Residents say new subdivision will change their whole world

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council will vote on whether a 45-acre property should become Westbury Village, a new commercial and residential property resented by some people who live near it. It's located at the intersection of Scott Boulevard and Smith Drive.

Christy Bennett said her neighborhood, nearby the proposed complex is quiet, for now. Her fear of more traffic and construction is making her think about making a change.

“I’ve thought about selling. I didn’t want too,” Bennett said. We just did a lot of remodeling and I don’t really want to move, but we’re going to wait to see how it would look.”

Bennett isn’t alone. Carl Semkiw has lived in Columbia for 11 years, and is now thinking about moving too.

"The fact is us and a lot of other people have talked about leaving because of this, said Semkiw.  “It will change our whole world. It will change the neighborhood beyond anything we’d probably comprehend.”

Westbury Village describes itself online as “Columbia’s new village market development promoting walkability, recreation, shops and eateries.”

Caleb Colbert, the lawyer representing THM Construction, argues the proposed zoning change will create something for everyone.

"We have a lot buyer that is going to supply senior housing," said Colbet. We're looking at adding coffee shops, we're looking at adding retail, like a grocery store and yes, we're looking to add a convenience store and gas station around the property."

The council will also hold its second discussion, and possibly a vote, on proposed changes to sidewalk cafes within the downtown area.

Those changes would require cafes to have an annual “sidewalk cafe license”, end advertising within the cafe area and continue to provide an unobstructed 60-inch pathway for people to walk through.  

The change would also require restaurants and bars serving alcoholic beverages to have barriers, but gives them more flexibility in the choice of materials and colors.

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