COLUMBIA — The Columbia City Council voted 6-1 on Monday to approve a rezoning request for the southwest corner of Broadway and West Boulevard.
The approval would allow Mark Nichols and Patti Mierzwa, owners of Great Hangups Framing to rezone the corner. It currently consists of three single-family houses and the framing shop, and would rezone it to C-P planned commercial zoning.
The new zoning code would allow redevelopment of the commercial space and potentially more intensive use of it.
Mayor Bob McDavid voted yes to the request, but he said when a potential developer comes back with a plan, "we insist great sensitivity on this neighborhood," McDavid said.
The owners of Great Hangups said they had no intention to develop the site and the point of rezoning is to sell the property.
Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe cast the only dissent vote. She called the proposed site "a sensitive area." Hoppe said one of the reasons she voted against the rezoning was the opposition from the neighbors who live in the area and care about their homes.
"For them it's not about dollars. It's about their lives and their lifestyle," Hoppe said.
Residents who opposed the rezoning also spoke during the public hearing. They repeated their demands for a site plan — which isn't required but would have reassured neighbors about what might go there — and that residents wanted a study of traffic and infrastructure before rezoning is approved.
The approved zoning allows a future developer to tear down current buildings and build a two-story building. The first floor would have 4,000 square feet available for commercial space — an increase of about 30 percent from what the 2,700 square feet Great Hangups store uses. The upper floor would be residential.
The council also unanimously passed a motion to build a portion of the Scott’s Branch Trail to pass through a nature sanctuary on land owned by the Columbia Audubon Society.
The Audubon Society previously rejected a request to build the trail through its land, but the board of the society agreed to compromise and to allow the construction before Monday's city council meeting.
The proposed trail from Weaver Drive to Dublin Park has been controversial for several months, while other portions of the Scott’s Branch Trail have already been approved. The whole project, which is expected to begin this year with funds amounting to $980,000 will start at Rollins Road, passing through Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary and eventually link with the MKT Ttrail at South Scott Boulevard.
Professor Howard Hinkel, the president of the Columbia Audubon Society, said the group decided to negotiate with the city to have more say on the final plan of the trail.