COLUMBIA — A request to allow a car dealership as part of the Crosscreek Center being developed at U.S. 63 and Stadium Boulevard was tabled until March 3 by the Columbia City Council on Monday night.
The council’s 4-3 vote was the latest in a series of objections to Stadium 63 Properties’ proposal. It was seeking permission to build the dealership as an amendment to a previously approved development plan that prohibited car lots. The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended after a public hearing on Jan. 10 that the council reject the request.
The public turned out in force again on Monday to register its complaints, saying the car lot would be ugly, noisy and an environmental bane on the nearby Grindstone Creek. They also worried about the traffic effects of delivery trucks in the area.
Jenny Young, a Columbia resident who recently moved to the area from Colorado, voiced concerns about how the development fit in with Columbia’s overall commitment to green space.
“What we’ve got is a usage that by definition has more runoff, more light and noise pollution,” she said.
After the initial Planning and Zoning Commissions meeting, Stadium 63 Properties conferred with neighborhood associations near the proposed development.
“As a result of those meetings, we have elected to submit to (council) certain conditions to be imposed on us,” Bruce Beckett, the attorney representing Stadium 63 properties, said.
The developer agreed to changes in the language of the proposed amendment to address residents’ concerns. The new language limits the car dealership to a specific lot, prohibits the exclusive sale of used cars, lowers the allowed height of buildings and signs, prohibits truck deliveries during peak traffic hours and agrees to a light-reduction plan.
In addition to proposed changes submitted to council in a letter dated Jan. 31, Stadium 63 made concessions on the day of the council meeting. They agreed to reduce their aggregate square feet of the development and reduce the height of buildings if the proposed car lot was approved.
Council members questioned whether the site was the right location for a car dealership. The land is environmentally sensitive and located at what some argued is an important entrance to the city.
“I don’t think this is where we want to put a development and try to work out the kinks of the storm water ordinance,” Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said. “This is a gateway and we have a chance to do it right the first time.”
Other council members raised concerns about the overall development process in the city. Making the process of land zoning and usage difficult on developers may harm Columbia’s ability to attract investment, they said.