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Boone County residents fear traffic, flooding with proposed neighborhood

Some Boone County residents fear a new subdivision may compromise safety if the Columbia City Council annexes the land for it.

The council is set to consider the annexation north of Gillespie Bridge Road and Coats Lane, west of Columbia, at its meeting next Monday. The council pushed back the decision in November.

Fred Overton Development wants to build a 33-home subdivision on 17 acres of land, as part of a 54-acre total annexation into the city. The “Perche Ridge” subdivision would have one way in and out of the neighborhood, connecting to Gillespie Bridge Road with a new, northern road.

The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved the change of zoning to allow residential development, but recommended the council reject the neighborhood plan as it was presented. Commissioners, and some residents, cited concerns over frequent flooding in the area near the Perche Creek. City staff said floodwaters closed the road 23 times since 2009.

Steve Callis lives less than a mile south of the proposed neighborhood. He tells ABC 17 News that turning onto Gillespie Bridge Road can be difficult, given the steep hill to the west of Coats Lane and the 50 mile per hour speed limit. Potential residents of the Perche Creek subdivision would have to turn left to get into Columbia, which Callis said concerned him.

“Someone coming from the top of the hill would be even more likely to come up on your bumper,” Callis said.

A pedestrian was killed on Nov. 22 walking along Gillespie Bridge Road, near Route UU, west of the proposed development. Callis said he did not expect the possible neighborhood to worsen pedestrian traffic, given its rarity in the area, but did fear the increased potential for car crashes.

Tim Crockett, the engineer working on Perche Ridge, told the commission in September that homes would be built in a way that limited their potential of flooding.

Callis said a flooded Gillespie Bridge Road means taking the detour further west – Route UU, then to Interstate 70. This detour, however, can put a strain on emergency responses.

“If you’re trying to get into town to work, play or shop, that’s an inconvenience,” Callis said. “But if you’re waiting on first-responders, that could be life-threatening, because the travel time is doubled or tripled.”

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