Bruce and Kathleen Maier want the Columbia City Council to rezone about 42 acres at the east end of Stadium Boulevard to allow for commercial development. They just don’t know exactly what they want to put there.
And that’s a problem, at least for some of their neighbors and members of the council.
The council tabled the Maiers’ proposal to rezone their land and allow Stadium-63 Properties LLC to develop it.
Discussion centered on the fact that the Maiers’ and their developer do not have a precise plan for what they want to build on the property.
John Pekkala, representing Stadium-63 Properties LLC, said the developer and the landowners have agreed not to use the land for live music venues and pornography stores, among other uses.
But that’s not good enough for Sixth Ward Councilman Brian Ash. He insisted on tabling the council’s vote on the application because he’s afraid of writing a “blank check” for the developers to build whatever they want.
“I don’t have a problem with the commercial zoning,” Ash said. “I would feel more comfortable with a plan.”
Mayor Darwin Hindman said he would like to have some idea of what would be built on the property before the council acts on the issue.
This is not the first time the Maiers have had trouble trying to rezone their property. They also filed rezoning applications in 1997 and 1998 but withdrew those applications before the council acted on them.
Commercial development on the property would require an eastward extension of Stadium Boulevard and construction of additional city streets in the area. City staff reported that “given the uncertain future of a Stadium extension, this application seems premature.”
They have also expressed other concerns about development on the property. The majority of the site is heavily wooded and one-third of it lies within the Grindstone Creek floodplain.
Those sentiments were shared by neighbors who spoke at Monday’s meeting.
Gay Bumgarner, who lives at 1315 S. Rustic Road, said she does not think the City Council should act on the issue before the owners develop a plan for the property.
“Let’s not put the cart before the horse,” Bumgarner said. “There’s no hurry.”
Last month, Columbia’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted 7-1 in favor of recommending that the council approve the rezoning of the property, which is currently zoned for agricultural use.