The fractious relationship between community growth and natural preservation eased a bit Thursday night as the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the first development plan for a portion of the recently annexed Philips farm.
The proposed 74-acre Bristol Lake development would include 51 single-family and 44 two-family lots on property north of Gans Road and east of Bearfield Road in the southwest portion of the 489-acre property owned by Elvin Sapp.
The project next will go before City Council for approval.
Engineers from Allstate Consultants allayed commissioners’ concerns about Gans and Clear creeks by showing how they will use retention ponds and guide storm water across permeable areas so it can soak into the ground. Those strategies are intended to increase from one day to three the time it takes runoff to reach the creeks.
“It’s always a challenge to come up with storm-water plans, and the sensitivity of this area made it more difficult,” engineer Brian Harrington said Friday.
Allstate and Sapp requested variances to reduce driveway lengths and the number of required sidewalks to cut down on impervious surfaces.
Gans Creek is protected by strict state regulations on development in its watershed. It is also part of the highly sensitive Little Bonne Femme watershed that includes Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.
Commissioners were impressed by the developer’s efforts to protect the environment.
“I do think they have done a lot of work on this,” Commissioner Karl Skala said. “It seems to me that this is a good example of what can be done when the City Council will get behind a certain sensitive area and makes some recommendations, and the applicants will get behind the nature of that resolution.”