Car-parts store draws hot discussion

Neighborhood residents worry about traffic and safety.
Tuesday, September 7, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:17 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 7, 2008

A plan to put a car-parts store at the intersection of Providence Road and Third Avenue has drawn heat from neighbors.

Shop owner Tom Kardon wants to rezone the area for commercial use to allow for the store.

But those at a meeting of the Ridgeway Neighborhood Association said Saturday that they are worried about the plans, which will come before the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission for a public hearing on Thursday.

On Saturday, Kardon’s attorney, George Smith, presented Kardon’s plans, which call for a 5,500-square-foot building facing the west side of the property, with a parking lot in front.

Kardon proposed a car-parts store at the same intersection in 1998, but his proposal was rejected by the Columbia City Council.

The land is currently zoned for office use and the potential zoning change caused a number of concerns for residents and others at the neighborhood meeting.

Some also feared that an increase of traffic on Third Avenue would endanger the many pedestrians who walk in that area everyday. The current drawings for the store call for two exits: one onto Third Avenue and the other onto an alley next to the property.

“There would be huge access problems,” said John Clark of the North Central Neighborhood Association.

“Traffic issues are a big concern for me,” Bruce Lynch, who lives on Third Avenue, said. “It’s a neighborhood. There are kids always playing in the area.”

Others aren’t sure how the store would affect efforts to beautify the area.

The neighborhood association recently received approval from the city for two “adopt a spots” — areas the neighbors have set aside for clean up. Much has also been done to fix up area residences and roads.

“We have this long-awaited renaissance. I just don’t see how a car- parts store would add to that,” neighbor Pat Kelley said.

Smith assured the residents that Kardon’s store would not harm the area’s appearance.

“This will be exclusively a car- parts store,” he said. “It’s our concern that it doesn’t become a junk yard.”

Residents seemed to agree that if plans are modified, the car-parts store could be welcomed in the neighborhood.

“It would be interesting to see what Tom might come up with later on,” Clark said.

“I’m not against who they are as people,” Lynch said. “I’m concerned about the business part. I just think the property was zoned office for a purpose.”

A hearing before a Planning and Zoning Committee is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Council Chambers Area.

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