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Canton Estates Development - 2021

!!! Attend the Columbia City Council Meeting, Monday May 17, 7:00 pm, council chambers at Broadway and 8th. You don't need to speak, but your presence will send a strong signal that the community wants the area protected.

What

Canton Estates Development (CED) proposes 113 houses on 65 acres. The property will require annexation into the City of Columbia, assignment of R1 zoning, and approval of its design plat.

Where

CED is located at the SE corner of Gans and Bearfield Road in southeast Columbia. It is directly north of the Gans Creek Wild area and in the watershed of Gans Creek


Who

Current Owners: William E. Stricker, Summit Medical Supplies
Developer: CAAT, LLC
Engineer:Crockett Engineering Consultants, crockettengineering.com

 

How

A developer and engineer work with city staff to create a plan that meets current regulations (city staff signed off on CED). The plan is evaluated by the Planning and Zoning Commission which looks at the big picture (P & Z voted 7 to 1 against CED). Finally it goes to City Council for a hearing, and two weeks later, a decision.

City Staff - February
P & Z - April 8
Council Hearing - May 3
Council Decision - May 17

Why

Rationales (aside from benefits to the owners, developer, engineer, builders, and realtors) and our responses

1. There is a shortage of housing in Columbia.

2. People like to live next to the park

3. There are already other structures in the watershed that are more intensive (MDC building), what about those?

4. Doesn't someone have the right to develop their land the way they want?

5. Currently there is an incredivle demand for residential housing lots in Columbia, and builders are scrambling to find lots.

6. This development would be worth $600,000 in revenue to Columbia Public Schools, the Boone County Fire Protection District, and the Library, plust millions in future revenue for police, schools, and firefighters.

7. The current A-1 county zoning does not protect the property from livestock runoff.

Why Not

The Gans Creek Wild Area is one of only 12 designated Wild Areas in Missouri.

Gans Creek is one of only 44 Outstanding State Resource Waters in Missouri.

Columbia has itself recognized the importance of these natural resources and invested in them.

This development fits a textbook definition of sprawl.

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What

Canton Estates is a housing development with 113 residential lots and one planned development lot on 65.53 acres. There are also 5 lots dedicated to a future home owners association to be used for greenspace, amenities, signage and/or stormwater management. Homeowners would be responsible for maintaining Best Management Practices (BMPs) for stormwater management. While it is currently in the county and zoned A1 (which would only allow 6 houses on the property) the development is seeking annexation into the City of Columbia.

Preliminary Plat

Below is a preliminary plat of the project as published (download a pdf). Note that north is to the left in this plat. Therefore Rock Bridge Memorial State Park's Gans Wild Area would be off to the right and Columbia's Gans Creek Recreation Area would be above.

Where

The development is located directly north of the eastern section of the Gans Wild Area and west of the city's Gans Creek Recreation Area (from which it is separated by an undeveloped area of land).

In this pair of images, the location of the development in Columbia is displayed on the left. The northwest corner of the development will be at Gans and Bearfield Road, west of US 63 interchange that is near Philips Lake, the MDC offices, and Tolton H.S. Canton Estates houses are shown as yellow dots. Aqua patches are detention basins. Light blue rectangles are existing homes. Although the CED is surrounded by undeveloped property, it's northern edge is contiguous with the city limits, making it eligible for annexation. It is also within the area approved for connection to city sewer.

Who

CAAT, LLC is a Missouri Domestic Limited-Liability Company. Its registered agent is Missouri Corporate Solutions, Inc.

At the public meeting about the Canton Estates organized by the Friends of Rock Bridge MSP, Mr. Rob Hill attended to answer questions and address concerns about the development.

Mr. Hill is the developer of Parkside Estates, which is located at the north west corner of the park along Route K. For that development, Mr. Hill agreed to keep impervious surface at 15% in order to protect water quality in Clear Creek.

During the land clearing part of Parkside Estates development (before final approval of the plat), there was significant and damaging runoff into a tributary of Clear Creek due to a major rain event. (Major rain events are now relatively common). Mr. Hill assured those present that he did not intend for a repeat of the land clearing problems with Parkside. However, he insisted that he could not afford to develop CED at a lower density than that specified in the current plat.

While Mr. Hill is the developer of Parkside Estates, the homes offered for sale are built on lots purchased from his company by a number of builders, Girard Luxury Homes, Pate Jones Custom Construction, all of which promote accessibility to the park "with quiet trails winding through the trees and creeks", and "providing scenic views, walking paths, immense privacy...".

Mr. Hill is a member of the Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.

Crockett Engineering has been in business since 1985. It provides civil engineering, land surveying, structural engineering, and geotechnical engineering and materials testing. Tim Crockett has worked with Mr. Hill on several other projects.

How

The developer began meeting with city staff in February to ensure the design plat met existing city regulations for development. This included protections for steep slopes, mature trees, and streams. After securing approval by city staff, the developer applied for review by the city Planning and Zoning Commission.

At the P & Z Meeting on April 8, the commissioners voted 7 to 1 against annexation, rezoning, and approval of the design plat. Votes against the request reflected opponents concerns about the impacts on the wild area, on Gans Creek and that a development of this intensity in this location was, in effect, sprawl.

The development will be going to City Council for a hearing on May 3. At the hearing, those for and against the proposal will have a chance to speak before council about the development.

The Council will decide whether to approve the annexation, rezoning and plat at its May 17 meeting.

Why

Aside from the benefits that accrue to the land owners, the developer, the engineer, the builders and realtors, these are the arguments offered in favor of approving the development, and our responses.

1. There is a shortage of housing in Columbia

There is no question that there is a housing shortage in Columbia. MidMO Homefinder tracks the monthly supply of single family homes in Boone County, and the supply of houses has been hovering at one month for the last few months. Normally there is a three month’s supply of houses.

The question is whether approving this 65 acre, 113 house development is the only way to solve this problem.

In 2013, Columbia Imagined: The Plan for How We Live and Grow, projected an existing residential capacity of 5,324 acres of vacant residential land in the metro area, 4,684 acres of which were platted or preliminarily platted. The city identified another 5,862 acres of vacant or underbuilt land outside the city limits but within the proposed urban service area. Together these 10,546 acres, which did NOT include CED, meet the Columbia Imagined's most optimistic projections for growth.

There are other factors that may be much more in short supply than land. Not enough developers, builders, skilled workers, raw materials, and capital. There is also the possibility that a significant amount of housing has been withdrawn from the market to serve the short-term rental market since that issue remains unresolved.  Land is not the limiting factor in our housing shortage, and approving this development will not solve it.

2. People want to live next to the park

Of course people want to live next to a park. In fact, this is one of the selling points of builders offering lots in Parkside, on the north west corner of the park, and Clear Creek Estates, nestled between 163 and a section of the park to the east of 163. Girard Luxury Homes offers this selling point for both developments "This community is located minutes from the beautiful Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. This park is loaded with quiet trails winding through the trees and creeks." Pate Jones Custom Construction hi-lights "providing scenic views, walking paths, immense privacy..." for its lots in Parkside Estates.

Who wouldn't want scenic views and immense privacy, both protected forever because the property backs up onto publicly owned park land. But that view and privacy come at the cost of the experience of the Missouri public who owns and uses the park, and who supported taxing themselves four times since 1984 in order to provide free and accessible parks for everyone. Walking the northern loops of the Deer Run Trail brings one face to face with the backsides of houses far north of half a million.

These developments privilege the few and the wealthy at the expense of thousands of park visitors with much more modest means.

3. There are already other structures in the watershed that are more intensive (MDC building), what about those?

First, the Missouri Department of Conservation buildings serve a public purpose, not a private one. This changes it from a tradeoff between private benefit and public detriment to one which balances one public good vs another. Second, because the MDC grounds were deliberately sited between sections of the city's Gans Creek Recreation Area, and there is already a road between it and the Gans, with A2 zoning on the other side of the road, the potential impact of its impervious surface is substantially reduced.

4. Doesn’t someone have the right to develop their land the way they want?

They have the right to develop it at the zoning it was when they purchased the land. They don’t have the right to expect rezoning so they can make more money than they would have with its original zoning. If they purchased the land in anticipation of receiving that right, it was a gamble that they took. The City of Columbia is not obliged to rescue them.

5. Builders are scrambling to find lots.

If builders are scrambling to find lots, they should consider the 4,684 acres already zoned and platted for development. See 1 above.

6. This development would be worth $600,000 in revenue to Columbia Public Schools, the Boone County Fire Protection District, and the Library, plus millions in future revenue for police, schools, and firefighters.

Any development of this size would be worth the same amount in property tax revenue. Plus, depending on its location to exisiting schools and public safety unit, it could be a lot cheaper to serve.

7. The current A-1 zoning does not protect the property from livestock runoff.

While A-1 zoning might not protect the property from livestock runoff, its proximity to existing neighborhoods, schools, and parks will be undesirable for a livestock operation of almost any size. Plus the cost of land so close to the city, and capital costs for setting up an operation that would fit in the 65 acres would likely exceed the return on investment when competing with Class I CAFOs.

Why Not

It is next to a Wild Area

There are only 12 places in the state designated as Wild Areas by the Missouri State Park System. Our system is modeled after the National Wilderness Preservation system, and designated areas are chosen because they appear to be primarily affected by the forces of nature, and because they provide outstanding opportunities for seclusion and unconfined recreation. In addition to the benefits they provide for hikers, they serve as outdoor classrooms for environmental education and as reservoirs of scientic information.

The nearness of so many homes and their residents on the edge of the wild area poses a threat to its wildness. Exterior lights would affect the behavior of bats, night-flying birds, and insects. Careless use of pesticides and fertilizers would, along with increased runoff, harm the animals living in the Gans. The increased traffic, mowers, and blowers would undermine the peace and quiet of the area. Preparation of the land for development would eliminate the existing plant community and make it easier for invasive plants to spread on the developed property and from there into the Wild Area.

As currently planned, Canton Estates would dramatically increase human influence in the wild area.

It is in the watershed of an Outstanding State Resource Water

There are only 44 streams that are Outstanding State Resource Waters in Missouri. These are waters with significant aesthetic, recreational, or scientific value that have been designated outstanding by the Clean Water Commission. Gans Creek in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is one of those 44 streams.

A major concern is the impact on water quality of Gans Creek. Impervious surface (roads, sidewalks, roofs, patios, etc) comprising over 15% of watershed has negative impacts on water quality of streams even with BMPs that are well maintained. Based on developments with similar density, 24% of the area would be impervious surface, things like roads, driveways, and roofs. While this single development does not include the whole Gans watershed, allowing this level of impervious surface here would increase pressure to allow it throughout the watershed.

As currently planned, this development will set the stage for degradation of Gans Creek.

Columbia has already invested significant money and resources in protection of the area

This area is not just important to the state. Columbia has also invested in the protection of Gans Creek and the Wild Area. When it purchased the Crane property for its Southeast Regional Park, the plan of the new park included setting aside the part next to the wild area as a buffer to protect it. 

Other developers have also made adjustments to protect the Clear Creek watershed of the park. Parkside Estates (in the northeast corner of the park) accepted a 15% impervious surface limit on its development in order to protect water quality in Clear Creek. Clear Creek Estates (east of 163 by the first entrance) decided to develop under the Boone County’s more restrictive A2 zoning of one house every 2.5 acres, also to protect Clear Creek.

As currently planned, this development will undermine the wishes of Columbians as expressed in their support of the Gans Creek Recreation Area, and in our community wide planning efforts (Visioning, and Columbia Imagined).

It will contribute to sprawl

Urban sprawl is characterized by 1) low-density single family housing, 2) car dependency even for short trips, 3) a spiraling outward from existing uban centers, 4) leapfrogging patterns of development, 6) strip development, and 6) an undefined edge between urban and rural areas.

The Characteristics, Causes, and Consequences of Sprawling Development Patterns in the United States.

1. Canton Estates' proposed R1 single family housing will consume large percentages of land for impervious surfaces like roads, driveways, roofs, and sidewalks.

2. It has a walkability score of 2. It has a bikeability score of 25, but there are no bikelanes or sidewalks. There is no existing or planned public transit for the area. It will be a car dependent neighborhood. And, because it will increase the number of households at the intersection of Gans and Bearfield by a factor of at least ten, it will dramatically increase traffic on Bearfield going north.

3. It is nearly 3 miles from the nearest grocery or drug store. The elementary school for the area is New Haven, a 50 minute walk or a 20 minute bike ride on Bearfield Road, which is narrow, winds, and has virtually no shoulder on some stretches. The other alternative is Highway 63. Children will have to be driven or bused to school.

4. It leap frogs large swaths of undeveloped land.

5. The parcel reserved for future planned commercial development makes sense if the property were near other neighborhoods, but may just set the stage for future commercial development along Gans Road.

6. Except for Bearfield Road subdivision (an anomaly) and Bristol Lakes (strongly contested), the housing in the area follows rural patterns of development. Allowing more suburban patterns next to the park will blur city/rural boundaries

As currently planned, this development meets most if not all the criteria for sprawl, a direction firmly rejected by Columbia's citizens on numerous occasions.

 

FoRB Goals for Development in the Gans Watershed

Canton Estates should be developed so that total impervious surface is well under 15% (to allow for residents' accessory structures, decks, and patios) and the majority of the development should be on the northern half of the property.  All stormwater runoff should be managed with systems that have a demonstrated ability to allow infiltration as well as control runoff. The city will regularly check and respond promptly to problems with stormwater during and after construction.The HOA should follow the Parkside Article II Statement of Intent Provisions of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Reservations, and Restrictions, including requiring native plants for landscaping (except for individual lawns), planting native trees on resident's properties, organic lawn care, rain barrels, restricting lot impervious surface to 15%, etc. The HOA should work with park staff to educate and assist homeowners in adopting practices beneficial to maintaining the park's water quality, wildlife, and the wild area's wildness.

Download a pdf of our presentation to Planning & Zoning

1. That there be less than 15% impervious surface for the whole development because of the sensitivity of the area

2. That most of the development should take place on the northern half of the property, well away from the section that drains directly into the Gans

3. That the stormwater is managed to increase infiltration and decrease runoff with systems demonstrated to work consistently with the soils, bedrock, and climate of the area (anticipating changed in extreme rainfall events due to climate change)

4. That the city will be responsive to failures to control stormwater and sediment during and after construction

5. That any Homeowners Association (HOA) will work with the park to educate and assist homeowner in the care of the wild area, including but not limited to restricting planting of non-native and invasive species, requiring use of organic fertilizers and pest control, minimizing outdoor lighting, and keeping pets from straying into the wild area


 

City Council

Columbia City Council - https://www.como.gov/council/

Tips from a council member -

1. Re line, put in the agenda item number (BXXX-21 or R55-21), or if you don't have that handy, the common way we are all referring to it, i.e. Gans Creek Wild Area annexation;

2. Send me an email addressed to me only, so I can easily reply and feel obligated to do so because its just addressed to me; no need to draft custom text, same message, sent separately; 

3. Tell me in the first sentence what you want me to do;  

4. Tell me in the second sentence why this matters; 

5. Tell me how the (rezoning/sale/purchase/which ever posture this has) is irreversible if it is;

6. Tell me how you have invested your time and energy into this; 

7. Send that email no later than Sunday, do not wait till a Council Monday.  Ditto on calling me, call me no later than Sunday, on a Council Monday I can probably best read texts while I am between other tasks and travel.  Sometimes I can return phone calls, but do not count on me to be able to respond effectively on a Council Monday.  

Each of us has a different philosophy related to responsiveness, and you have to take stuff into consideration if you want to catch a particular council member.

------

The City of Columbia is a charter city with a Council-Manager form of government. Under the Council-Manager form of government, the Mayor and City Council establishes policy and law, and the City Manager handles the day-to-day management of the City organization.

The City Council consists of seven (7) members, each of whom shall be elected for staggered terms of three (3) years. One of the seven (7) council members shall be elected by the qualified voters of the city at large and shall be the mayor. The other six (6) council members shall be elected to represent each of the six wards. Council members must be qualified and registered voters of the city. The six (6) council members elected by wards shall be residents and qualified voters of the respective wards from which they are elected. Council members shall hold no other lucrative public office or position in city government during their terms as council members.

City council members are responsive to the concerns of those who live outside their wards and even those who live outside the city. If you are concerned about this issue, be sure and contact your own council member, but you can share your concerns with the other council members and the mayor.

Mayor - Brian Treece - mayor@como.gov
Ward 1 – Pat Fowler – ward1@como.gov - central
Ward 2 – Andrea Waner – ward2@como.gov – northwest
Ward 3 – Karl Skala – ward3@como.gov - northeast
Ward 4 – Ian Thomas – ward4@como.gov – west southwest
Ward 5 – Matt Pitzer – ward5@como.gov – southwest
Ward 6 – Betsy Peters – ward6@como.gov - southeast

Ward Map - https://www.como.gov/maps/wards/

Planning and Zoning Commission

Prepares and submits a comprehensive development plan for adoption by the City Council; makes recommendations for interpretation of the plans; acts as a zoning commission; prepares and recommends rules controlling subdivision of land; recommends approval or disapproval of plats for land subdivision; and recommends legislation to further City planning. Members of this nine member commission must be qualified voters and residents of the City at least one year immediately prior to appointment and cannot hold any other office or position in City administration. The length of terms is four years, with openings occurring in May.

Members & Terms:

 

Establishing Legislation:

Sec. 29-6.1(b) Planning and zoning commission (P&Z). 

Continued existence, membership, and qualifications, attendance.

  1. The city planning and zoning commission ("commission") established prior to the effective date of this chapter shall continue in existence.

  2. The commission shall consist of nine (9) members appointed by the council for staggered terms of four (4) years. All members shall be appointed as provided for in this article for terms beginning on the first day of June. Six (6) members of the commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

  3. The members of the commission shall be qualified voters, residents of the city at least one year immediately prior to the date of their appointment, and shall hold no other office or position in the city administration. Appointments to fill vacancies shall be for unexpired terms only. All members shall serve without pay.

  4. The chair of the commission is authorized to excuse any member from attendance at a commission meeting; provided, that the member requested to be excused before the meeting. Any member who is absent, without being excused, from three (3) regular meetings in any twelve-month period shall automatically forfeit their office. Furthermore, any member who has a combination of five (5) or more excused or unexcused absences from regular meetings within any twelve-month period shall automatically forfeit their office. It shall be the duty of the chair to promptly notify the council of the vacancy.

Powers and duties. The commission shall:

  1. Prepare and submit to the council for its adoption a comprehensive plan for the physical development of the city and uses of land in the city. The plan may include the general location and character of residential, commercial, mixed use, industrial and other areas, the general location, character and extent of streets, bridges, parks, waterways and other public ways, grounds, and spaces, together with the general location of public buildings and other public property, public utilities, and the extent and location of any public housing or slum clearance projects.

  2. Make recommendations in connection with the execution and detailed interpretation of the comprehensive plan

  3. Act as a zoning commission, in accordance with the provisions of present or future state zoning enabling acts.

  4. Prepare and recommend to the council rules controlling the subdivision of land.

  5. Make recommendations regarding the approval or disapproval of plats for land subdivision. All such plats shall be referred to the commission before the council takes any action. Failure of the commission to act within sixty (60) days shall be deemed a recommendation for approval.

  6. Recommend to the council such amendments or revisions to this chapter as the commission shall deem necessary or desirable for the promotion of the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the inhabitants of the city. Such provisions may include regulations as to the location, width, height, and bulk of buildings; the size of yards, courts, and other open spaces surrounding buildings; and the use of buildings and land. The commission shall hear applications for amendments, modifications or revisions of this chapter and shall forward such applications to the council with its recommendations on the application. The recommendations of the commission shall not be binding upon the council, which may approve or disapprove the commission's findings; however, no plan or ordinance related to zoning, nor any modification, amendment or revision of such a plan or ordinance, shall be finally considered by the council unless it has been first submitted to the commission for its examination and recommendation.

  7. Recommend from time to time any other legislation which may be desirable to further the purposes of city planning.

  8. Make such reports to the council as it may deem proper or as required by the council.

  9. Assume any other powers and perform any other duties as are provided for by the Charter of the city or by council action.

    Adopt rules for the conduct of its business that are consistent with the purposes of the commission and the requirements of this chapter, which shall be approved by council ordinance.

Newspapers

Tribune – letters to the editor - https://www.columbiatribune.com/story/opinion/letters/2020/10/16/columbia-daily-tribune-welcomes-letters-editor/3680630001/
send to editor@columbiatribune.com
include name, city of residence, contact phone number
letters 300 words or less
guest columns 800 words
exclusive to the Tribune

 

Missourian – letters to the editor –
https://www.columbiamissourian.com/site/forms/online_services/letter_to_the_editor/
submission page for pasting in letter
letters 250 words
columns 700 words

News Stories

Developer proposes 113-home subdivision bodering Gans Creek Wild Area - Missourian April 1, 2021

City staff supports zoning for Canton Estates, opposes neighborhood's design plans - Missourian April 5, 2021