COLUMBIA — After more than hour of public hearing on The Pinball Co.'s request to rezone land from residential to commercial, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted in majority to support the Community Development Department's recommendation to deny the request.
Brooke and Nic Parks, owners of The Pinball Co., have a contract to buy 1.45 acres of land, which is located at 301 W. Green Meadows Road, from Rock Bridge Christian Church.
Brooke and Nic Parks own The Game Room Store, which is located at 1020 E. Green Meadows Road. They now want to focus on selling pinball machines — mostly online — and do not want to sell any additional products as they do in their current store.
During the public hearing, Jay Gebhardt, who is a principal engineer and surveyor for a consulting firm, the Parkses and their real estate agent spoke in support of rezoning the tract of land. The Rev. Maureen Dickmann, the pastor of the Rock Bridge Christian Church, wrote a letter in support of the rezoning request. It was read at the hearing.
Gebhardt said Brooke and Nic Parks "have been very attentive to the neighbors' concerns and the church's concerns and tried to balance those" in their building plan.
Brooke Parks said she and her husband have held two meetings at Rock Bridge Christian Church since last fall to share the plan with neighbors and "used the neighbors' input to develop a plan that we feel is a good one and that represents the best interests of all parties."
Brooke Parks said she and her husband never thought that their plan and request to rezone the land for commercial use would be controversial.
She said the plan "minimizes resulting traffic disruptions, which will be minimal to begin with." The Parkses said traffic to the store would be minimal because 98 percent of their business is done online.
Traffic problems are one of the concerns that multiple residents and neighbors raised during the public hearing, along with the concern that having a business and office space is not an appropriate use of land.
James Reese, a nearby resident, said that though he thought the building was designed well, "it's just the wrong location." Reese also said the land needs to be consistent with the city's Metro 2020 plan, which considers the Green Meadows area as a neighborhood.
The City Council will hear the motion of recommendation of denial at its next meeting on April 16.