COLUMBIA — The Columbia City Council unanimously approved a small but controversial rezoning off Forum Boulevard in south Columbia on Tuesday night. The property owner plans to build three condos on the land.
The attempt to rezone the narrow, 0.97-acre property was property owner Ted Littell's second this year. His first proposal was rejected unanimously by the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission in May, and he withdrew the rezoning request before it reached the City Council.
In May, Littell proposed up to four dwellings, as well as a central driveway to serve all the homes.
The approved proposal includes only three dwellings and a central driveway. It failed to win over a majority of the Planning Commission, which voted 4-4 on whether to recommend approval to the council.
Littell could not be reached Tuesday afternoon. His request asked that the property be rezoned from R-1, single-family residential, to PUD-3.5, a planned unit development that would allow up to 3.5 dwellings per acre. Littell sought the 3.5 designation because he wants to build three homes but is just shy of having an entire acre of land. His May proposal sought PUD-4.5 zoning.
Neighbors had expressed concern that the development would exacerbate stormwater drainage problems in the neighborhood, and others were concerned about the density of the development.
City staff reported stormwater management would be improved because the new development would have to meet requirements that weren't in place when the adjacent homes were built.
Tim Crockett, of Crockett Engineering Consultants, represented Littell at the council meeting. Crockett told the council that the development could move forward under R-1 zoning but couldn't include the planned central driveway. He said adding individual driveways would increase impervious surface area, which would mean more stormwater runoff.
Crockett said Littell is looking to sell the units, not rent them to students, and that a homeowners association would maintain the common areas. He also said Littell might occupy one of the units himself.
David Cowan, one of the neighbors who spoke against the proposal in May, said Littell hasn't changed his plan enough. He said such dense development wouldn't fit the neighborhood. Cowan submitted a letter to the council opposing the development and spoke against it Tuesday.
"It makes absolutely no sense to me, and it's in my backyard," he said.