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City tweaks Sapp’s plan for Philips tract, park

The city negotiates with Elvin Sapp about the development and with the Crane family to buy property for a new park.
Sunday, February 22, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:09 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 1, 2008

City Manager Ray Beck issued a counterproposal Friday that calls for Elvin Sapp, the would-be developer of the Philips farm, to contribute more money toward road improvements to serve his development and a city park planned for the property.

The proposal also asks that Sapp split the cost of a traffic study and cover two-thirds of the expense of raising a dam and dredging the 40-acre Bristol Lake. This is so the lake can serve double duty as a regional storm-water detention basin and a place of recreation.

Sapp has asked that the city annex the 489-acre Philips property and zone it for a mix of residential, commercial and office uses. If his plan were approved, it would lead to the largest single development in Columbia’s history.

Beck’s counterproposal is the product of ongoing negotiations with Sapp’s attorney, Dan Simon, who at the last meeting of the Columbia City Council outlined a 10-page memorandum of understanding that included several changes in Sapp’s plans. The changes prompted the council to table a vote on Sapp’s request until March 15.

Negotiations will continue

In a memo to the council on Friday, Beck said he will continue talks with Simon in advance of a public work session scheduled for Monday evening.

Acquisition of the parkland is central to the negotiations, officials have said. In his memorandum, Sapp said he would donate Bristol Lake and about 23 acres surrounding it to the city, then sell another 77 acres to the city for about $1.28 million.

In his counterproposal, Beck said the price is right.

In addition, Beck’s proposal:

- Calls on Sapp to pay half the cost of a traffic study before beginning residential or commercial development along Bearfield Road or Ponderosa Street.

- Asks that the developer pay one-fourth to one-third of the cost, or $25,000 to $30,000, to resurface Bearfield Road between Nifong Boulevard and Gans Road. Sapp had proposed chipping in a third of the money necessary to resurface only the part of Bearfield that runs along the Philips land.

- Endorses Sapp’s plan to create a transportation development district, in which consumers would pay a special sales tax to reimburse him, the city and perhaps other entities for money spent on road work.

The largest street project associated with the Philips development would be a new interchange at Gans Road and U.S. 63. Beck’s proposal, however, calls for excluding some planned improvements to Ponderosa Street.

- Suggests that a more restrictive covenant than that proposed by Sapp might be appropriate to whittle the types of uses permitted on a section of Philips land known as Tract 8, for which Sapp seeks open commercial zoning.

- Reduces to one-third the proposed city share of the cost for improvements to Bristol Lake. Sapp had asked that the city reimburse him for half that expense.

Purchase would connect parks

While Beck closes in on the city’s goal of obtaining Philips property for a park, he’s also negotiating for up to 320 acres of land south of Gans Road that is owned by the Crane family. A public purchase of that tract could create a regional park that would encompass nearly 500 acres and connect with Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.

Late last week, city Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hood told the Columbia Missourian there have been “preliminary” discussions with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources about extending Rock Bridge Park to include some of the Crane land.

Sue Holst, spokeswoman for the DNR’s Division of State Parks, said Friday that the agency is interested in protecting land around the environmentally sensitive Gans Creek, which flows through the Crane property.

Holst said the DNR has made no offer on the Crane land and that agency officials aren’t “at a point yet where they can decide whether they are interested in buying the land.”


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