Planning and Zoning recommends denying Red Oak rezoning request

Thursday, March 4, 2010 | 11:22 p.m. CST; updated 8:39 a.m. CST, Friday, March 5, 2010

*CLARIFICATION: The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend City Council deny Red Oak's request for rezoning. A previous version of this article incorrectly described the commission's action.

COLUMBIA — After two and a half hours of deliberation, the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission recommended City Council deny* Red Oak Investment's request to rezone 25 acres of land to planned commercial.

The original request was scheduled to be heard on Feb. 18 but was tabled until the Planning Commission's meeting Thursday night. Concern about traffic issues relating to a proposed traffic signal at Grindstone Parkway and Grindstone Plaza Drive were the reasons for tabling the request.

Members of the commission were in favor of rezoning the land but were held back by the proposed traffic signal. Although the commission suggested the request be accepted with exceptions, Bruce Beckett, Red Oak's lawyer, did not want to make revisions to the original statement of intent.

A similar request for rezoning was denied in 2003.

The traffic signal would disrupt the flow of traffic along Grindstone Parkway, argued Jeff Barrow, chairman of the commission.

"Soon, it's no longer a parkway, it's more like a parking place," Barrow said.

Planning and Zoning Commissioner Doug Wheeler was also concerned with the traffic along Grindstone Parkway. He supported the rezoning but found problems with the proposed intersection.

Discussing a citywide survey, Planning and Zoning Commissioner David Brodsky said city growth issues, mainly those regarding traffic, are a major concern for the community.

Brodsky said it would be short-term planning to put in a signal just to serve Red Oak's request.

However, City Planner Steve MacIntyre said the Missouri Department of Transportation, along with city traffic engineers, said the signal would provide good access from Grindstone Parkway to the property held by Red Oak.

The Planning and Development Department recommended the commission accept Red Oak's request based on this assertion.

Voting for the request to be recommended*, Planning and Zoning Commissioner Matt Vander Tuig argued a traffic signal would be necessary if commercial development on the land was supported.

Dustin Riechmann, a traffic engineer, said the intentional use of the land would not be feasible without a traffic signal.

Beckett said the signal would be of no cost to the city to construct, but once it was dedicated, it would be up to the city to maintain it.

The request will be voted on by council.

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