The would-be developer of the proposed Canton Estates subdivision on the border of Gans Creek Wild Area has asked that the Columbia City Council delay hearings and votes on annexation, zoning and a plat for the property until its June 7 meeting.

Rob Hill hopes to build a 113-home residential development on 63 acres at Gans and Bearfield roads. The council held a public hearing at its May 3 meeting, as required by state law, but it has not yet received public input on the request for single-family zoning and a preliminary plat for the development.

The proposal was met with staunch opposition from Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park and others who worry about the development’s impact on the area’s environment and on Gans and Clear creeks, which are part of the larger Bonne Femme Creek watershed.

City staff has recommended approval of the rezoning and annexation but rejection of the preliminary plat because it dislikes the proposed alignment of a sidewalk along Bearfield Road.

Hill sent an email to City Clerk Sheela Amin on Tuesday asking that his requests be tabled for three weeks. He did not indicate whether he plans to revise his proposal.

Some speakers at the council’s May 3 meeting said they were surprised Hill brought the same proposal to the council that the Planning and Zoning Commission had earlier rejected in a 7-1 vote.

Opponents of Hill’s plans worry about runoff from the development as well as light pollution and noise. They also object to the density of the proposed development, which would have 1.7 houses per acre overall. Density on the part of the property that drains toward the park would be much less.

Meanwhile, one property owner attempted to file a protest petition that would require that a supermajority of the council, or five of its seven members, vote in favor of the annexation, zoning and plat in order for them to be approved. The petition, however, failed to meet the requirement that the owners of 30% of the property within 185 feet of the land to be developed sign on.

In other action Monday night, the council will:

  • Hold a public hearing on the proposed annexation of the former Boone County Fairgrounds, which the county gave to the city in January 2020. The city plans to create a northeast regional park on the 135-acre property.
  • Introduce an ordinance that would allocate $10.7 million in federal Coronavirus Aide, Relief and Economic Stimulus money toward the new terminal at Columbia Regional Airport. The final vote on that measure is scheduled for June 7.
  • I've been a reporter and editor at Missouri community newspapers for 35 years and joined the Columbia Missourian in 2003. My emphasis at the Missourian is on local government and elections. You can reach me at swaffords@missouri.edu or at 573-884-5366.

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