are the two houses to the north — 1745 S. National Ave. and 1739 S. National Ave. — as well as one around the corner at 1138 E. University St.

The developers recently boarded up the home at 1755 S. National Ave., and put a chain-link fence around the yard.

They applied for wrecking permits for 1119 E. Sunshine St., 1755 S. National Ave., 1739 S. National Ave., and 1745 S. National Ave. — but none of these have been approved yet.

Brock Rowe, interim director of Building Development Services, told the Daily Citizen in an email Monday that getting a wrecking permit approved is “not a speedy process” because of requirements such as getting an asbestos inspection completed and hiring a licensed plumber to cap the sewer at the property line.

Jackie Rehwald

Jackie Rehwald is a reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. She covers housing, homelessness, domestic violence and early childhood, among other public affairs issues. Her office line is 417-837-3659. More by Jackie Rehwald