Schnucks plans to build a grocery store including a CVS pharmacy at the southwest corner of Clark Lane and St. Charles Road in northeast Columbia, while Starbucks intends to build a drive-through coffee shop near the southwest corner of Vandiver Drive and Range Line Street, according to documents attached to the Columbia Board of Adjustment's agenda for Tuesday night.

The Schnucks and CVS would represent the first phase of a planned Battle Crossing shopping center, according to a city staff report to the Board of Adjustment. Development plans submitted to the city indicate the grocery store and pharmacy together would comprise 47,650 square feet and would be situated in the southwest corner of the shopping center.

The Donna Jean Armstrong Unitrust owns the 25-acre property where the shopping center is planned. GKT is the contract purchaser, and Schnucks would lease the land for its store, according to the staff report.

Despite plans that are part of the public record, Schnucks' media relations department would not confirm its intentions for the Clark Lane property Tuesday.

"Schnucks is always evaluating store planning opportunities, potential customer expectations and other future actions that could position our company for continued success," it said in a statement emailed to the Missourian. "Part of this process is having discussions and exploring possibilities with government agencies, landowners, developers, etc. However, we don’t have any announcements at this time with regard to the Columbia market."

Signs will be the topic of discussion at the Board of Adjustment meeting. Lawyer Robert Hollis, on behalf of the developers, is asking for variances from the city's sign regulations that would allow the placement of two "master" Battle Crossing shopping center signs on the property. City staff, however, has said those signs are not permitted under the zoning code because they are on individually platted lots, which is inconsistent with the definition of a shopping center. As such, the signs would constitute off-premise advertising.

One of the master signs proposed also would be larger than city code allows, the staff report says.

Schnucks also is seeking a variance that would allow its primary wall sign on the front of the grocery store to be larger than city ordinances allow, and it wants to place a second sign on the east-facing wall of the store. The latter plan is not allowed, senior planner Patrick Zenner wrote, because the east wall of the store would not face a street.

The staff is recommending the Board of Adjustment approve the variance on the location of the master signs, as long as any future development of the shopping center is limited only to monument-style signs. It recommends the board deny the other requests but acknowledges that the size of the main wall sign Schnucks is requesting is not unreasonable, given its scale in relation to the size of the store and the distance of the store from the street.

Hollis is also representing Starbucks, which is asking the board to allow it to have 25 parking spaces, three more than the maximum allowed by the city's zoning code, for its drive-through. It is planned for the former site of the Budget Host hotel, which has been demolished.

The Starbucks would be built just south of the existing Waffle House.

Starbucks argues that its national standards indicate 25 spaces are necessary to accommodate the number of customers it will attract.

"Starbucks has a well established need for parking based on operations at stores around the country," its application for a variance reads. "Their business model and traffic flow does not match those of a typical drive-through restaurant, which the parking requirements are based on. They are able to serve more customers in a smaller space and need the additional parking spaces."

Senior planner Clint Smith denied Starbucks' application in a June 12 letter. He noted in his report to the board that city planning staff are authorized to approve up to 22 spaces, the maximum allowed under the zoning code, but 25 spaces would require the board's approval.

Smith wrote that Starbucks' national standards shouldn't be factored into zoning decisions in Columbia, which restricts parking as a means of limiting stormwater runoff, retaining green space and promoting alternative forms of transportation.

"Parking is a critical aspect for any business and is often a direct representation of that businesses (sic) success," Smith wrote. "However, without limits, parking areas may become excessive wastelands of unsightly, under-utilized paving that pose greater impacts upon the environment and create opportunities to attract nuisances for adjoining land uses."

Smith also suggested that Starbucks could allow its employees to park on other parts of the 4-acre property, which won't be developed right away, allowing more room for customers.

A conceptual development plan submitted by property owners Bucky C, LLC, show a sandwich shop, retail space and an automotive repair business as possible future uses of the site.

The board meets at 7 p.m. in the Columbia City Council Chambers at the Daniel Boone Building, 701 E. Broadway. The meeting also will be streamed live on the city's website.

  • 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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