Last-minute, significant changes in development plans for the Philips farm prompted the Columbia City Council to table its decision on annexation and rezoning for the property Monday night.
At Monday’s pre-council meeting, the council was given a list of proposed changes to plans for the 489-acre farm just southeast of Columbia. Those changes were submitted to the city staff Friday after developer Elvin Sapp learned the city might want to redraw the boundaries of a regional park proposed on the land.
The city would buy the land from Sapp, who wants to put a mix of homes, apartments, businesses and office buildings on the site. If approved in its current form, it will be the largest development in Boone County history.
The memo, prepared by Sapp attorney Dan Simon, spells out which tracts would be sold to the city for the park. The city wants to combine part of the Philips farm with part of an adjacent property owned by Sue Crane to create a park for south Columbia. The city and Sapp have been back and forth for nearly a year about which of the nine tracts should be used for the park and who should cover maintenance costs.
The memo also details how much Sapp is willing to pay for road improvements in the area.
Simon’s memo says Sapp will:
- Give the city 63 acres of Tract 3, including the 40-acre Bristol Lake, as a gift.
- Sell the city the rest of Tract 3, about 67 acres, and 10 acres of Tract 4, at a cost of $16,000 per acre. That cost would be about $1.232 million.
- Build a public street to the park.
- Cover all costs for cleaning the lake so it can be used for both recreation and storm-water retention. Sapp spokesman Mark Farnen said Monday the city would take over lake maintenance costs after about one year.
- Keep the C-3 zoning request on tract 8, about 23 acres along U.S. 63, but amend it to exclude commercial parking, farm machinery sales, driving ranges, auto repair shops, lumberyards and other uses. The council had worried about those kinds of uses on the land.
- Cover half of the cost to build a new interchange at U.S. 63 and Gans Road.
- Cover half the cost of extending Gans Road to accommodate the interchange.
- Cover half the cost for improving Ponderosa Street and one-third of the cost for improving Bearfield Road.
- Pay for all interior streets.
The memo emphasizes that Sapp would not be responsible for paying for any road improvements beyond those for Gans Road, Ponderosa Street, Bearfield Road, and the new interchange. The city could recover its costs through a special tax.
Simon also told the council Monday that Sapp wants to be able to develop Tract 9 without having to do a traffic impact study. The city had said it wanted Tract 9 for the park but has reconsidered.
Simon emphasized Monday that Sapp is anxious to get his development approved and that he’s tired of waiting.
“We’ve gone as far with this as we’re able to go,” Simon said. “If we’re going to pop out, we need to know it.”
Mayor Darwin Hindman said the council would take up the changes in a work session. Farnen said he hoped the council would consider the changes as an amendment to the development plans at its March 1 meeting.
The vote on annexation and rezoning will be delayed until March 15. If a decision isn’t made then, Simon said Sapp would withdraw his plans completely.