Zoning changes could create new housing in north Columbia

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COLUMBIA – A 50-acre lot of overgrown weeds and scattered garbage could soon be home to hundreds of families and a new subdivision if the City of Columbia agrees to change local zoning regulations.

“It’s a good idea, said said Larry Coffer, a homeowner who lives on the west side of Brown Station Road. "Housing itself in Columbia is very high, and a lot of people who can’t afford it and there are a lot of people out there who need it.”

Columbia’s Planning and Zoning Commission met Tuesday with local engineers to discuss rezoning the land east of Brown Station Road at US 63. Steve MacIntyre, senior planner for the City of Columbia said the rezoning would allow the land to go from a Controlled Industrial District (M-C) to a One-Family Dwelling District (R-1). 

“The R-1 zoning district is a district that accommodates single family homes. If the zoning is approved, then we should expect a preliminary plat filed. That would accommodate the development of single family homes,” MacIntyre said. 

Third Ward City Councilman Karl Skala said he believed the location could be a good space for new houses. He said it would come down to the details, but it's too soon to know those.

Bill View, executive director for Habitat for Humanity in Columbia, confirmed to KOMU that his organization is trying to change the zoning to build affordable housing.

Coffer said that could help with homelessness in Columbia.

“It’s got to. I was a homeless veteran for a little while and we need it. We really do. I know so many people who are just stuck, it's rough, and I think this could help,” Coffer said.

MacIntyre said the request to change the zoning district is on the Planning and Zoning Commission’s meeting agenda on Jan. 19. The City Council is expected to make its final decision on Mar. 6.