A request for rezoning of three tracts totaling 45 acres at Range Line Street and Blue Ridge Road won the approval of the Columbia City Council on Monday night.
With the council’s approval, Rampart, a development group, agreed to conduct a traffic study before submitting its plan for the development to the council. Many of the council members’ concerns regarded traffic safety and growth, but they said the need for commercial services on the north side of town was also important.
“There is a crying need in that area,” Mayor Darwin Hindman said.
A Civil War-period home that at one time was owned by Abiel Leonard Guitar sits on the largest of the tracts, a 27-acre parcel that is large enough to support a grocery store. Area residents who’ve talked with the developer have indicated that a grocery store would be among their preferred uses for the land.
Rampart has been meeting with historical societies and interested residents about how to preserve the Guitar house since Columbia Planning and Zoning commission recommended the rezoning last month.
Audrie Sable attended a meeting with the developers about preserving the house on Thursday. She has lived in the development area for eight years.
“We seem to have a great disregard nationwide for our history,” she said.
Developer David Atkins also addressed the home’s preservation during the public hearing. He said the development group will try to save the house as long as its historical value is determined and the group receives historical tax credits for the preservation.
The developers also met with neighborhood and homeowners’ associations before submitting the rezoning request. Residents listed grocery stores and banks as priority amenities in the development.
“This would be something along the lines of a Target or a Value City — not Wal-Mart,” Rampart attorney Robert Hollis said. “We know that for sure.”
They said they did not want businesses such as fast-food restaurants on certain tracts. Hollis said residents also excluded gas stations and duplexes on Monday. Second Ward representative Chris Janku made a motion that accommodated the new requests.
In other business, the council:
- Denied a request for open zoning from developer Garry Lewis for nearly 100 acres over six tracts near Richland and St. Charles Roads. This followed the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation, which reasoned the request was premature considering a possible extension of Stadium Boulevard. Council members also expressed concerns about making the area open zoning instead of planned.
Sixth Ward representative Brian Ash’s said he was surprised no one came forward for public comment.
- Approved rezoning to allow a Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant in Stadium Plaza on West Worley Street and Bernadette Drive. The restaurant, which will be located near Hobby Lobby and Best Buy, requested rezoning to accommodate for the restaurant’s trademark arcade.
- Approved a request from the Parks and Recreation Department to go ahead with its plan to tunnel the MKT Nature/Fitness Trail under Providence and Stewart roads. The project was part of trail improvements listed in the budget for the 2003 fiscal year. The city’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Commission included the spot in a list of problem intersections that was the subject of a report to the council later in the meeting.
The commission identified the Providence/Stewart project as a “highest priority” intersection because of the amount of bicycle, pedestrian and automobile traffic in the area, according to a memo to the council.