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Columbia City Council approves rezoning for apartments at nightclub site

Monday, April 16, 2012 | 11:21 p.m. CDT; updated 9:57 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 17, 2012
A request to rezone lots on Locust Street to accommodate plans for student apartments was approved after a public hearing at Monday’s City Council meeting. Regina Properties LLC plans to build on these lots and on the property that was home to the former Athena Night Club, which the company plans to knock down.

COLUMBIA — A lot at Locust and Hitt streets was rezoned to make way for another new student apartment complex.

The Columbia City Council approved the rezoning after adding an amendment that required 50 parking spaces be provided by the developer. The development, a 160-bed student apartment complex, is being proposed by Regina Properties LLC of St. Louis.

The property on which the development will be built consists of two lots, one of which used to house the Athena and Memoir night clubs and Salty's Bar and Grill. The other lot was rezoned from residential to planned commercial Monday night.

The main concern expressed by council was parking availability downtown. Mayor Bob McDavid said having students living close to campus in the downtown area would cut back on traffic and encourage a more pedestrian lifestyle.

Columbia resident Shari Korthuis said she was unsure about the amount of student housing development in the city.

"The changes that have been made since I've lived here are not the direction that I thought this city was going," Korthuis said. "Now what we're doing is depending on the students for everything."

The council approved the rezoning unanimously.

"As student enrollment grows, we've got to house them somewhere, and downtown ... makes a lot more sense than a lot of the student development that's taking place on the south side," newly sworn-in Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp said.

The council also approved:

  • Rezoning property on the southeast corner of Garth Avenue and Blue Ridge Road from agricultural to planned unit development. The item was originally tabled at the April 2 meeting because residents weren't given adequate notice. Since then, developers have met with neighborhood representatives and informed them about the condominium development, said Tim Crockett of Crockett Engineering. Some people still expressed concern at the meeting about protection for the trail and wildlife, as well as about pollution. Some also saw possible issues with caretaking of the property if the condos don't sell or are sold to irresponsible tenants.
  • The Hinkson Creek TMDL settlement, which solidified an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to begin improving the water quality of the creek. Boone County and the University of Missouri System are also members of the agreement.
  • A new public drop-off area at the city landfill. The project is aimed at making the landfill more convenient and safe for smaller cars.

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