COLUMBIA — A request to annex and zone 37.5 acres of property south and east of the El Chapparral Subdivision was passed during a planning and zoning meeting Thursday night.
GM Columbia Properties and Grindstone Investments are asking for the annexation and zoning to accommodate their plans for a residential, commercial and office development on the property south of Route WW and east of Columbia.
The developers are asking for planned unit development zoning on 25 acres. The designation would allow up to 12 dwellings per acre. Developers say they plan to build a total of 228 dwellings.
A city staff report indicates that the developers hope to build a neighborhood commercial center on about eight acres of the land and to build an office center on five acres of the land. South of these two tracts will be approximately 25 acres of single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.
Planning and zoning commissioners were concerned about the high density such zoning would bring to the area and suggested to the City Council that the zoning only allow nine dwellings per acre.
City staff recommended approval of the zoning request with some stipulations. They want the developers to study how their project will affect traffic on Route WW and to preserve trees and provide a buffer for future parkland on the west side of the property.
Commission members and neighboring El Chapparral residents were happy with how the developers worked with them on making sure their needs were met.
“They have worked really hard to meet with us and discuss everything,” said Don Rippeto, an El Chapparral resident.
Owners of the proposed development placed a storm water detention pond on the future development prior to the rezoning. The pond has significantly decreased flooding in El Chapparral, residents said.
Commissioners decided the development was in line with city plans and unanimously passed the requested developments. An amendment was added to the planned commercial development to prohibit the building of convenience stores with fuel stations.
The Columbia School Board did not comment on the pending annexation, even though Cedar Ridge Elementary lies directly west of the commercial property.
“It’s unfortunate that our school system decides not to participate in the future planning of our schools,” said Ann Peters, a planning and zoning commissioner.
Since commissioners unanimously voted for the request, it will be moved to the council’s consent agenda unless someone petitions for another public hearing.
The commission also recommended the council annex and zone 192 acres northeast of Columbia to accommodate expansion of an industrial park and the planned establishment of a data center on the property.