Citing concern that Columbia was “oozing to the south,” the Planning and Zoning Commission approved one of two requests for new suburban neighborhoods south of the city.
The commission voted to recommend to the City Council a plan to rezone 40 acres south of Route K and the Cascades neighborhood for residential use and voluntary annexation into the city of Columbia.
The commission denied support to John Sam Williamson to rezone 88 acres between Old Plank Road and Route K for R-1 residential use.
The City Council will take up the proposals in 10 days.
During discussion of both requests, the commission talked over the need for sub-area planning to ensure adequate parks and traffic flow along Route K.
The commission members urged Williamson to consider planned-use zoning due to the land’s hilly topography. The commission members discussed the need to urge planned districts where appropriate.
Williamson said he was surprised by the commission’s decision.
“(The zoning) that they talked about would allow up to five houses per acre, and we’re certainly not thinking we would do anything like that,” Williamson said. “We were thinking more like two on the western part and then on the eastern part maybe not even one-and-a-half houses per acre because of its topography.”
Williamson said he intended to build 79 houses on the western 40 acres and has no plans for the eastern portion. He said he still plans to take his request to City Council.
The approval for the tract owned by Bob LeMone — near Williamson’s property — came despite concerns about traffic congestion on Route K.
Commission member Jeff Barrow voted against approving the zoning because he is concerned there is not a plan for southern expansion.
“I feel like Columbia is just oozing south to the river, and because we’re doing it in small bites, I feel like we’re not careful about how we deal with Route K,” he said.
Although he did not attend the meeting, Bill Chrisco, president of the association for the nearby Deerfield Creek neighborhood, said that he also had concerns about traffic.
“My main concern was if this was going to be family neighborhoods, then they should decrease the speed limit on Route K,” he said Wednesday.
Rob Wolverton, a developer for the tract, said developers intend to build a subdivision of starter homes similar to the Seven Oaks neighborhood.
Residents living near the planned developments are not surprised by the new plans.
“It’s typical,” Carrie Sanner said Wednesday. “People want a bit more space, and they are finding it out in the county.”
Both Wolverton and Chrisco said some residents in surrounding neighborhoods would have preferred that the developers build fewer homes per acre.
The commission also approved two more requests for voluntary annexation. One acre of residential property was added to the city between St. Charles and Upland Creek roads.
Five acres of property south of Nifong Boulevard along Bearfield Road were also added. The land will be used by Boys and Girls Town as part of a new residential and educational center. The group’s representative said the center will house 28 youths. Another center supports 26 youths.
Despite concerns about traffic and proximity to residential neighborhoods, the commission approved a request to rezone almost 27 acres for commercial use between Pioneer and Vandiver drives.