Residents discuss possible development in south Columbia

Possible development in south Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Matt Kelly, whose family owns several properties in Columbia, is looking at adding two buildings to an empty lot in south Columbia. Kelly wants to rezone 1.45 acres off of Green Meadows to build two buildings that would be businesses on bottom and apartments on top. 

Engineers from A Civil Group explained the project to residents in the area at a meeting Tuesday. 

Under the current plans, the buildings would not allow for any retail businesses to utilize the space. It would instead be businesses like financial services, doctor's offices or other similar services. The apartments above the businesses would be single bedroom units. There are other buildings in Columbia that have similar layouts. 

Several residents did have concerns about the proposed project. The main issue raised was traffic since the area does experience backups at certain times of the day. 

Aaron McMorris was one of the first to bring up the issue. 

"Any period during rush hours, including the time that you proposed the four to six o'clock p.m., you might as well just avoid this area," he said. 

Brenda Blankenship also brought up the issue of traffic.

"There's a four-way stop people cut through that way to not have to stay in that line and then it gets backed up not to mention now we've got houses on that circle and they're backing up into that. There's very little sidewalk and the kids have to walk to school," she said.

Under the current plans, the driveways for the businesses and apartments would be on Green Meadows Circle. Several residents after the meeting said they were not against the project, but they felt there was no good answer for how to avoid further traffic impacts. 

The engineers said they would consider moving the driveways and would see what that could look like. 

The project is still in the very preliminary stages. Kelly and engineers have not discussed the project with the city yet because they wanted to meet with residents and hear their concerns first. Jay Gebhardt from A Civil Group said once discussions with the city move forward, there will be a traffic study to examine the impact the project would have. 

Residents said they were interested in keeping in contact with the engineers about the project.

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