Columbia City Council tables student-housing project

Monday, August 4, 2014 | 10:19 p.m. CDT; updated 6:57 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 5, 2014

COLUMBIA — Another downtown student apartment complex could finally get the green light on Aug. 18.

The Columbia City Council unanimously tabled a development agreement and rezoning request from developer American Campus Communities Monday night. The Texas-based developer plans to build a five-story, 718-bed apartment complex at the intersection of Providence Road and Turner Avenue. The council has tabled the request four times since it was introduced in March.

City staff recommended that council table a vote on the two bills because of recent amendments made to the development agreement.

"City code requires if there are substantial enough changes, you table," City Counselor Nancy Thompson said.

Before the vote to table, the council also voted unanimously to approve amendments to the development agreement and rezoning request. The amendments include additional landscaping requirements, recycling container installation, and the use of energy and water conserving appliances in its apartments.

As part of the development agreement, American Campus Communities would make a $300,000 contribution to fund improvements to the ailing Flat Branch Relief Sewer and the purchase of  $52,000 worth of city bus passes for 200 residents.

The $300,000 sanitary sewer contribution is in addition to any on-site sanitary sewer fees the developer would have to pay, Thompson said. If the city were to raise sewer connection fees or sanitary sewer charges above their current levels, American Campus Communities would be credited up to the $300,000 contribution.

The city originally tabled the agreement with American Campus Communities on March 19 because the city didn't have the electrical capacity to provide the 5 megawatts the project was estimated to need. Then in May, the developer requested a vote be postponed until August in order to allow them more time to refine the rezoning request and development agreement with the city. The council tabled the bills on May 19 until the July 7 meeting and then tabled them on July 7 until Aug. 4.

The developer plans to complete construction by Aug 1, 2017, according to the development agreement.

Supervising editor is Samuel Hardiman.

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