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UPDATE: Commission delays controversial west Columbia rezoning

UPDATE, 9:23 p.m.: The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission tabled a vote on to rezone property on Savoy Drive after a request to table the issue to the next meeting.

The commission voted 5-2 in favor of the request, with commissioners Tootie Burns and Michael MacMann voting against it.

Planning director Pat Zenner revealed the request to table at the beginning of the meeting Thursday night, leading to several groans from the more than hundred people gathered at City Hall. Commissioners said it was the first time they were aware of any request to table the project.

The commission is set to reconsider the plan on June 22.

Representatives of two nearby homeowners associations opposed the delay, hoping to get the commission to reject the rezoning request at the meeting. Neither a representative of Crockett Engineering nor the Teeples were present to talk about the plan or the tabling request.

Rick Wise, who lives on nearby Fritz Court, said the tabling leaves a “sour taste” in his mouth on the process. He said many people in the neighborhood took time out of their night to share their opinion on the rezoning, while the applicants didn’t even show up.

Residents said they’re still unsure just what is planned for the land. The request is just to rezone the land, but Wise said he is concerned about what would be possible if given the multi-family zoning designation. The increased traffic and activity would hurt the quiet character of the area, which drew him there in the first place.

“A lot of us sold our homes, moved here with the intent on retiring here, living there, and that would become our children’s inheritance,” Wise told ABC 17 News. “So to see a threat to that value is something we all take very, very seriously.”

ORIGINAL: The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission will take up a re-zoning request that’s gained opposition from its neighbors.

The commission will meet Thursday to discuss Phil and Erin Teeple’s request to re-zone property in the 4200 block of Savoy Drive, just north of Worley Street. The land would change from a combination of single-family zoning and agricultural zoning to multi-family zoning.

Documents attached to the agenda do not specify for what the land would be used for if re-zoned. Letters sent from concerned residents nearby allude to the possible development of apartments or condominiums there. The lot is at the end of Savoy Drive next to the Vintage Falls neighborhood. The development would connect to Strawn Road, just north of Payson Drive, with a 500-foot driveway.

Many residents feared the increased traffic throughout the neighborhood would lower their property values. Those living in the Villas at Vintage Falls said the area is geared toward people who have retired, and that the new apartments would hurt the quiet character of the area.

Community Development staff recommended the commission reject the re-zoning due to traffic issues. Denser developments are encouraged near larger streets, and staff noted neither Strawn Road nor Savoy Drive would be ideal for traffic to use.

The commission meets at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

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