Overwhelming concern from neighbors about a lack of time to consider a proposal to rezone land for 68 new homes in the Green Meadows area prompted the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission to table the plan on Thursday night.
About 100 residents showed up at the meeting to voice their concerns about the plan offered by developer Don Stohldrier, who is asking that three single-family residential tracts totaling about 17 acres be rezoned as planned unit developments.
Stohldrier plans to build town houses and “Villas type” dwellings. His attorney, Dan Simon, said that while the process has been challenging, the proposal is a good one.
“I think this is a proper, reasonable development and it is one that is worthy of being strongly advocated and its one that I won’t apologize for advocating,” he said.
Nita Brooks, a resident of Cumberland Road, asked that members of the audience stand if they opposed the plan. Nearly everyone in the room stood.
Brooks asked that the commission table the issue to give neighbors time to “review, consider and deliberate the proposed rezoning.”
“We want time to have meaningful input,” said James Reese, another Cumberland Road resident.
Stohldrier and Simon met with neighbors on June 3, and Brooks said some progress was made.
The 68 new dwellings consist of 36 town houses and 32 attached units. The staff said these new units would have “little if any additional impact on the surrounding area.”
The homeowners, however, disagree. While they like parts of the plan, they worry about the density of the town houses.
Sarah Hill, a resident of Greenbriar Drive, told the commission that neighbors are “not opposed to development” but want to ensure that the architecture fits with the neighborhood.
Stohldrier proposed a gated community for the town houses, which Simon said is “optional.”
“It’s something we think is attractive to a number of people and a number of people in this target market,” Simon said. “Apparently it is offensive to some, and it’s purely optional to us.”
If the plan is approved, the developer would be required to rebuild Green Meadows Circle between Green Meadows Road and Greenbriar Drive. This would include constructing a sidewalk on both sides of the street.
The developer also proposed a backup plan in case the zoning is denied. The area would remain single-family residential and contain half-acre lots.
Residents also cited storm-water drainage, traffic and the decreased area of green space in the neighborhood as concerns. The commission is scheduled to discuss the plan again at its July 8 meeting.