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City Council approves annexation of planned subdivision near Battle High School

Monday, February 20, 2012 | 10:54 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — A planned subdivision near Battle High School is closer to annexation after the City Council voted Monday to extend sewer services to the site.

The council unanimously approved an annexation agreement with St. Charles Road Development LLC, a group planning the construction of a mixed-use subdivision on 204 acres of Boone County property near the future high school's site.

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The area will be formally annexed once it is adjacent to city boundaries.

A conceptual zoning plan in the agreement calls for a majority of the property to be zoned for residential use with about 15 acres just north of St. Charles Road zoned for commercial development.

Before voting for the agreement, Fifth Ward Councilwoman Helen Anthony asked for specific figures related to the fiscal impact of annexation. The report states that the city would be responsible for providing additional services to the subdivision in the future, the costs of which were not estimated in the report.

Anthony said that wasn't good enough.

"We have to have a cost analysis," Anthony said. "We keep talking about it, but we're not doing it."

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe agreed. She said that even though the conceptual zoning plan was subject to change, there should be a system for the city to evaluate future annexation agreements.

"We're just automatically saying, without any basis, that everything will pay for itself and the services, and we have to see that," Hoppe said.

City Manager Mike Matthes said residents of the new subdivision would inevitably benefit from city services because of their proximity to Columbia and should be part of the tax base.

"If it's not annexed, then this area pays zero for the expense the city bears for what ends up being neighbors," Matthes said, adding that the time necessary to produce fiscal impact figures could delay consideration of the agreement by a month.

Mayor Bob McDavid said annexation of the area was inevitable with the new high school nearby and that there was no need to delay the annexation process.

"I can see no conceivable way we would be denying this annexation," McDavid said.

Anthony voted for the agreement, adding that she would like to see fiscal impact figures for the development at a future meeting.

The subdivision, called Somerset Village, will be developed according to county standards until the area is annexed into the city, with some exceptions. The agreement calls for sidewalks, curbs and landscaping features to be developed to city rules, while county codes will cover road widths, stormwater retention and the zoning of marketable lots.

County regulations require proof of infrastructure support, including sewer connections and road plans, before zoning requests increasing population density can be considered. Thaddeus Yonke, a senior planner for the county, said last week that the county had not yet reviewed the conceptual zoning plan included in the agreement.

Community Development Director Tim Teddy emphasized this point to the council.

"This really is just a concept or an illustrative plan," Teddy said. "This hasn't been filed yet with Boone County."

Last week, the Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission rejected a rezoning request for a 38-acre residential development east of the Battle High site proposed by North Battleground LLC in a 6-4 vote. An annexation agreement for that property was passed unanimously by the council at its Sept. 19 meeting.

The council did not discuss the North Battleground decision.

Robert Wolverton, a member of the St. Charles group, said Thursday that construction of the Somerset Village subdivision would likely not begin for another year and a half to two years.

Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said in January that the high school's construction is on schedule. Battle High is expected to open in fall 2013.


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Comments

Mike Martin February 20, 2012 | 10:44 p.m.

So Councilwoman Hoppe and Councilwoman Anthony have "serious questions" about yet another hyper-expensive Big Developer project -- but vote to pass it on through anyway.

Just like the Blight Decree. Just like Garagezilla, Jr. And before that for Hoppe, Garagezilla and oodles of other bad projects.

Accountable government this ain't.

(Report Comment)
Bill Weitkemper February 21, 2012 | 6:15 a.m.

In the interest of public health the city’s wastewater system should not be used as a carrot for annexation. The city’s wastewater system is a regional facility that is supported by user fees, not taxes.

The city’s wastewater system should be available to all customers located within the service area. There is no viable justification to deny connection or charge an additional charge to customers located outside the city limits.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking February 21, 2012 | 8:17 a.m.

It's interesting how people characterize Hoppe as "anti-business" and "anti-development", when her voting record shows she's supported most projects like this. Same with the recent First Ward councilpeople.

I don't see what the Chamber sorts think is wrong with the actions of the council - any council we've had in the past 20 years. They're much more the same than they're different.

DK

(Report Comment)

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