City Council discusses Richland Road annexation

Monday, July 19, 2010 | 10:50 p.m. CDT; updated 8:41 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 20, 2010

COLUMBIA — Two annexation proposals along Richland Road were tabled by the City Council again on Monday night, but the council set a deadline for themselves to either approve or reject the proposals.

The final decision is scheduled for the Oct. 18 council meeting. The council also planned a work session on Oct. 11 to discuss the requests.

The annexations, totaling 271 acres, were first requested in November 2008. The issue went before the council a year later, following two Planning and Zoning Commission recommendations that it not be approved, according to a previous Missourian report.

Since then, the council has tabled the requests several times so the East Area Plan could be finished. This plan looks at 21 square miles of eastern Boone County and studies how it might grow in the future.

Richland Road Properties LLC and East Richland Road Properties LLC made the annexation requests and also asked that the land be rezoned for commercial and higher-density residential uses.

Mayor Bob McDavid said he would like as much information as possible when the decision is made, but something must be done soon.

"I'd hate to drag this on and on," McDavid said. "We need to fix a hard date."

After setting Oct. 18 as the decision day, McDavid said the council would act using as much of the East Area Plan as possible, even if it isn't complete.

Also at Monday's meeting, the council unanimously approved a $19.7 million project to improve the Stadium Boulevard corridor from Broadway to Interstate 70. Stadium serves about 25,000 cars a day, and this demand is expected to double in the next 20 years, according to city documents. The improvements would increase the road's capacity by 36 percent.

The changes were tabled after the June 21 council meeting, when more than a dozen people raised objections about the improvements because they said it would be harder to access certain roads. 

Since that meeting, city staff changed the plan to accommodate those complaints, but on Monday several people still had issues with access and noise problems.

"My perception is that the consequences and impact on residential property owners are not well understood," property owner Roger Myatt said of the improvements.

The plan was further amended during the meeting Monday because Landmark Bank had a problem with access issues into one of their branches. A median would have prevented left turns into their bank along Stadium; the median was deleted in the amendment, which passed unanimously.

Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser said she supported the amendment, but had reservations about changing it.

"I'm not a traffic engineer," she said. "I've got competing interests and competing philosophies, and to try and sit here and determine which is best is difficult."

In other business, the new Water and Light director, Tad Johnsen, was sworn in. Johnsen has worked at Water and Light since 1994 and lived in Columbia since 1979.

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