Housing Complex Approved Despite TIF Denial

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council met Friday morning to discuss how the city can move forward with development after the council voted down a controversial tax increment financing (TIF) plan.

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City Manager Mike Matthes and utility department directors froze downtown development at the end of last year, saying the infrastructure could not support more residents in the area.  

Although the freeze is still in place, the Columbia Planning and Zoning commission voted Thursday night to rezone land near the MU Campus to allow a developer to build a new student housing complex.

"We were instructed by staff that we were to consider this request as a land use issue only," commissioner Stephen Reichlin said. "That was basically what the planning and zoning commissions charge is, to deal with zoning issues regardless of what other items may have an affect on its success."

City council members said they turned down the TIF because of possible issues with the aging city sewage system as well as issues with having enough power for new buildings like American Campus Communities development plans.

American Campus Communities plans to build a five story 718 bed student complex on the corner on the east of Providence Rd. north of Turner Ave. The complex has plans to build a parking garage with 546 spaces - which is more than required by the city.

The Planning and Zoning commission warned American Campus Communities it would run into issues with the city, but the company wanted to get the property zoned anyway.