A proposed zoning change to accommodate a restaurant development across Hinkson Creek from Stephens Lake Park should be rejected, the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission recommended on Thursday.
Developer Jay Lindner has asked that the city rezone 8.15 acres on the corner of Broadway and Trimble Road for planned commercial use. The only restaurant plan on file for the land is for a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop.
Lindner brought the proposal to the commission earlier this month, but it was tabled, mainly because commissioners and city staff felt they had too little time to review the request.
The commission decided to recommend denial of the request out of concern for land use, ultimately deciding the land would be better suited for open development than commercial planned development.
“I see no particularly compelling reason to make a large commercial area even more commercial,” commission member Karl Skala said. “I think office zoning is appropriate, and I would be willing to live with the consequences of open zoning.”
There had originally been concerns about traffic, but after a traffic study, commission staff felt this had been adequately addressed. Residents and park-goers expressed concerned about the effects of commercial development on the nearby park, saying the lights, noise and traffic from a fast-food restaurant would disrupt the park’s atmosphere.
“The sight of fast-food restaurants; glowing signage and lighting; automobile noise, the filth of grease spills, burger, coffee and doughnut trash; et cetera is a direct attack on Columbians,” said resident Mike Sleadd.
In an effort to appease those concerned, Lindner previously had promised to donate a 4-acre strip of wooded property to act as a buffer between the Broadway Shops development and the park.
The rezoning request will now go before City Council for a final decision.