The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission voted on Thursday night to table a request that land near Stephens Lake Park be rezoned to accommodate plans for a restaurant development so that it will have more time to consider the traffic implications of the request.
Developer Jay Lindner has asked the city to rezone the 8-acre tract at the northwest corner of Broadway and Trimble Road from 0-1, office, to C-P, planned commercial. A site plan on file with the city shows a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop being built on the land, which is part of the Broadway Shops development.
The commission felt it was not given adequate time to properly evaluate the request. The staff made an initial assessment of the request and determined that traffic was the primary concern in moving ahead with rezoning. They went on to list five suggestions for Lindner that would alleviate some of the commission’s concerns with traffic congestion.
“The real matter has to do with traffic, and I haven’t had a lot of time to digest it,” said commission member Karl Skala. “I don’t think the staff has had enough time to digest it either, and that’s unfair. I move we table the approval so we have time to adequately deal with the new material that’s occurred in the last few days.”
Several of the board members also voiced concerns that because Lindner’s request was made so late, the public hadn’t gotten a chance to fully evaluate the land proposal in time for Thursday’s public hearing.
Jose Lindner, Jay Lindner’s father, said the project would take the city’s concerns into account for the sanctity of Stephens Lake Park.
“There is a 4-acre piece of property we’d donate to the city as a buffer between us and Stephens Park,” he said. “It’s a heavily wooded area, and we’d expect it to stay that way.”
Most residents at the meeting reacted negatively to the proposal, citing concerns with noise, trash, lights and visibility of the future facilities from the park.
“The cleared area is still visible even with the tree buffer, so I’d like to see an extra buffer of offices between the commercial development and the park,” Columbia resident Vicki Smith said.
John Coffman, an East Campus resident, warned against detracting from the park’s beauty and suggested denying the request. Coffman said he fears that an eye-sore like a fast food restaurant would have a real detrimental effect on the park and surrounding area.
“Despite the buffer, the topography makes this a very sensitive area because it is so high up,” he said.
There will be another public hearing before the commission in two weeks in which the revised information will be reviewed along with supplemental material from the commission.