COLUMBIA, 5/1/11 (Beat Byte) -- Several high stakes rezoning requests that will mostly affect North Central Columbia and the East Campus neighborhoods are headed to the Columbia City Council Monday night.
Tom's Imports car kingpin Tom Kardon is seeking to rezone an area at the end of Coats Street in North Central Columbia from residential to commercial. Kardon previously bought and tore down the former residence of journalist and longtime community advocate Betty Cook Rottmann.
Neighborhood association leaders have expressed concern about his future plans for the site, directly adjacent to several single family residences. But no neighborhood opposition has emerged, and the Planning and Zoning Commission voted 7-0 to approve a staff recommendation denying the zoning request.*
Downtown developer and historic preservationist John Ott seeks to rezone a residential strip along 1205 East Ash Street to commercial, just down from Orr Street Studios and near Hubbell Street. No public opposition has emerged and the Planning and Zoning Commission voted 7-0 to approve.
Far more controversial, an evenly split Planning and Zoning decision (4-4) follows a request to rezone single family properties to multi-family east of Lee Street on the north side of Bouchelle Avenue in East Campus. The applicant ostensibly seeks the rezoning to accomodate a "fourth tenant" in an existing property "without the opportunity for further redevelopment," a staff report reads. City staff opposed the move, as have several neighbors and the neighborhood association, led by president Bonnie Bourne.
A stack of letters from East Campus neighbors included with the staff report followed Bourne's request the zoning be denied. Typical among them:
"This could be a turning point for the East Campus Neighborhood," wrote College Avenue resident Kathryn Love. "I encourage you to uphold the terms of the East Campus Urban Conservation Overlay and deny the request to add more occupants to the homes on Bouchelle Avenue."
"Please deny the request," wrote attorney Betty Wilson, whose husband Clyde -- a notable city leader -- passed away last year. "The proposed rezoning on Bouchelle threatens an unreasonable intrusion...and adds to the creeping erosion of the quality of single family life in East Campus."
The staff report also contains a detailed history of East Campus the Historic Preservation Commission may want to see, and numerous photographs that reflect varying quality of life levels, largely dependent on the location of rental housing.
*ERRATA: Bold area highlights lopped off verbiage.