East Campus associations clash at zoning meeting

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COLUMBIA — Representatives from two East Campus housing associations spoke at the Unified Development Code public forum Saturday and found themselves at odds over the proposed zoning.  

"We've been concerned over the years with the change of character in the neighborhood," Betty Wilsona member of the East Campus Neighborhood Association said.

Wilson has lived in the East Campus Neighborhood for the last 50 years and said the increase in student population in the neighborhood has made it a "dormitory area." She said the increase of students has brought an increase in parking issues and loud parties.

Bonnie Zelenak, a member of the East Campus Majority Housing Association, has been a property owner in East Campus for 30 years and said the current zoning is good for the environment and traffic.

"It's good housing for students, it's right across the street from campus. It does lower the carbon footprint of those students who don't have to drive to and from the school," she said.

Zelenak said the East Campus Majority Housing Association wants to maintain the current zoning of the neighborhood.

Wilson said the East Campus Neighborhood Association wants to see zoning laws that would incorporate more family-oriented living properties in the Unified Development Codes. 

Both Zelenak and Wilson agreed increased community policing in East Campus would be a positive change but there has been a lack of communication between the two groups.  

The East Campus Majority Housing Association was presented to the Columbia City Council in January and created due to a rift between landlords and the original association. 

The proposed Unified Development Codes are still under debate and any amendments are yet to be made. 

Under the proposed codes, any new construction or re-construction in East Campus would be subject to new regulations including height and width of the building.

Betsy Peters, the Ward 6 City Councilwoman and the representative for East Campus, was not available to comment prior to this story's publication. 

The two associations will continue to voice their positions at both the Monday, March 6 city council meeting and the Monday, March 20 city council meeting where two hours have been allotted to public comment on zoning.