COLUMBIA — The City Council voted 4 to 3 Monday night to approve the latest version of the development plan for Crosscreek Center, a development on a 74-acre tract of land along Stadium Boulevard and U.S. 63. The plan rezoned five acres from agricultural to planned commercial and amended the allowed uses of the site to include a Toyota car dealership, which will occupy just one of the 10 lots currently planned for the site.
Mayor Darwin Hindman, who voted in favor of the plan, said that current city rules permitted the development to happen.
"We've got to live with the rules that exist," Hindman said.
Council members Paul Sturtz, Karl Skala and Barbara Hoppe voted against the plan.
Sturtz praised the effort that had gone into the plan, but felt it was "not substantially different" from the prior version.
Monday night's meeting marked Stadium 63's second attempt to gain City Council approval for the Crosscreek plan that included a car dealership.
In March, the council voted 4-3 against the latest version of the Crosscreek plan after listening to an hours-long public comment session. Residents voiced concern over a proposed Toyota car dealership, as well as the potential ugliness of mixed franchise buildings including a Taco Bell and a Break Time. The council pointed out a need for better coordination among Stadium 63 and residents.
So in May, two of the four city-recognized neighborhood associations near the site, Timberhill Neighborhood Association and Shepard Boulevard Neighborhood Association, entered into a confidential mediation process with a Stadium 63 representative.
The result was a multi-page document in which Stadium 63 agreed to a more "unified architectural theme." The buildings would adhere to criteria such as brick or stone exteriors, size-restricted signage, pitched roofs and baffled rooftop air-conditioning units. The Toyota car dealership was exempted from the architectural standards.
Timberhill voted to sign the approval on June 17; Shepard Boulevard signed the agreement at a July 8 meeting following a 58-32 vote.
Meanwhile, Stadium 63 began submitting the lot plans piecemeal, but at its June 19 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted against approving any sites apart from the entire project.
Monday's vote to approve the new plan ends years of debate among developers, residents and city officials; Stadium 63 Properties is now free to move ahead on the Crosscreek Center.
"I think we're going to end up with about the best we can hope for under the rules," Hindman said.