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City council denies rezoning request for restaurant

Staff Report //May 16, 2018//

City council denies rezoning request for restaurant

Staff Report //May 16, 2018//

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Columbia City Council unanimously denied a rezoning request for 1908 Blossom St. by Lambert Architecture and Construction Services for a proposed Macado’s restaurant.

Columbia would have been the first S.C. location for the chain, which has locations in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Lambert proposed turning the empty land parcel in Five Points, which is zoned for light industrial development, into mixed-used, with project architect Josh Bucher telling the council rezoning the area would create a better development climate. But residents of Wales Garden, a neighborhood near the proposed project, expressed concerns about increased traffic and potential drinking that could accompany a restaurant.

In February, the city’s planning commission recommended denying the rezoning request.

Earlier this year, Zaxby’s received a drive-thru variance to occupy the nearby abandoned Harper’s Restaurant at 700 Harden St., but neighborhood opposition and a lawsuit scuttled that plan.

Also Tuesday, city council deferred a decision on a rezoning request for 1400 Huger St. until its June 5 meeting. Florida developer 908 Group Holdings LLC, which bought the former Richland County magistrate’s court building in October for $4 million, wants to build a 650-bed student housing complex on the Vista property. 

The property would need to be rezoned as light industrial, which allows for private dormitories  the only types of multi-family housing units that can include up to four bedrooms each.

The rezoning request was approved during a Feb. 5 planning commission meeting, but city council must also approve it. The city’s Design/Development Review Commission would then have to approve the site plan and design.

While some have questioned whether more student housing is needed and if such a project is a good fit for the area, Brad Wolfe, director of development for 908 Holdings, said the complex would help provide benefits to surrounding neighborhoods, including improved sidewalks and streetscapes and improvements to the property’s exterior. The complex would also provide full-time, overnight security 365 days a year, Wolfe said, and could lead to a needed connection from Huger Street to Lady Street.  

Vista Guild and Vista Neighborhood Association representatives voiced concerns about the project, including pedestrian safety, inadequate infrastructure and a lack of activity at a student housing complex from May until August.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said further discussion of the project was needed.

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