Planners suggest rezoning denial

City planners voice concerns about roads.
Sunday, March 20, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:26 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Inadequate roads are being cited by city planners as the reason to deny rezonings for a 250-acre development east of Columbia.

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission will hold separate public hearings and read staff reports Thursday on zoning requests for two properties on Richland Road owned by developers David Atkins and Garry and Drake Lewis.

Since November, Atkins and the Lewises have been discussing plans to build Richland Crossings, a mix of residential, commercial and office zoning at the intersection of Richland Road and a proposed extension of Stadium Boulevard.

“Staff feels that the annexation and zoning of (Atkins’) tracts of land are premature due to the lack of roadway system in this area,” a report to the commission states. “Additionally, the proposed intensity does not conform to the Land Use Plan.”

The Land Use Plan is part of Columbia’s Metro 2020 plan that outlines how land can be developed as the city expands. The commission could re-evaluate the request once the alignment of the Stadium Boulevard extension is determined, the staff report states, but that could take several years.

Atkins owns 147 acres on the south side of Richland Road, and he has requested annexation and permanent commercial, office and residential zoning. The Lewises own about 105 acres on the north side of the road and want similar rezoning.

“Since there are many unknowns about the ultimate location of the 740 extension, staff is of the opinion that the (Lewises’) request is premature,” the staff report said. “The present street network is inadequate for the intensity of development proposed.”

The city and the Missouri Department of Transportation have been discussing plans to extend Stadium Boulevard three miles north and east to Interstate 70 near either the Lake of the Woods exit or the Route Z exit.

City and transportation officials will begin determining the environmental impact of the extension in April or May with goals to finish the impact statement in late 2006.

The Department of Transportation does not have enough money to finance the $44 million extension, engineer Charles Sullivan said Monday. A highway bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives last week includes $2.5 million to get the project moving.

The Richland Crossings developers have said they would finance street right of ways and easements for the extension, but the city staff recommends the environmental impact statement and written decision by the Department of Transportation should be completed first.

“Acquisition of right of way in advance of a (written decision) could jeopardize the use of federal funds,” the report to the commission said.

The Columbia City Council on Monday is expected to set an April 4 public hearing on annexation, but not rezoning, of Atkins’ property.

Atkins and the Lewises are not financial partners, but are working together with mutual goals, Drake Lewis said earlier this month.

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