Columbia City Council holds hearing on Parkside Estates, EEZ

Monday, December 17, 2012 | 11:07 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — A proposed housing development project just north of Rock Bridge State Park was discussed during the Columbia City Council meeting on Monday.

The council held a public hearing regarding the requested annexation of the 35.8-acre tract of land located off Route K. The proposed subdivision, Parkside Estates, would feature 65 single-family homes, 11-villa style duplexes and two exits that would open onto Route K from the east.

The proposal has drawn controversy from neighbors and environmental groups concerned about the development's density and proximity to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, which borders three-quarters of the property line's length to the south.

Ken Midkiff, conservation chair of the Osage Group of the Sierra Club, was the only public commenter at the meeting.

"I neither oppose nor support it, but I request rigid enforcement of all city ordinances," Midkiff said.

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said Midkiff's comment implied that Columbia's new stormwater ordinance should not substitute for the Bonne Femme Watershed Plan that the city and Boone County adopted in 2007.

"I echo Barbara," Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp said. "Five endangered species live in the area, and they're all sensitive to water quality issues."

The Planning and Zoning Commission will vote on rezoning the tract of land on Jan. 10, 2013.

The City Council could annex and rezone the property as early as Feb. 4, 2013. But Tim Teddy, director of Community Development, said the request could be tabled before then and set for a later date.

Enhanced Enterprise Zone ordinance introduced

An ordinance that would repeal the establishment of an Enhanced Enterprise Zone Advisory Board also was introduced at the meeting.

On Wednesday, the Regional Economic Development Inc. board of directors voted to ask the council to rescind the ordinance that created the advisory board.

The board was formed at the Feb. 6 council meeting but was disbanded at the council's May 7 meeting after opposition from local groups. A new board was established at a special meeting of council later in May.

An EEZ is a state-run program that provides tax incentives to spark expansion of existing businesses or manufacturing companies and the development of new small businesses.

Over the past year, citizens have expressed concern about the proposed EEZ and the blight designation that comes with it.

John Farmer de la Torre contributed to this report.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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