After public hearings and debate that lasted into early this morning, the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission decided to recommend two-thirds of the controversial Philips farm development proposal for approval by the Columbia City Council.
The 489-acre plot southwest of Columbia was divided into nine tracts for zoning purposes, three of which were rejected. The commission did not approve tracts three and nine because members were uncertain whether the city would buy the land and convert it into a park. Members also narrowly rejected tract eight because project developer Elvin Sapp had proposed it have open zoning rather than more constraining planned zoning.
The City Council chambers were packed for Thursday's commission meeting, which was the first formal public hearing on the proposal even though it publicly has been scrutinized for more than a year. The proposal, complete with the commission's recommendations, will come before the City Council for approval next month.