Sapp plans to develop 965 acres

The unprecedented annexation request awaits city approval.
Friday, October 15, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:33 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Developer Billy Sapp formally filed paperwork with the city Planning and Development Department Tuesday for the voluntary annexation and zoning of 965 acres of land east of Columbia.

Sapp wants to develop two adjacent tracts into a golf course, commercial areas and more than 1,000 units of housing. If approved by the City Council, Sapp’s plan would be the largest annexation for development purposes in Columbia’s history, said interim Planning Director Bill Watkins.

The centerpiece of Sapp’s plan is an 18-hole golf course, which would be located on a 625-acre tract on the north side of Route WW and east of the Cedar Grove subdivision. The golf course would be surrounded by single-family detached homes, duplexes, townhouses and apartment buildings. Sapp has requested planned residential zoning for four parcels totaling 134 acres, which gives the city more oversight of the developments.

Sapp’s plan also includes 334 acres of residential development on two tracts in an adjacent area south of the highway and west of Rolling Hills Road.

City officials view the development and annexation of Sapp’s land as an answer to Columbia’s increasing demand for housing. The city receives more than 1,000 building-permit applications every year, Watkins said. The addition of more than 1,000 housing units during the next few years would offset the demand for at least one year, he said.

Construction could begin as soon as next spring and summer, according to a letter from Sapp’s attorney that accompanied the petition and application.

Sapp shared his plans for the land with neighbors earlier this year. At the time, residents expressed concerns about the condition of the roads and the quality of the housing units. In an annexation and development agreement submitted with the petition, the developer agreed to pay for the construction of an intersection at Route WW and Rolling Hills Road but left unanswered questions of general improvements to the state route.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raised questions about the development’s possible effect on wetlands included on the 625-acre tract. Don Stamper, a spokesman for the developer, toured the property with representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers in April to review these concerns and has said the plan takes environmental concerns into consideration.

If the City Council approves the annexation, Sapp’s development would dwarf another recent addition to the city — the 489-acre Philips tract development proposed by Sapp’s brother, Elvin Sapp. The Philips tract annexation drew close scrutiny from residents and was the subject of hours of public comment earlier this year. The City Council voted in March to approve the 489-acre development.

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission is likely to consider the zoning application and voluntary annexation petition at its Nov. 18 meeting, Watkins said.

“We’re anxious to get a chance to really digest it and work with the various reviewing groups and agencies and hopefully see it through the council’s various review and approval processes,” Watkins said.

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