City zoning commission gives OK to new school

Thursday, August 23, 2007 | 10:54 p.m. CDT; updated 2:29 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Columbia’s Planning and Zoning Commission gave first-round approval Thursday to build a new elementary school in northeastern Columbia at a 20-acre site near Brown Station and Waco roads.

The site is located in the middle portion of the 200-acre Villages of Arbor Point subdivision and is being voluntarily annexed to the city and zoned as a residential property.

Eight of the nine commissioners voted to approve the project Thursday after only a few minutes of discussion. Commissioner Neil Cady, who works as a consultant for Crockett Engineering, abstained from voting.

The school district entered into an agreement to purchase half of the property from Premier Land Holdings LLC, which also owns nearby land on which the Arbor Point subdivision will be built.

The remaining half of the property will be donated by two Columbia developers: Perry Luetkemeyer, owner of Millbrooke Enterprises, which is developing Arbor Point, and Tuscany Ridge developer Steve Herigon.

While there is currently no existing street access to the 20-acre site, there are plans to extend Waco Road through the southern side of the property. Access would also be provided off of Arbor Pointe Parkway, a planned collector street to run along the eastern side of the site, commissioners said Thursday.

Tim Teddy, Columbia’s planning director, has said a project to extend Waco west from Brown Station Road to Oakland Gravel Road is not projected to be completed for 3 to 5 years, but he said a new elementary school in the area could speed up that project.

The city would need to extend both water and electric services to the property, as well as a sewer line.

A $60 million bond issue approved by voters in April included plans to build both a new high school and elementary school with long-term plans for a second new elementary school. The first new elementary school is projected to open in fall 2009. The City Council will take the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation into account when it makes a final decision regarding the elementary school at its Sept. 4 meeting.

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