A vote on whether to endorse a plan to build 16 apartments at the northwest corner of Green Meadows Road and Green Meadows Circle in south Columbia was tabled by the Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday night.
A Civil Group, on behalf of property owners West Rock II, LLC, proposed rezoning of the 1.5-acre vacant tract from R-1, single-family residential, to PD, planned development. West Rock’s “The Godfrey PD Plan” proposes four flour-plex apartment buildings for a total of 16 apartments with two bedrooms each.
City staff reviewed the plans with the developers in November 2019. While staff acknowledged advantages such as the location and aesthetics of the property, planners worry the project is too dense. They suggested in a staff report to the Planning and Zoning Commission that 12 apartments would be more feasible than 16.
The staff also suggested West Rock’s plan would place the apartments too close to the street, and disliked the fact that some of the apartments’ entrances would not face the road. Overall, it felt the development was out of character for the surrounding area.
The property is bordered by Rock Bridge Christian Church and single-family neighborhoods.
The commission was scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on the proposal Thursday night. A Civil Group, the engineering firm representing the developer, however, asked that the matter be tabled. One of its employees reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and had exposed the firm’s staff.
Because a member of the public attended the meeting to speak about the proposal, the commission went ahead and opened the public hearing, then voted 8-0 to table the matter to its Aug. 6 meeting and continue the hearing then.
Residents who live close to the property submitted written comments before the meeting, saying they felt there was no need for more apartments in that part of town. During the meeting, Columbia resident Bill Tackett said he worried about the impact on traffic in an area that already experiences congestion at certain times of day.
“This particular piece is a bad idea. Just pull up there at 5 o’clock and you’ll see the problem,” Tackett said.
Chairwoman Sara Loe also expressed concern about whether the plan would meet Fair Housing Act requirements, saying she did not “see an internal sidewalk system and an internal accessible route connecting the accessible parking to the entrances or the dumpster area or the sidewalk.”
City planner Pat Zenner said he thought tabling the issue would be fair so that a representative from A Civil Group would have the opportunity to address any public or commission concerns or to answer questions.
Commissioner Michael MacMann suggested the tabling should not count against the limit on developers’ requests for tabling, saying the pandemic has created extraordinary circumstances.