COLUMBIA — A request to rezone 13.8 acres at the southeast corner of Nifong and Forum boulevards won the approval of the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday night.
The commission voted to approve the project known as the Boone Hospital Medical Park South. It remains subject to final approval by the Columbia City Council.
THE REQUEST: The Boone Hospital Center Board of Trustees is asking that the city change the residential and office zoning on the property to planned commercial zoning that would allow for medical and commercial buildings.
The plan calls for several changes to adjacent roads. A Civil Group, which would handle the development for the hospital, is committed to widening the south side of Nifong Boulevard by an extra lane between Providence Road and Forum Boulevard, adding right-turn lanes on to the property from Nifong and Forum and adding a new signal at the intersection. A new sidewalk alongside the medical park also is planned.
THE PROPERTY: The land is undeveloped. Residential housing lies north and south of the property, and there are trees on the south side that would act as a natural buffer for the neighborhood. A Civil Group would add extra landscaping to further screen lights from the parking lot.
The primary use for the site will be for medical office buildings and accessory uses, but 30 percent of the property would be available for commercial use. The hospital trustees have not announced specific uses for the buildings but have promised to make sure all buildings have a health care purpose.
COMMENTS: Attorney Tom Scheider, representing the trustees, said specific uses for the medical park have not been determined, although the board had some ideas. Those include an ambulatory surgical center, a medical center, an imaging center or a diagnostic center. He said the hospital would tailor the medical park to the community needs, and the land will not be rented out. He also said the board had no specific timetable for construction, but members feel it is time to move forward on rezoning.
NEXT STEP: The request will be sent to the Columbia City Council for final approval.