The Columbia City Council will hear public comment tonight on proposals to rezone land in southern Columbia to accommodate high-density residential development.
The rezoning requests for three tracts of land off Green Meadows Road have led to discussions between developer Don Stohldrier and concerned residents of the Greenbriar and Trailridge neighborhoods since May. Despite multiple meetings, the two sides haven’t agreed on how development should proceed.
According to the meeting agenda, the council must decide whether to approve Stohldrier’s original proposals for planned development zoning, which would allow him to build homes at a higher density than allowed under present zoning.
Stohldrier has proposed building townhouse and villa-style developments on the tracts, which total about 16 acres.
But a Sept. 24 memo from Stohldrier’s lawyer, Dan Simon, gives the council four more options.
If council members reject the original proposals, they could eventually vote on a plat for the largest tract that retains standard residential zoning. The council also could approve the planned development rezoning with modifications for reduced housing density and the position of the buildings, which Stohldrier proposed Sept. 1.
Simon’s memo also suggests two modifications to the original proposals that would retain higher-density zoning in exchange for more common space and less road construction.
Neighbors have resisted the proposals for planned development. At a July 8 public hearing before the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission, residents spoke out against the density of the buildings and the lack of common areas in the developer’s plans, according to official minutes.
Despite modifications to the proposals, leaders of the Trailridge-Greenbriar neighborhood association and several homeowners groups continue to support standard residential development and single-family detached homes, said Nita Brooks, president of the neighborhood association.
“Our basic consensus is that all of the varied options presented in the memo are cosmetic changes that don’t change the basic nature of the development,” she said. “We are 100 percent unified in supporting R-1 development.”
In his memo, Simon argued against R-1 development, which would create 70 to 76 detached houses.
“My deep personal instincts tell me that what the ‘neighbors’ desire for the above referenced properties, Tracts A, B and C, is not the right thing for the property, or the best thing for the property, or even the best thing for them,” he wrote.
The advantages of planned development include stricter control over the development, better positioning of buildings and the retention of open space, Simon wrote.
But Stohldrier is prepared to proceed with standard residential development if the council rejects the rezoning applications, according to Simon’s memo.
Third Ward Councilman Bob Hutton said he hadn’t read the new proposals but thinks they could take up a lot of time at the meeting.
“It would be nice to have one option to consider,” he said.
The City Council meets at 7 tonight at the Daniel Boone City Building, 701 E. Broadway.