The Downtown Columbia Leadership Council wants more information on the city’s “science” behind approving new construction.
Commissioner Brent Gardner, a realtor in Columbia, said he wanted to know the “formula” Columbia Public Works or the city’s development department used when faced with a new development for downtown. The Columbia City Council approved a “re-platting” at the northeast corner of Ninth and Locust Streets for an anticipated ten-story apartment complex from California-based Fields Holdings, LLC. Director of Development Tim Teddy said Tuesday his office still had not received plans from Fields for review, but expected it “may” require some sewer improvements there.
Gardner said he wanted to know what thresholds existed when the city reviewed new construction plans to decide when infrastructure improvements were necessary, such as electric and water consumption.
“It should be a formula,” Gardner said. “It shouldn’t be that hard to come up with. One toilet equals what increase in capacity?”
Several residential projects have built and opened in the last several years in downtown Columbia. Members of the group, including Gardner, remain puzzled after City Manager Mike Matthes’ comment in late 2013 that development downtown needed to wait for infrastructure to catch up. Since then, Gardner said the city’s approval process for these complexes remains a mystery to him and the group, whose mission is to provide insight for the city council on issues downtown.
“We may not have the capacity to add 200 bed apartments, 300 bed apartment, 400 bed apartment, one right after the next,” Gardner said. “Who is watching that and what is that formula?”