Columbia's planning commission votes to recommend CVS rezoning

Thursday, September 19, 2013 | 11:06 p.m. CDT; updated 8:31 a.m. CDT, Friday, September 20, 2013

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-3 Thursday night to conditionally approve a proposal to rezone land near Flat Branch Park for a CVS Pharmacy. 

The rezoning proposal will now move to the Columbia City Council, which will make the final vote. It's unclear if CVS would be able to build a store on the plot if the council denies the request.

"Presently what we have there is unacceptable," said Commissioner Ray Puri, who voted to approve the proposal. "Sometimes it's better to have a bird in the hand than two in the bush."

The commission stipulated that it would like CVS to make changes before the City Council votes: allow a right-turn lane off Providence Road onto Broadway, lower their parking lot lighting poles to 16 feet and only allow right turns out of the drive-thru (or move the drive-thru exit farther south).

The Downtown Columbia Leadership Council, the Historic Preservation Commission and city staff have denounced the proposal.

At least three people spoke out against the proposal Thursday — but Robert Hollis, the attorney representing CVS, quickly claimed each citizen was affiliated with the downtown leadership council.

"I wouldn't really consider them the average citizen," Hollis said. "The council has already given their opinion. I don't think their opinion was requested by anyone, but they gave it."

City Council has not yet scheduled a vote on the measure; its next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 7.

Supervising editor is Stephanie Ebbs

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Chris Cady September 20, 2013 | 2:23 p.m.

I would have come down there to speak against it but I lost track of it after it was pushed to Sept. 7 and then it was not on that agenda either. I guess I should have paid more attention.

In any case this is a historic corner with buildings already sitting on top of our prized Flat Branch Creek at the very heart of the original Columbia settlement. Historic buildings would be torn down, for a second version of what's already across the street. It's not worth the cost to the character of that area and the city. We should be working to preserve cool buildings like McAdams and the ice house rather than destroying them, and we should be working to uncover Flat Branch, not bury it further.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 20, 2013 | 7:38 p.m.

Those buildings are so historic that the Historic Preservation Committee denied the application for the ice house.

(Report Comment)

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