"SUSPICION AND OPPOSITION": Councilman Thomas "unhappy" with city manager, student apartment process
Thomas supports one of three projects
COLUMBIA, Mo 3/17/14 (Beat Byte) -- Urging long-overdue attention to long-term planning and condemning the city manager's office for poor communications, 4th Ward Columbia City Councilman Ian Thomas has come out swinging about three student apartment projects Council members will hear public testimony about Monday night.
"I am unhappy about another failure of effective communications from City staff," Thomas writes in a brief statement of his position. "The frenzied rush to schedule noon-time meetings and squeeze the process into the letter (but not the spirit) of the law, along with the absence of clear explanations to the public...has created deep suspicion and opposition."
City Hall has just started to revamp its controversial C-2 zoning code, beloved by student apartment developers for its opaque guidelines and "loopholes you can drive a semi-truck through," Historic Preservation and Downtown Leadership Commissioner Brian Treece told the Council last year.
The first agreement before the City Council tonight will approve Austin, Tx-based American Campus Communities' 728-unit student apartment complex along Providence Road, Turner Avenue, and Fifth Streets, to open August 2016.
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Mr. Thomas said he supports Collegiate Housing Partners' (CHP) project, in part because they "worked collaboratively with the community in canceling plans to develop the Niedermeyer site and helped find a new owner." The project has also received widespread Planning and Zoning Commission, City Council, and neighborhood support.
"But I do not feel the same about the other two projects," Thomas explains, most notably because neither project encourages enough mass transit and pedestrian transportation. "My plan at present (but I may learn something new) is to support CHP and not the other two."
Ian Thomas position statement on three new student apartment projects
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