Proposed zoning plan for eastern Columbia gets thumbs down

Friday, October 9, 2009 | 5:26 p.m. CDT; updated 9:51 a.m. CST, Wednesday, November 18, 2009

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.

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 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.


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Charles Dudley Jr October 9, 2009 | 5:55 p.m.

Just what we do not need is more sprawl. When is Columbia going to grow up instead of out?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 10, 2009 | 2:45 a.m.

Seeing Columbia grow up would require that existing property owners want to demolish and rebuild, or sell to those who want to make that change. I've been told by one downtown property owner that city codes, protective inspections, etc. makes it cost-prohibitive to renovate existing structures, so it should be no surprise (if true) that developers seek to start with a clean slate.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 10, 2009 | 4:30 a.m.

>>> that developers seek to start with a clean slate <<<

And that will further leave us with even more empty buildings in the central city than we have now.

I wonder how long it took for I think it is Gay Ind. to become dead in the center of itself too?

How many empty mini malls and store fronts do we have empty across this community right now?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 10, 2009 | 5:52 a.m.

Developers are under no obligation to fill their buildings if they don't desire to do so.

Don't forget that the city is adding retail space to the monster parking garage being built by the post office as well.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 10, 2009 | 9:14 a.m.

>>> Don't forget that the city is adding retail space to the monster parking garage being built by the post office as well. <<<

To which I am with those who think that is wrong.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock October 10, 2009 | 11:37 a.m.

Charles you don't think that a multiuse building is a good idea? I am not being argumentative I am just curious why and if you have any data that supports a single use building is more productive or is better some how. I would thinking having a retail place on the bottom level would be a great idea. I mean you park you car go down the steps get a cup of coffee and bagel and walk to work. Or maybe it starts raining and you need a umbrella then you could get one. This is of course that said type of stores rent the lots.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 10, 2009 | 1:18 p.m.

Allan Sharrock wouldn't those things take away from business' already downtown?

The point is if they need parking that badly then develop it as that "parking only".

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock October 10, 2009 | 2:00 p.m.

It is called competition Charles and when businesses compete, you the consumer wins.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 10, 2009 | 3:26 p.m.

Allan Sharrock not in all cases do the consumers win especially when the funding for that garage was voted down by the citizens but then have the City Manager and the City Council slowly channel money into a fund where they could build it with out the citizens having their real voice.

No Allan Sharrock on this one the citizens of Columbia actually are the losers and this is just another case of "The Fleecing of Columbia".

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock October 10, 2009 | 3:45 p.m.

Charles I was referring to the fact that it is a multi-use building and how you didn't like the idea of it taking away business from the current ones. "Allan Sharrock wouldn't those things take away from business' already downtown?" I say I am not worried about the other businesses they will have to make a better product of lower their prices. If you wish to convey that the building should not have been built then that may or may not be a valid argument but not the point of the parent conversation.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 10, 2009 | 4:28 p.m.

>>> I say I am not worried about the other businesses they will have to make a better product of lower their prices. <<<

Right lower their prices and make less than they are right now as it is in this economy?

Our downtown does not need more competition but it certainly needs to be promoted and given some kind of a break so those current business owners can stay in business and not have to close shop due to competition.

The way you come off on this issue is you want those struggling business to fail if they cannot make their living.

Competition is not always a good thing at all and especially to businesses already struggling.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 10, 2009 | 9:54 p.m.

Chuck, voters did not vote down the new parking garage as that was never put to a vote. You're probably thinking of the new city hall.

Allan, I'm all for competition but not when government with more power and more money is involved as it's an unlevel playing field. That's part of the reason I'm opposed to the public option in so-called insurance reform.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 11, 2009 | 4:10 a.m.

Right John ya City Hall. I think to though that the garage should have went to a vote of the citizens.

This is another reason we need to get the City Charter changed so all citizens can have their voice and not just those at the "half moon table" because as of late they have been giving this community their own personal shot of their own moons.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock October 11, 2009 | 10:00 a.m.

Oh I am not a fan of the public option either. It will be just another expensive government run failed program.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand October 11, 2009 | 11:59 a.m.

Columbia will grow up instead of out when a) enough citizens stop equating density with crime and low property values or b) the city council grows a set of stones and starts approving and encouraging high-density projects, regardless of public opinion.

Look at how much whining is going on just over redevelopment of Great Hangups and the adjacent property. God forbid people in that part of the Old Southwest should have more merchants within walking distance of their homes. I guess they prefer to drive, just as they prefer to drive to their jobs at MU.

(Report Comment)

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