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Council to vote on new apartments, homes in east Columbia

Council to vote on new apartments in...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Hundreds of new apartments and 10 homes could come to east Columbia.

The city council will decide Tuesday whether or not to approve re-zoning 43 acres of land near Highway 63 and Stadium Boulevard. The Kelly Farms subdivision would include 384 one and two-bedroom apartments, totaling 524 beds. Ten single-family homes would also be built on the north end of the property, near Timberhill Road. City staff has said the apartments would be less "student-centric" than previous apartment proposals in the area.

The council rejected Charles and Rebecca Lamb's most recent request to re-zone in 2015. New York-based Park 7 Group wanted to build an 849-bed apartment complex there, which was rejected in a 6-1 vote of the city council.

Residents in the Shepard Hills neighborhood, just north of the proposed site for Kelly Farms, said the current plan is an improvement from the Park 7 Group's idea. Katie Kane told ABC 17 News it was less dense and would be operated by a company that already owns several similar operations in town, such as Kelly's Ridge. She fears developers are taking too much space away from her neighborhood and the new subdivision, resulting in the loss of considerable green space.

Several people of that neighborhood asked developers to "disguise" the road connection of Cinnamon Hill Lane - a dead-end road that curls alongside Highway 63 - to Timberhill Road. Two roads make up the entire neighborhood, without shoulders, sidewalks or striped lines. Increased traffic on those roads could cause serious traffic concerns, they said, from people trying to get north to Broadway.

"There's a very steep, sharp curve at the bottom," Kane said. "If there were, let's say, 300 cars a day going down there, that would be an awful lot on that little, tiny road that was built to withstand anything except the traffic from 14 homes."

The space around the neighborhood is currently zoned for agricultural use. Kane said it's one of the last few "urban forests" in the area, giving it a unique character that she fears could be diminished without the proper "buffer" between the two developments.

"The more we sanitize neighborhoods and make them look alike, the more we get away from what makes Columbia unique," Kane said.

The Columbia City Council is also set to consider two controversial development plans. Windsor Townhomes, LLC is seeking to combine several lots on Windsor Street for a nine-unit apartment building. The council will also discuss Pate-Jones' request to build the Ridgemont Park subdivision. Residents off College Park Drive fear speeding issues will worsen by connecting a road through the new 25-home neighborhood.

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