LETTER: City officials should have listened to opposition of Richland Road project

Monday, December 20, 2010 | 2:59 p.m. CST

As the news comes out that developer David Atkins is in financial trouble and may have to sell the Richland Road development that was recently annexed, several questions come to mind. Did the City Council know of his troubles? Did city staff? Did his attorney, who promised there was no plan to sell this property? Perhaps city staff should have spent some time informing the Planning and Zoning Commission and council of his shortcomings, instead of helping him craft a plan that would pass and then selling it to the P&Z and council for him.

And with this on the banks of Grindstone Creek, which empties into the Hinkson, is this part of the drive of the mayor's opposition to the DNR and EPA regulations on Hinkson Creek?

The city staff and citizens of both Boone County and Columbia attended many meetings on the East Columbia Area Plan and spoke out loudly against this development. The residents asked for R-1 zoning and got PUD (planned unit development). The residents asked for no commercial zoning and got 80,000 square feet. Not to mention the dollars spent on these meetings, all washed down the drain with a vote for approval. And what trust was built with these meetings, which very few council people attended, is gone also.

Serve, not rule? I think not. Business as usual for the city of Columbia. Support the developers, no matter their intentions, and ignore the people. The former council would agree to anything if a park was involved. Now it seems the current council will agree to anything as long as the "good-old boys" network is served properly.

Tony Black lives in Columbia.

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