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Columbia residents considering legal action after commission vote

Columbia residents considering legal action after commission vote

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Some homeowners believe a stipulation in their association contract will stop an office building from being built.

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-2 on Thursday to approve Central Design Group's bid to rezone land on Old Highway 63 near McAlester Street. The company wants to build its new office building there after it buys the land from the nonprofit group Access Arts.

Members of the Hilldelle Village Homeowners Association said a legal covenant in their building restrictions only allows single-family residences in the area west of Old 63. ABC 17 News obtained a copy of the covenant, first approved in 1955. The first restriction allows for "only one building to be used as a single family dwelling with a minimum of 1,000 square feet of floor space" built on a lot.

John Randolph, a Hilldelle Village resident, said he has spoken to an attorney about the situation, and planned to take legal action should the sale continue.

"We bought our homes with this belief, that we were going to be in a restricted, residential subdivision, not a, 'We're going to throw in a commercial building just because the lots are difficult to build on," Randolph said.

Jerry Campbell with Central Design Group said he wants to build the new office to improve safety for his employees. People walking through their current parking lot at Old 63 and Broadway make some of his female employees feel unsafe, he said, and the new location would put them closer to homes and give better security.

Campbell said residents seemed to support his plan in a December meeting.

"They did approve the project with a majority vote, which negates any real legal action, unless they want to sue in contradiction to what that vote was," Campbell said.

The vote taken by Hilldelle residents is another point of contention. Randolph said the vote was one to see if the homeowners association would support the plan and did not waive any legal rights in the covenant.

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