Columbia City Council members amended and approved stricter requirements for a controversial potential housing development near Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.
The tougher ordinances affect the amount of impervious surfaces the new development is allowed to have. Impervious surfaces are surfaces such as streets or sidewalks that reduce the amount of water that soaks into the ground. The changes come on the heels of dozens of water concerns community members voiced about the project.
The subdivision was proposed by a private developer for the area adjacent to the northwest corner of the state park. During more than three hours of discussion at last night’s council meeting, Columbia City Council heard about 35 people speak for and against the development. Columbia residents and park users expressed concerns about the environmental impact that would result from a new neighborhood in the area. The impact of runoff water was the primary concern presented to council members during the lengthy comment period.
“If this project goes forward, it is expected to be one of the densest urban developments to share a boundary with a state park in the state of Missouri,” said Sara Parker Pauley, Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “That means every decision made here has the potential to set a precedent for future development near our state parks or natural areas.”
Once the development company, Parkside Estates, reworks its plans for the property to accommodate the amended ordinances, the city council will vote on approving the entire subdivision.
This story originally aired as part of Business Beat, a weekly program about business and economics in mid-Missouri.