Richland Road request approved; Weiss property rejected by City Council

BY Eric Holmberg

COLUMBIA — The Richland Road annexation and rezoning request has been on the city’s agenda for more than two years. The 181-acre request has been heavily modified to reduce residential densities and remove a regional commercial center. It was back on the City Council’s agenda Monday night after receiving a unanimous recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission on Nov. 4.

The Weiss property was tabled on Oct. 18 and did not go back to the Planning and Zoning Commission.


What happened: The Richland Road annexation and rezoning request was unanimously approved by the City Council on Monday night. After much discussion, the council removed a restriction that would prohibit building residences on slopes greater than 15 percent. The council did this in anticipation of a potential ordinance that would regulate development on steep slopes. The proposed ordinance must first go through the public hearing process, which could take two or three months, before it comes to the council for a vote.

The request: The Richland Road rezoning request will have a maximum of 700 residences over 164 acres. The request also contains 80,000 square feet of commercial space on 17 acres. The commercial development will not be concentrated in one place, since that tract of land will be bisected by the Rolling Hills Road extension.

Comments: Developer David Atkins’ attorney, Robert Hollis, said the council shouldn’t approve a restriction on steep-slope development without studying the issue further.

Tony Black, who lives just north of the proposed development, remained in opposition to the Richland request. Black added that that the request has improved because the residential development is less dense than what was first proposed in November 2008.

“I wasn’t going to come tonight because it’s cold and I’m tired,” he said. “But I figured I came to the first meeting two years ago, so I might as well come to this one.”

What’s next: Development won’t be happening on Richland Road any time soon. David Atkins cannot make a plat submission until the Rolling Hills extension from the Old Hawthorne development to Richland Road is complete, which is expected to happen in fall 2012. The project is already funded by the capital improvement sales tax and is estimated to cost $4.1 million.


What happened: The Weiss property request was unanimously rejected by the council after it voted 4-3 not to send it back to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill, Third Ward Councilman Gary Kespohl and Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser voted to remand it back to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The request: The Weiss property request was a 21.9-acre mixed-use site that would have blended commercial and either office or residential space near the intersection of St. Charles Road and Richland Road.

Comments: “My feeling is that commercial development at this site is not consistent with the East Area Plan,” Mayor Bob McDavid said. “Zoning any of this commercial status is very premature.”

First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz said the request was at least two or three years premature.

What’s next: The Weiss property will remain a residential property in the county. Rejected proposals must wait a year before they can be brought back before the council, unless a special exception is made. However, the Weiss request will likely return in concert with Richland Road’s Tract 1, 90 acres of commercial development that was removed in October.

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