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Planning and Zoning Commission hears familiar cases

Thursday, October 8, 2009 | 10:23 p.m. CDT; updated 9:51 a.m. CST, Wednesday, November 18, 2009

COLUMBIA — Two tracts of land with long, contentious planning histories came before the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday.

One is a plan to annex and rezone a 271-acre parcel south of Interstate 70 and east of U.S. 63 for a mixed commercial and residential project.

The other concerns a small, specialty auto parts store that has never come to fruition.

Tom Kardon bought a small piece of property at the intersection of Third Avenue and Providence Road in 1996. After three attempts, he managed to get the property rezoned in 2004 for commercial use, despite objections from the Ridgeway Neighborhood Association.

After a four-year delay, Kardon was finally able to construct a building on the property for a proposed luxury car parts store. He said Thursday that the economy prevents him from being able to open the store.

Kardon went before the Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday to have the property zoned for other commercial uses. Kardon's attorney said that several potential tenants had expressed interest for uses such as a restaurant, office, yoga studio or clothing store.

The commission voted to retain the property's current zoning and to restrict hours of operation for any potential tenant to the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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The Richland Development Plan also has a long history with the Planning and Zoning Department. It was presented to the commission for the third time Thursday after commissioners voted 7-0 in June to recommend that the City Council reject proposed annexation and rezoning.

At that time, the project's group of developers — led by David Atkins — asked that the issue be remanded back to the commission so revisions could be made.

The project sits in an area poised for future growth. A proposed extension of Stadium Boulevard would bisect the west side of the proposed development.

The road plans are in their initial phases, with the current location based on an initial environmental impact study conducted by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Planning and Zoning commissioners have been critical of the plan's proposed density, saying the area lacks adequate infrastructure to support it. Currently, Richland Road is two lanes. Neighbors have complained that the development would change the area drastically and would bring in more traffic, more people and a dearth of rental property.

Like the two versions of the plan presented to the commission previously, the revised version would allow for commercial and residential development. The new plan, however, would allow for fewer residential units as well as less space for commercial use.

The original plan proposed 1,300 residential units. The new plan would allow for roughly half that number.

Attorney Robert Hollis represents the developers. He said that he understands neighbors' concerns but thinks they are mostly unfounded.

"Neighbors mostly complain because they don't want it to be in their backyard, Hollis said. "There's really no substance to this other than they don't want it to be there. But I don't blame people for saying that."

He said the likelihood of a long timeline for the Stadium Boulevard extension makes concerns about the current lack of infrastructure unimportant.

"As far as I know there's no timeline for the Stadium Boulevard extension," Hollis said. "Whatever would be proposed in that area wouldn't be supported by infrastructure. So what's the harm in planning?"

The commission did not vote on the issue before deadline Thursday.


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