COLUMBIA — The Columbia City Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance allowing construction of the Parkside Estates development next to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park but only after amending the plan to limit its environmental impact.
The ordinance annexes and rezones a 36 acre-lot but mandates that developers cover only 15 percent of it with impervious surfaces such as concrete, brick and rooftops. The developers must also adhere to best management practices regarding stormwater controls.
The vote followed more than two hours of public comment, mostly in opposition to the development. During the council's discussion, most council members seemed set to reject the original proposal.
"I was elected on the platform of preserving what we like best about the city of Columbia," Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp said. "I don't plan to support the proposal."
Council members expressed concern about drainage of stormwater, questionable bedrock quality, aesthetics and setting a precedent for similar developments around the park.
After Mayor Bob McDavid suggested amending the ordinance, the council passed it, with Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala and First Ward Councilman Fred Schmidt voting nay.
The owner of the land, Robert Hill, said after the vote that he was unsure what will come next in the development process.
"It's a gigantic reduction in impervious surface," he said.
Hill said he had already made concessions to park supporters and that he was uncertain whether he could meet the new requirements.
"We recognize that the park is sensitive," Hill said. "I live next to it. I do appreciate the olive branch, though."
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