Columbia’s Planning and Zoning Commission narrowly recommended approval of a permanent zoning request Thursday for 160 acres of farmland east of the city limits that is scheduled to be annexed Nov. 1. In the same meeting, the commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of a request to rezone the property at Providence Road and Third Avenue for commercial use.
The commission voted 4 to 3 to recommend approval of the farmland rezoning plan. Owner Gary Evans has requested permanent, open residential zoning for the land, which would give the city less oversight over future development than if it were not open zoning. The land is currently zoned for residential and agricultural use by Boone County.
The property is located on the west side of the Sunrise Estates development on East Richland Road.
Several commissioners expressed concern about recommending open zoning for the property. Commissioner Jeff Barrow, who voted against the zoning, said he would prefer planned zoning to protect two large ponds and a wooded tributary of the North Fork Grindstone Creek.
Speaking before the meeting, Evans said he has no plans to develop or sell the property. He requested to change the zoning of his land because he likes to plan ahead, he said.
After the meeting, Evans reiterated his lack of plans to develop the land.
“I’m very appreciative that the commissioners are supporting my lakes,” he said. “Those lakes will never be drained — ever.”
Under city ordinance, a property owner who agrees to annex may request specific zoning at that time. If the City Council does not grant the request, the owner may withdraw from annexation without being penalized.
Evans decided to annex after land to the west of his was incorporated in 2002. The continued expansion of the city limits, Evans feels, is inevitable.
“I just see the city growing there some day,” he said.
Regarding the land at Providence Road and Third Avenue, it was the third time in six years that the commission had not given its approval to the rezoning of the half-acre property. The land, which is owned by Tom and Pam Kardon, is currently zoned for office buildings.
In September 1998, the commission rejected Kardon’s first request to rezone the property as commercial. An identical proposal was resubmitted and again defeated by the commission in December 1998.
Kardon’s plan to put a store specializing in foreign car parts on the property drew ire in September from area residents who feared rezoning the property would bring unwanted traffic to the area and jeopardize residents’ safety.
Commission member Pat Daugherty said this particular request is not within the city’s 2020 land use plan.
“The 2020 plan calls for this to be a neighborhood center, and I don’t think an auto parts store can be called anything close to a neighborhood center,” Daugherty said. “This request is completely out of character with the neighborhood it is in right now.”
Commission Chairman Jerry Wade supported the office zoning.
“I think this is a question of the appropriate use of that property,” Wade said.
In other business, the board voted to table a request to rezone property on the southeast corner of Clinkscales Road and West Ash Street from multi-family residential to commercial until the Oct. 21 meeting. Commission members want to discuss with the owner the property’s future commercial uses.
The commission approved a request for a planned commercial development plan for the property located along the west side of Bass Pro Drive, south of Vandiver Drive. The developers plan to put in a Lone Star Steakhouse on this site if approved by the City Council.