Columbia Delays Vote on Five Point Parking Garage


Council to delay vote on parking project
City to make final decision May 21 after public hearing

May 6, 2008

By Jeff Wilkinson – The State

Columbia City Council is expected to put off for two weeks a vote to include $5.8 million in public parking in a six-story retail and condo project in Five Points.

Instead of voting Wednesday, council will conduct a public hearing on the parking contract with 5 Points South developers Stan Harpe and Ron Swinson.

A final vote now will be held at council’s May 21 meeting. It had been planned for Wednesday, but the date was in error in a local publication and the city wanted to avoid any confusion, council member Anne Sinclair said.

“And I think there is much to be said for having additional feedback on the contract,” said Sinclair, who represents the section of Five Points where the project is to be built.

The building would be located in a high-profile block bounded by Saluda and Santee avenues and Blossom and Devine streets.

Opponents of the project say it is too tall for the mostly two-story urban village near USC. But present zoning allows the height, and the Planning Commission and City Council have signed off on it.

Opponents have questioned a number of other issues, including the per-space cost of the garage, the contract provisions and the presence of soil contaminates.

City officials “just didn’t do their homework,” said Andrew Marion, the new president of the Wales Garden Neighborhood Association, which has led opposition to the project. “We need a sanity check to see if it makes financial or strategic sense for the city.”



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