Wal-Mart hearing delayed

Developers want to address residents’ traffic concerns.
Friday, October 22, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:41 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Hoping to improve their chances of gaining approval for a proposed Wal-Mart at Broadway and Fairview Road, developers asked that a public hearing on the plan be tabled so they could comply with recommendations from city staff.

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission agreed Thursday night and postponed the hearing until its next meeting Nov. 4.

“We very much want staff’s approval,” said Craig Van Matre, attorney for developers of the 30-acre tract. “Therefore, we’re doing everything we can to accommodate them and redesign it.”

Broadway-Fairview Venture, which includes developers Stan Kroenke and Otto Maly, wants to rezone the land from open commercial and residential use to planned commercial use.

Based on land-use plans submitted by the developers, however, city planners have recommended against rezoning the entire tract for commercial use. Instead, the planners recommend partial approval of the zoning request subject to several conditions.

The conditions relate to a proposal to relocate an extension of Ash Street that lies north of the property. Under the current proposal, the developers would move the street south to create a buffer on the northern edge of the land.

City staff, however, noted in a report to the commission that the proposed extension would run into Paxton-Keeley Elementary School on the west side of Park De Ville Drive. Concerned that increased traffic near the school would endanger children, the planners recommend the developers reroute the street to connect with Park De Ville Drive farther south.

Echoing planners’ concerns about safety and traffic, residents of the Park De Ville neighborhood have been vocal critics of the Wal-Mart proposal since it surfaced last year.

Van Matre plans to submit revised plans to the city next week. It’s too soon to know exactly which recommendations will be incorporated, he said, but the developers plan to meet with city planners to clarify changes.

“I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of things to negotiate,” Van Matre said.

The developers intend to build a smaller Wal-Mart on the southern portion of the land if the city rejects their rezoning request.

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