Developers of a proposed Wal-Mart at Broadway and Fairview Road cleared a procedural hurdle on Thursday when the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of a final plat for the site.
The plat divides the property into two separate commercial and residential lots and clears the way for the developers to build no matter how the City Council votes on a contentious rezoning request in December.
Platting a subdivision establishes geographic boundaries, the location of utility lines and plot divisions on a property.
“It’s a procedural matter,” said Craig Van Matre, the attorney for the developers. “The 28.3 acres have never been platted into the lot.”
The developers could apply for a permit to build a store on the 17-acre commercial lot.
But the developers, who include Stan Kroenke, Otto Maly and Michael Staenberg, have set their sights higher. Van Matre submitted a request to the city’s planning and development department in September to rezone the entire 29-acre tract for commercial use, which would increase the amount of land available for the development.
The commission voted 6-3 against recommending the rezoning at that meeting.
The City Council will hear public comment on the rezoning request and hear a final reading on the plat at its Dec. 20 meeting. Neighbors of the property have been protesting since developers first presented their plans earlier this year.
If the council approves the rezoning request, the developers are likely to withdraw the plat, said Bill Watkins, of the city’s planning and development department.