Affordable Housing Development Moves Forward

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COLUMBIA - The affordable housing development Ridgeway Cottages still hasn't broken ground, but the city announced Wednesday plans to move forward with the project.

The Columbia City Council approved the housing development in 2009 and later approved a needed sewer project in 2011. In 2011, the city agreed to pay the $15,000 needed to construct the sewer line under the proposed Ridgeway Cottages property if developer Ahmir Ziv was able to secure funding for the development.

The sewer project consists of extending 60 linear feet of sewer main to serve proposed residential buildings at 315, 317 and 319 Ridgeway Ave.

Ziv said his dealings with the the city have been far from easy and have caused the three year delay in construction .

"Working with the city has been hard, borderline absurd, " said Ziv. "I hit a wall left and right".

City Planner Steve Macintyre said the affordable housing development is unusual for the area and one of a kind for Columbia. Macintyre said initially, the Community Development Commission denied the development's original design and recommended the development not be approved.  He said nearby residents also raised concerns surrounding the layout of the development when the development was approved.

The Columbia City Council later approved the project 7-0. It said the benefits of creating affordable housing outweigh the design defects. 

Steven Sapp, public information specialist for Columbia, said city dollars are being used to fund the sewer project. The city is holding a public meeting July 8 to address any concerns people may have.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Columbia City Hall.  

Ziv said he was unaware the meeting was scheduled but is excited to finally see progress.

"I plan to build, and I am," said Ziv.

He said if things continue to move forward, he plans on completing the development within the next year.