Council tables hospital rezoning request

Monday, April 21, 2008 | 11:06 p.m. CDT; updated 1:29 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — The City Council voted Monday night to table a rezoning request for a tract of land on the northeast corner of Alfred Street and Old 63, which is the proposed site for a long-term acute-care hospital.

Developers of Landmark Hospital applied to have the land rezoned from residential one-family homes to planned office zoning. When the Planning and Zoning Commission considered the request in March, they voted 5-3 to recommend that council approve the rezoning and 6-2 that council approve the hospital’s development plan.

The council tabled the issue until the May 5 meeting at the request of Columbia resident Eric Seaman. Seaman, who lives in Country Club Estates, a neighborhood next to the proposed hospital site, hired Crawford, Bunte, Brammeier Traffic and Transportation Engineers to conduct a traffic study on Alfred Street. The study was not ready for Monday’s meeting.

“Essentially, traffic was evaluated for Old 63 in the Planning and Zoning report and not Alfred Street,” Seaman said after the public hearing. “I also have concerns over sight distance. You can understand that you don’t want to witness a serious accident in front of your home. Everyone can understand that.”

According to the Landmark Hospital Development Plan, a traffic analysis on Old 63 found there is no sight distance problem for that road.

The findings from the traffic study Seaman commissioned at Alfred Street are expected to be presented during the public hearing in May.

Few public comments were made during the meeting Monday. People who speak during a first public hearing cannot comment on the same issue at the next hearing.

Michael Ugarte, of the Benton-Stephens neighborhood, spoke because he could not attend the next meeting.

Ugarte said that members of the Benton-Stephens neighborhood were having second thoughts on supporting the proposed rezoning. The neighborhood association held a meeting in March, where eight members voted in favor of the rezoning, one voted in opposition and four were neutral.

Ugarte did not attend the neighborhood association meeting but said he is in opposition to the rezoning.

“I support the people who live in the area and simply don’t want it,” he said.

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