Richland Road rezoning request tabled until April

Thursday, February 19, 2009 | 10:34 p.m. CST; updated 9:50 a.m. CST, Wednesday, November 18, 2009

COLUMBIA — New housing and commercial development on the city's east side was put on hold Thursday night for the third time.

The land in question includes five separate tracts totaling 272 acres. The developer would like it zoned for planned commercial development and high-density housing, including a possible 1,054 units on 132 acres.

The Planning and Zoning Commission tabled the requested rezoning on the south side of Richland Road, across from Grace Lane, until its April 23 meeting to allow the developer more time to draft an agreement with the city.

The commission opted to table the request to give the developer more time to draft an agreement with the city concerning possible uses for the property and the project's effect on surrounding areas.

Residents near the proposed development are concerned about the effect of a large, densely populated development on area traffic. Richland Road, Rolling Hills Road and other nearby roads are in need of a lot of work, residents said at the meeting.

"There's no curbs or gutters, deep ditches, no street lamps, a one-lane bridge," said Tony Black, president of the Lakewood Neighborhood Association. "Basically, Richland Road is Scott Boulevard with a one-lane bridge. The north end (of Grace lane) where it meets at St. Charles Road is not only a poor intersection with poor line of site, there's also no curbs or gutters there."

But Robert Hollis, an attorney representing the developers, said they are taking the road conditions into consideration and are including plans for road improvements in their agreement with the city.

"We are not proposing that we develop the property before the roads are there," Hollis said.

Commissioner Helen Anthony made a motion to table the application until the commission's first meeting in October in order to learn more about where the proposed extension of Stadium Boulevard would cross the area, but that motion was voted down.

Neighbors felt disappointed with the commission's decision to table the proposal once again.

"Vote it down, and let them reconsider," said Roy Langland, who lives near the proposed development. "Let him know he has a piece of junk here. Now we're in prolonged limbo."

Before voting to table the application, Commissioner David Brodsky emphasized that this is not the last step in the process.

"I wanted to make it clear to both the applicant and the public that we still are reserving the right to deny this request," he said.

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