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Public meeting discusses proposed Columbia student housing complex

There could soon be another student housing complex in Columbia.

The Park 7 Group has been working for the last two years to get “The Avenue at Columbia” to be constructed on 32.5 acres at 1202 Cinnamon Hill Lane.

The proposed 321-unit student housing complex would house around 800 students.

City officials held a public information meeting on the complex Tuesday night, where several residents from the adjacent neighborhood came and voiced their concerns.

Diane Shuler said she and some of her neighbors have several concerns, some of which may have led to the proposal being rejected twice already.

“Is this the best use of this land? The Domain is just across the street, do we really need another student housing complex?” Shuler asked. “This is student housing but is it the type they really want? I work at a college and am around students all the time…and they always tell me what they want is low cost housing.”

She was also concerned about safety in the complex with where it is situated.

“Are these safe apartments? There’s only one access road open all the time for these students and in an emergency, will these students be protected?” Shuler said.

But some of her other neighbors disagreed, saying the project would be good for Columbia.

“The attachment to the University is one advantage we have here. Some people complain that we don’t need more [student housing], but the University is still growing and so we will need more student housing and this is about as close to the campus as you can get right now,” neighbor Harold Johnson argued.

The city offered more information about the project at the meeting, like how it would require a road extension of both Timber Hill Lane and Cinnamon Hill Lane. Patrick Zenner, development services manager, also discussed drainage systems and infrastructure.

The proposal will move on to the Planning and Zoning Commission on February 19. If they approve it, it will head to city council.

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