Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission recommends new student-oriented housing

Thursday, November 21, 2013 | 10:48 p.m. CST; updated 12:44 a.m. CST, Friday, November 22, 2013

COLUMBIA — Another student-oriented housing complex took one step closer to completion Thursday.

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-2 to recommend that City Council approve an 899-bed development called The Avenue. The housing complex would sit at the end of Stadium Boulevard near a similar development, The Domain. The complex would also border several subdivisions.

Nearly a dozen Columbia residents — including Bob Smith, the mayor of Columbia from 1961 to 1962 — spoke against the development, saying it would destroy the area's natural beauty.

Several residents also suggested the market for student housing may soon reach its carrying capacity, but commissioners said that concern was outside their area of expertise. 

"Supply and demand isn't my job," said Commissioner Rusty Strodtman, who voted in favor of the proposal.

City staff recommended approval for the project. City Planner Pat Zenner said it would be an appropriate transition from dense downtown development into Columbia's less-dense areas.

Park 7 Group, which is also planning a 24-story tower on Elm Street, would operate the development.

Commissioners Andy Lee, Doug Wheeler, Bill Tillotson and Steve Reichlin also voted for it; Sara Loe and Anthony Stanton opposed it.

Supervising editor is Stephanie Ebbs.

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