COLUMBIA — A major revision and the pending City Council discussion on the East Area Plan kept the council from reaching a final decision on the Richland Road annexation and rezoning request.
After hearing over an hour of testimony, the City Council decided to send the 181-acre Richland Road request back to the city Planning and Zoning Commission and table the proposal until the council’s Dec. 6 meeting.
The council will review the East Area Plan at its Nov. 1 public hearing. If approved the East Area Plan would be the guiding document for growth east of Columbia and was designed to evaluate large rezoning requests similar to Richland Road.
The Richland Road request underwent a major change late last week.
Developer David Atkins decided to withdraw his rezoning request for 90 acres of commercial development. In that development tract, Tract 1, there would have been 360,000 square feet of commercial development, more than the maximum of 200,000 square feet recommended by the East Area Plan.
The council determined the large revision was important enough to require another review by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“I’m interested in seeing what Planning and Zoning has to say about this,” Mayor Bob McDavid said. “In their opinion, does this meet the tenets of the East Area Plan? So I’m willing to go along with that motion.”
Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe made the motion to send the Richland Road request back to the planning commission, and First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz seconded it.
The vote was 5-2 with Third Ward Councilman Gary Kespohl and Fourth Ward Councilman Daryl Dudley voting against the motion.
The council had tabled the Richland Road request three times before Monday's meeting because it was waiting for a completed East Area Plan. The plan had its first reading later in the council's agenda and multiple people questioned the logic of approving a rezoning request before discussing the East Area Plan.
“Would you have a party and then make up the guest list afterward?" Meg Langland, 7 Bogie Hills Drive, asked during Monday night's meeting. "Would you do surgery and then go to medical school?”
She said it didn’t make sense to approve the Richland Road request before considering the East Area Plan.
The revised proposal has four remaining tracts that now span 181 acres. The one commercial tract left is 16.98 acres and will have a maximum of 80,000 square feet of retail space.
In comparison, the Walmart Supercenter in the Shops at Fairview is 173,000 square feet, according to Walmart’s website, and the Hy-Vee on Nifong Boulevard is 77,700 square feet, according to a previous Missourian article.
The commercial development will be based around the future intersection of Richland Road, Rolling Hills Road from the south and Grace Lane to the north.
The three residential tracts will remain the same in the revised plan. There would be a maximum of 700 residences that could consist of single-family homes, duplexes, townhouses and apartments.
After the meeting, Planning and Zoning Commissioner Jeffrey Barrow said the proposal might have a better chance of gaining approval from the commission.
By withdrawing the extensive commercial development, it negates one of the major reasons why the planning commission voted against recommendation when they last considered it Oct. 8, 2009.