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Friday, March 24, 2017

How the housing freeze will affect developments near MU

The administrative delay on approving building permits near campus will be in effect until Dec. 1.

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Jessi Dodge/Senior Staff Photographer

An administrative delay on processing building permits for multifamily housing is in effect for much of downtown and neighborhoods bordering MU campus until Dec. 1.

The housing freeze, passed by City Council on May 6, applies to land within a mile radius of an “area bounded on the north by Elm Street, the west by Providence Road, the south by Stadium Drive and the east by Hitt Street.”

The ordinance cites MU’s steep drop in enrollment and the recent boom in student housing developments as reasons for the freeze, as well as concerns about the area’s already strained infrastructure. It also stated that historical properties and single-family homes near MU and downtown were being “eroded” by the new student housing and multifamily structures.

On Monday, the council approved a Parking and Traffic Management Task Force, a group of 15 community members, including an MU student appointed by the Missouri Students Association and a representative of the university appointed by the administration. MSA and administration have not yet selected their representatives.

Several members of the council have expressed interest in using the time during the freeze to evaluate downtown parking, which plays into the six-month tenure of the task force. Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas proposed extending the task force’s time to 12 months, but the motion was defeated. Thomas originally requested the task force at the May 2 council meeting.

The task force will evaluate the new parking regulations being considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission as the commission drafts a new zoning code for the city and also examine how other cities handle traffic downtown.

The housing freeze affects several housing developments in progress, but most demolitions will not be affected, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.

The demolition of the house at 608 McBaine Ave. was temporarily held up by the freeze, but on Monday, the council voted to make an exception to the ordinance to allow that permit.

Trittenbach Development spokesman Jack Cardetti said that neither of the projects the company has in the area will be affected by the freeze. One, a 261-bed apartment building at Sixth and Elm — the former site of Bengals Bar and Grill — is already in the permit process and is set to open in August 2017. The other, a partnership with Mizzou Hillel, will be delayed for a year.

Hillel Director Jeanne Snodgrass told The Maneater in May that the decision to postpone the reconstruction of the Jewish student center came from delays in the city’s rezoning process and additional concerns raised in Hillel board meetings. She did not cite the then-potential housing freeze nor the drop in MU enrollment as factors.

A housing development on Windsor Street that would have three- or four-bedroom apartments will be affected by the freeze, property owner Mark Stevenson told the Columbia Daily Tribune in early May.

Cardetti said the city’s freeze will not affect Trittenbach’s future developments in Columbia because the developers are local and own and operate properties for the long-term. He said that developers outside of Columbia may feel the effects more.

“A one-year or two-year fluctuation in the market has less effect on us, frankly,” Cardetti said. “It’s going to have more of an impact on outside developers who come into the market, instantly build then instantly try to slip their properties.”

Cardetti gave the Opus Group as an example of a developer that buys, builds and quickly sells its properties. Opus recently put its District Flats apartments on the market, only nine months after it finished construction, according to the Columbia Missourian.

The Opus Group does not currently have plans to develop in the area with the housing freeze.

Edited by Nancy Coleman | ncoleman@themaneater.com

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