Townhomes opposed by Columbia neighborhood will move forward anyway

A new townhouse project long opposed by neighbors will move ahead, after months of back-and-forth with residents and planning officials.

Developer Lafaye Custom Homes will build 31 townhomes on a 1.8-acre lot at the corner of Overbrook Drive and Suber Street in the South Kilbourne Neighbhorhood.

Residents have resisted the project. Some have said it doesn’t fit “the character” of the neighborhood, while others raised worries that the area infrastructure wouldn’t be able to handle dozens of new homes.

In April, members of Columbia’s Planning Commission asked developer Wyman Bowers to reduce the number of homes in the project proposal, calling the initial plan “very tight.”

Bowers returned Thursday with a revised site plan, cutting the new subdivision from 34 to 31 homes.

The Planning Commission gave the project unanimous approval Thursday.

Still, residents reiterated their concerns with the project.

At previous meetings, neighbors shared concerns that the new homes will increase traffic in a residential corridor. Residents also worry about the loss of a house built in 1946 that currently sits on the property.

Some residents also questioned if aging water and sewer infrastructure in the area can support more than 30 new homes.

Pastor Jeff Scott at Calvary Baptist Church, located across the street from the proposed townhomes, said at one point last November, a water line broke that made the road in front of the church impassable for three weeks.

Many of the same concerns were again shared Thursday.

In response to the public infrastructure concerns, Bowers said he doesn’t have control over making those repairs, but he believes the added development will put more attention on those needs.

The project also includes 64 parking spaces, which Bowers said is more than the required amount.

When finished, the townhome project will join other similar multi-unit housing developments in the area, including a row of townhomes across the street at 3845 Overbrook Drive and an apartment complex next door called Concord Oaks.