Residents speak out against Columbia development project

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COLUMBIA - A dispute over green space in a Columbia neighborhood sparked a spirited discussion at Thursday night's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Two residents from Northland Drive are concerned about losing a green space filled with trees during construction by the company Manor Homes.

Manor Homes currently owns eight lots near the southwest corner of Northland Drive and Parker Street. Six of the lots are available for the company to build and the remaining two are common lots. The company wants to use the six  lots and the existing infrastructure in the area to create five new single family homes. A representative from Manor Homes said the new houses would be worth around $150,000 and would be one of if not the best places to live in the neighborhood.

The development area is around a group of homes that share a piece of green space, which is split between the owners. The home owners were supposed to receive land deeds for one hundred feet of buffer land between their properties and the new development. One of the two residents who spoke at the meeting said he received the deed, but the other resident has not. She said she has worked to try and obtain the deed, but has been unsuccessful.

 Tim Crockett of Crockett Engineering Consultants, spoke for Manor Homes at the meeting and said the company did not want to disturb the green space buffer. He did say there would be improvements to the sidewalk near the green space.

Development Services Manager Pat Zenner said the issue can be fixed.

"It appeared though from the applicants testimony this evening as well as the applicants engineer, all of the processes are in play right now in order to get a warranty deed created. Therefore being able to resolve the property owners' concern that they haven’t been able to acquire that north hundred feet which will act as the buffer from the adjacent development," Zenner said. 

The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the proposal from Manor Homes with a condition stating the buffer area not be disturbed and the deeds be distributed.

The proposal will have first readings at the Columbia City Council at the end of Sept. The council will have the final decision on the proposal.