COLUMBIA — A plan for developing about 270 acres along Richland Road in eastern Columbia is still too dense and too far ahead of infrastructure in the area, the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission decided last night.
On a vote of 5-3, commissioners recommended the Columbia City Council reject the proposed annexation and zoning of the property. It was the third set of plans for the land that the commission has seen.
After the commission voted 7-0 against a plan proposed in June, developers led by David Atkins asked that the issue be remanded back to the commission so revisions could be made.
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 its initial phases, but a corridor for the extension was identified after 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 has 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 calls for roughly half that number.
Attorney Robert Hollis represents the developers. Before Thursday's meeting he said 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."
Hollis 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 plan will likely go before the City Council on Oct. 19 for a first reading and would come up for a public hearing and vote on Nov. 2. If the council rejects the proposed annexation and zoning, developers would have to wait at least another year to present the plan again unless they make significant changes.