COLUMBIA — The Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously Thursday to recommend denying a request to rezone property on the south side of Walnut Street.
The property in question was recently acquired by developers Jon and Nathan Odle. The request was to rezone a piece of property from R-3 to C-2 (medium-density multifamily dwelling to central business). The property is surrounded by C-2 zoning. The developers also own the property across the street on the north side of Walnut Street, where a 100-unit apartment complex is under construction.
Craig Van Matre, the developers' lawyer, has said his clients' acquisition of the south side property prompted the building of a 400-space parking garage so parking would be available for the apartment complex's tenants.
The parking garage will be behind the apartment complex on the north side of Walnut, which prompted concern from the city and neighbors.
The North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association had been meeting with Van Matre and his clients for several weeks discussing the possibility of a developer's agreement between the neighborhood and the Odles. An agreement was not reached after the association requested $1 million in a trust for neighborhood improvements.
Concerns about the development among both neighbors and the Planning and Zoning Commission included increased traffic, strain on the inadequate stormwater system and the preservation of quality of life in the historical neighborhood.
Van Matre said another apartment complex with about 120 units will be built on the south side of Walnut Street, regardless of whether the rezoning is approved. He said without C-2 zoning, the buildings will be a "hodgepodge" instead of a uniform development in the style of the complex across the street.
Neighbors expressed a preference for a broken development instead of a "wall" in the neighborhood.
A total of 11 people spoke in opposition to the rezoning. The recommendation to deny the rezoning request will be forwarded to the Columbia City Council.