Boone County Commission approves Ponderosa Street rezoning, tables North Battleground issue

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 | 12:16 a.m. CST; updated 12:22 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 29, 2012

COLUMBIA — A request to approve a residential subdivision that would be built east of the new Battle High School and another request to rezone nearly 80 acres for industrial use were presented to the Boone County Commission on Tuesday evening.

North Battleground LLC requested rezoning for 38 acres east of Battle High School, which is under construction. The Robert M. LeMone Marital Trust asked for rezoning of property along Ponderosa Street, west of U.S. 63 and immediately south of the Williams Pipeline Co.

The commission voted to table the North Battleground request until a traffic study on St. Charles Road was evaluated; however, the commission approved the LeMone Trust's request.

The approval allows the LeMone Trust, which owns about 80 acres that were zoned for agricultural and residential use, to now seek industrial development of the land.

Before the vote, several residents who own property and live near the land expressed concerns about traffic, safety, the environment and noise if future projects are approved along the road.

Gary Straub, who owns land near the LeMone Trust property, questioned what industrial developments would do to traffic.

"I live very close to an industrial area right now, and traffic stops often, if a truck has to back up or wait for another truck to pull up and that's exactly what's going to happen here," Straub said. "I see no advantage to anybody except the owners of the property."

Senior planner Thaddeus Yonke said he reviewed the rezoning request and recommended the commission approve it. The Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission also voted in favor of the request Feb. 16.

LeMone Trust is working with the county, the Missouri Department of Transportation and other property owners to extend Meyer Industrial Drive, connecting it with Ponderosa Street, Yonke said. LeMone Trust will do the plotting and construction of the road, then turn it over to the county for maintenance when the road is built to a public standard.

"The county sees a benefit in having it done this way," Yonke said. "The county has been helping the property owners coordinate together so the project can be done as a single thing."

Jay Burchfield, the developing coordinator for the project, said the road is necessary for future development. He said he hopes it will be completed by the end of the year. There are no industrial plans in the works yet, he added.

"We've got to get past rezoning before we can start marking the property," Burchfield said in an interview before the meeting.

At the meeting, Phebe LaMar, an attorney who represents LeMone Trust, said that MoDOT is responsible for doing traffic studies because it is MoDOT's road.

"The reality is, right now, we are talking about property that is going to be right next to a busy road, and so we've got to address it in that context," LaMar said. "The method by which we're trying to do that is to make sure there is no connectivity between the residential property and the industrial zone property so that there's not going to be trucks going through neighborhoods."

Boone County Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller said that final plans will be required for future industrial projects.

"We don't know what is going to go on that road," Miller said. "It won't be finalized until there is a site plan that we can all agree to — the neighborhood, the county, the applicant — as to what would go there and what would be the conditions."

Rezoning would benefit property owners who want to develop the land at some point for industrial or commercial use. They would have the benefit of the outer- connected road and could utilize it for the creation of future businesses, Yonke said. 

North Battleground request tabled

North Battleground's request would have allowed North Battleground LLC to build 2.4 homes per acre in the 38-acre area, senior planner Bill Florea said. The Planning and Zoning Commission denied the request two weeks ago and asked for more information.

"The area east of Battle High School is urbanizing," Florea said in an interview before the commission meeting. "Ultimately, (North Battleground) is trying to build houses. They are asking to build 92 units on 38 acres. Under the current zoning, they would be allowed to build only 15 units."

The biggest concern about the proposed 92-unit housing development centers on the potential traffic it would create on St. Charles Road.

"St. Charles Road was not built for urban use," Florea said. "Traffic conditions are definitely the biggest sticking point. With 90 homes out there, there would be a lot more traffic, increasing the likelihood of unsafe conditions."

Although there are public safety services near the proposed development, road conditions may increase emergency response times, according to a staff report issued to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Because North Battleground failed to provide more information, the county staff could not conclude public safety services were acceptable for the needs of future homeowners in the area.

"Several neighbors from Copper Creek testified about traffic conditions," Florea said.

Copper Creek is located between the new high school and the site of the proposed residential subdivision.

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