After months of failed negotiations, the development of three tracts of land off Green Meadows Road in south Columbia may be closer to becoming a reality.
In the first sign of progress in weeks, developer Don Stohldrier agreed with neighbors’ request to reduce the number of units on a 2.5 acre tract of land from 21 townhouses to 16 townhouses, said Mark Farnen, spokesman for Stohldrier. In return neighbors would have to agree to support Stohldrier’s proposals for two other tracts on the 17-acre piece of land.
Neighbors had asked Stohldrier to reduce the number of units proposed on the 2.5 acre tract and an adjacent 1.65 acre tract because they felt the developer’s plans were too dense.
Farnen said Stohldrier gave neighbors the option of buying one acre of land on the first tract for $240,000, and in return he would only put 12 townhouses on the remaining 1.5 acres. To do this, Stohldrier would have to purchase a strip of land from the Rockbridge Christian Church.
“With either proposal, each side has a responsibility to do their part,” said Farnen.
Farnen said neighbors can choose only one of the offers. Nita Brooks, a resident of Cumberland Road, said the neighbors have no comment at the moment regarding Stohldrier’s proposal. The three proposals were introduced to the City Council on Monday. A public hearing and possible council vote is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 2.
Stohldrier’s proposal calls for a mix of townhouses and villas to be built on the land, currently zoned single family residential. The developer is asking that the land be rezoned as planned-unit developments, or PUDs.
Stohldrier wants the first tract, about 2.5 acres, rezoned PUD-10, which would limit the development to no more than 10 dwellings per acre. His initial plan was to build 21 single-family townhouses on that land, but the city Planning and Zoning Commission recommended at its July 8 meeting that the Columbia City Council reject the request. The commission recommended that the council approve a second request by Stohldrier to rezone a 1.65-acre tract as PUD-10. Stohldrier plans to build 15 single-family townhouses on that tract.
About 5 acres of land will remain open and be used as green space.
Although there are separate zoning requests for each of the three tracts, the development was designed as a whole, Farnen said. If all three proposals aren’t approved, Stohldrier will most likely withdraw his proposal, Farnen said.
Should the council reject the rezoning request, Farnen said Stohldrier would revert to an alternative plan, keep the R-1, single-family zoning and develop 73 individual lots.
At the Monday night meeting, the consideration for the approval of the plan was delayed.
During the commission meeting, there was some confusion regarding the neighbors’ position. Some wanted the land to be PUD and others wanted it to remain R-1. Brooks said that if residents could not get Stohldrier to reduce the density of the PUD, they would prefer the R-1 designation, because it is less dense.
However, most commission members felt the PUD was the better option. Wade said retaining R-1 zoning would increase traffic, create safety issues and cause the neighbors to lose green space in the area. He said he felt the PUD was preferable because it would ensure the reconstruction of Green Meadows Circle by Stohldrier.
Negotiations continue between the neighbors and Stohldrier, Farnen said.