Controversial Rezoning Issue Passes City Council

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COLUMBIA - Dispite being rejected first time around, a highly debated rezoning issue passed through the Columbia City Council Monday night. The move allows commercial development in a bigger way where Great Hangups Framing sits on the corner of West Broadway and West Boulevard.

The approval specifically changes the property from R-1 Single-Family Dwelling District to C-P, or Planned Business District.

That allows for only certain kinds of business on that corner -- businesses not likely to rile so many neighbors. It encourages development that will be "harmonious with surrounding areas." There has been a business on that corner for more than 80 years -- before Columbia had a zoning plan. 

C-P zoning allows developers to build any professional office or retail shop. However, restaurants are more restricted. The zone allows for small shops like bakeries or coffee shops, but large family restaurants cannot set up shop on the corner. The city worries a larger restaurant would be too loud, and would detract from the neighborhood's character.

Mark Nichols, co-owner of Great Hangups Framing, said he's relieved the council approved his request. Nichols plans to sell the land and pushed to rezone his property to make it more marketable to potential buyers.

"Without the correct commercial zoning, you couldn't do very much to the existing building without that under the existing R-1," he said.

He's been battling with neighborhood critics since his request first went before the city council last October. Residents worried a large commercial zone would cause too much traffic in their neighborhood. Nichols said this type of commercial zone limits specifically what developers can build on the property.

""I mean we're talking barely over half an acre. So you know, it's not big enough for a Walmart or a Walgreens or any big box stores of any kind."

Click here for a complete list of approved and unapproved businesses for C-P zoned areas.