Commission Denies Trailer Park Rezoning Request
COLUMBIA - The city's planning and zoning commission unanimously denied Regency of Missouri Inc's rezoning request of the Regency Mobile Home Park, on Thursday night. The request would force around 200 residents out of the trailer park so approximately 1,000 students could move into a new housing development.
The developer, Aspen Heights out of Austin, wants to put in a maximum of 375 units similar to the Cottages on the nearly 40 acre lot. The commission claims it didn't deny the request because of social issues, but instead its concern of increased traffic and density. It argued there would be too many units in the space provided.
Concerned residents and community members filled the room to speak out on the issue. Public comment lasted around an hour. Many residents of the mobile home park are low income, elderly and/or disabled. Those who spoke, said they were worried about not being able to pay the thousands of dollars it costs to move a mobile home. Many also argued, they simply don't want to have to pack-up and leave their homes. By law, the residents must be given an 120-day notice before they have to move.
Some students from MU also joined in on the conversation against the request, and said they believe housing for students shouldn't replace permanent Columbia residents' homes.
A couple Regency Mobile Home residents were in tears Thursday, happy about the commission's vote. But the residents' battle doesn't end here. The rezoning request still moves on to the city council, despite the commission's decision. The city will vote on the request at a meeting October 17.
Charlie Vatterott, with Aspen Heights, said the development will work on coming up with more ways to ease the burden off residents that would be forced to move from the mobile home. For example, Vatterott mentioned contacting other trailer parks to come up with some sort of deal for a cheaper move.
Vatterott said he hopes to start building May 1, 2013, and open for move-ins in Aug. 2013.