COLUMBIA — The City Council voted 6-1 on Monday night to rezone one corner of Stadium Boulevard and West Broadway to make way for an office building. The request needed at least five votes to pass because of a petition submitted by the neighborhood association.
Attorney Aaron Smith purchased three lots occupied by two homes and one duplex on the corner of Stadium and West Broadway with the intention of tearing down the “eyesore” structures and replacing them with a one-story, 6,545-square-foot office building.
He requested that the R-1 residential area be rezoned an O-P planned office area, to be called Leawood Plaza.
“The dilapidated conditions speak for themselves,” Smith said referring to the conditions of the three structures on the lots. “Residential R-1 is not a viable use for this property.”
Craig Van Matre, the attorney representing Smith, described the plan:
- A one-story “L” shaped building.
- Square footage at 6,545 feet is down from the original plan of 7,700 square feet.
- No medical firms will occupy space in the building.
- The building is only accessible from Bourn Avenue and will be open from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Tim Crockett of Crockett Engineering in Columbia added that the plan includes a parking lot behind the building with 23 spaces, which complies with the square footage of the building.
Twenty-two percent of the property will be landscaping and 50 percent of the property will be green space, Crockett said. No lights will be placed on the parking lot.
Allen Moore, a real estate appraiser in Columbia, said the planned office building would have no adverse effects on neighboring property values.
In Smith's request, he offered $10,000 to help with measures that would control traffic volume.
The Bourn Avenue Neighborhood Association objected to Smith’s plan.
More than 10 people from the neighborhood and surrounding area commented in a discussion that lasted more than an hour.
Brett Grill, a member of the association, opposed what he called “non-native” traffic the plan would bring to Bourn Avenue.
Grill also said residents are worried about a domino effect prompting other conversions of homes into commercial developments.
Jenn Sonnenberg, a resident of the neighborhood, said any additional traffic could impact the 25 children who live and play in the neighborhood, as well as an active Walking School Bus program.
The council debated a number of ideas, including adding speed humps and stop signs and closing Bourn Avenue at Broadway with a gate or cul-de-sac at an estimated cost of $200,000. Closure could restrict access to Bourn Avenue for fire trucks, however.
A median on Broadway in front of Bourn Avenue was also considered, which would cause a "right-in, right-out" situation between Bourn and Broadway.
Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe moved to table the request, which was defeated 3-4. The council then passed the issue on a 6-1 vote, with Hoppe dissenting.