The Columbia City Council moved a step closer Monday night to approving what would be the largest voluntary annexation in the city’s history.
The council voted to formally introduce a bill on Billy Sapp’s proposed 805-acre development, paving the way for a final vote on June 20. The vote followed a public hearing that included impassioned calls for funding of road work to improve safety on Route WW, which would connect the proposed development to the rest of the city.
Bruce Beckett, an attorney for the Sapps, said such a large annexation would be good for Columbia.
“It’s far superior to a patchwork of annexations,” he said.
Sapp and his wife, Glenda, are asking the city for the third time to approve annexation of farmland along Route WW east of the city.
The request now before the council, although smaller than an earlier proposal, covers an area larger than Cosmopolitan Park, the Lake of the Woods Recreation Area and the new Stephens Lake Park combined.
Two earlier requests by Sapp to develop land at the site were blocked by a neighborhood neighbors group known as the Harg-Area Residents for Responsible Growth. The current proposal was filed on April 29 after members of the group said they had reached a tentative agreement with Sapp.
Plans call for development of more than 1,500 single-family homes and apartment units, many surrounding a golf course. The site would also be zoned to include some commercial development, mostly along the northern edge of Route WW.
“We are pretty well satisfied with the development,” said Renee Richmond, a member of HARG.
She said she remains concerned about the safety of Route WW and urged the council to consider paying for improvements to the road.
“The safety on that road is your concern when you allow a development of this size to go forward,” Richmond told the council. “This can’t wait until you have 4,000 people out there until you decide to do this.”
Fourth Ward Councilman Jim Loveless said some money for joint city-county projects is budgeted for projects such as this.
“We have a concern for all the citizens of the city and the infrastructure problems and challenges we have,” he said.
In other business, the council:
n Authorized amendments to the city’s Major Roadway Plan after considerable discussion. Two members of the public expressed concern about plans to extend and connect Scott Boulevard to Interstate 70. Other proposed changes include a connection between Providence Road, Rangeline Street and U.S. 63 on the northern edge of the city, upgrading and extending Fairview Road to I-70, and the extension of both Parker Street and Clark Lane to Business Loop 70.
n Approved a bill to buy property for the expansion of the Wabash Station bus terminal. The Orr Street site is home to a warehouse owned by MFA Inc., formerly known as the Missouri Farmers Association.