A trio of property owners are planning to develop their land to create Richland Crossings, a 250-acre development on both sides of Richland Road east of Columbia.
Developers Garry and Drake Lewis and David Atkins began discussing plans in November to create a commercial and residential development at the intersection of Richland Road and a proposed extension of Stadium Boulevard to be called Highway 740.
“It will be an upscale area that is similar to the Corporate Lake area south of town,” Drake Lewis said. “A mix of neighborhood commercial, single-family and multifamily residential will all come together.”
The Lewises’ property is north of Richland Road near St. Charles Road, across from Atkins’ property. The Lewises have submitted a request to rezone their 105 acres for a mix of commercial, office and residential properties. Plans include the development of low-density residential housing on the north end, with higher-density housing just below it and commercial property at the southernmost end.
Atkins, a member of development company Richland Road LLC, has asked the city of Columbia to annex and rezone 147 acres.
Ben Peck, director of acquisitions for Richland Road LLC, said there are no legal or financial partnerships between the Lewises and Atkins — just common interests.
“We’re both working with the city in similar ways to get the (Highway) 740 extension through the area,” he said. “We feel (Drake) Lewis’ development is similar and would complement ours.”
The project depends somewhat on the extension of Stadium Boulevard to the Interstate 70 Lake of the Woods exit.
“Clearly our development cannot proceed as planned without the construction of the Stadium/Highway 740 extension,” David Atkins wrote in a letter to the Columbia Planning and Zoning Department on Feb. 23.
Drake Lewis said road extensions are not a necessity but would facilitate current and future developments on Richland Road.
The developers started showing neighbors zoning plans in December. Many sent their endorsements to the planning department, emphasizing that growth should be well planned.
“As a property owner near the Richland Road area, I would like to express my support for the Lewis/Atkins zoning proposal,” Carson Coffman wrote on Feb. 24. “I am strongly in favor of setting forth proper commercial areas for the coming growth of the east side of Columbia.”
Other neighbors have said they supported rezoning the property but do not support plans for development. Others are concerned with the additional traffic flow on Richland and St. Charles roads that would come with the development.
“I’m concerned about the developments here, particularly about road infrastructure,” Jane Mandel said. “The road system here cannot support the additional traffic that these developments would cause.”
Harg-area neighbors who have petitioned against nearby developments said they will not actively oppose Richland Crossings. They will concentrate on their petition to block developer Billy Sapp’s latest 169-acre annexation request.
“We looked at (Richland Crossings) on the map and currently don’t have any plans to take any action about that one,” said Willis Richmond, a member of Harg-Area Residents for Responsible Growth. “Basically, we’re going to concentrate our actions on the Sapp annexation.”
Drake Lewis said he will show plans to neighbors as they are finalized. “I’m sure that we will have some opposition,” he said, “but we will reassure everyone.”
He pointed out that he will live on the property.
“I want to make sure that everything around me is first class,” he said.
The planning department is scheduled to make a recommendation on the rezoning of the Atkins property on March 24. The Columbia City Council will likely hold a public hearing on the annexation request on April 4.