Planning and Zoning Commission to consider revised plans for Route K subdivision

Sunday, July 14, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A revised version of a plan for a subdivision near Rock Bridge State Park includes fewer lots and a cap on impervious surfaces. 

The new plan includes 57 lots on 35.8 acres of land north of the park. The original proposal called for 73 lots. Most of the lots will contain single-family homes, and the new plan reduced the number of lots containing duplexes from 11 to eight. 

The revisions also dropped the development's density from 5.5 units an acre to 2 units an acre. All lots are now planned developments. Before, lots were a mix of planned unit developments and more general R-1 zoning. 

The switch to planned unit developments follows recommendations from the Bonne Femme Watershed Plan, which the Columbia City Council adopted in 2007. The development falls within the watershed, which covers 93 square miles in southern Boone County. 

In a 4 to 3 vote at its July 1 meeting, the council voted to allow the plan to go before the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission. The commission unanimously rejected the original plan at its Jan. 24 meeting.

The director of Missouri's state parks, local environmental groups and nearby residents spoke out against the first plan. In a memo to Columbia Community Development Director Tim Teddy, engineer Tim Crockett said his firm sought input from the state to make the new proposal "better for all involved."

A public information meeting about the plan is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in city hall. Planner Matthew Lepke said although he hasn't yet received feedback on the new plan, he expects supporters and opponents of the plan to come. 

"I certainly do think people will show up," Lepke said. "We'll kind of see what comes out of it and whether people are dismissive out of hand."  

The revised plan will also seek to cap impervious surfaces such as pavements in the development at 24 percent. To accommodate the percentage, the new proposal calls for a sidewalk along one side, as opposed to both sides, of all streets.

Kevin Roberson, president of the Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, said the percentage of impervious surfaces the new plan proposes is still higher than the 15 percent his group has established as best engineering practices for the land's karst topography.

"Anything that runs off from this development — our concern of course is pesticides and fertilizers — could go directly into the cave system and karst system," Roberson said.

The plan appeared before the council at its April 15 and June 3 meetings. At both meetings, the applicant requested the council table the plan to allow more time for revisions and discussion. Eventually, the applicant withdrew the plan and resubmitted it with revisions.  

If the council had decided the new plan was not substantially different from the original, developer Rob Hill would have had to wait until Oct. 29, a full year after he filed the first plan, to submit a new proposal.

Roberson said he expects his group will release an official position on the plan before next month's commission meeting.

Graphic by Will Guldin.

Supervising editor is John Schneller

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