May
20

Five Points Building Height to be Decided

By

Will it be six stories or four?

City Council will decide Wednesday whether to approve $5.8 million worth of parking spaces — and two additional floors — for Five Points project

May 20, 2008

By Jeff Wilkinson – The State

View Larger Map Columbia City Council on Wednesday is expected to cast a final vote on a contract adding $5.8 million worth of public parking to a $20 million, six-story, retail and condo project planned for Five Points.

Although council has voted several times to approve various aspects of the 5 Points South project, Wednesday’s vote is far from certain due to intense lobbying on both sides of the issue.

Proponents, including the Five Points Association merchants group, say the parking is needed and should go into the building, which is planned for the old Kenny’s Auto site between Blossom and Devine streets at Saluda Avenue.

Opponents, among them some powerful neighborhood groups led by the Wales Garden Neighborhood Association, say the building is too tall for the mostly two-story urban village near USC.

Council more than a year ago voted unanimously to explore a parking deal with the developers. And both the planning commission and the council last year approved the building’s height.

In March, council voted 6-1 to negotiate a contract with developers Ron Swinson and Stan Harpe. The agreement calls for the city to spend $1 million on air rights and up to $4.8 million to build the 201 parking spaces on the second and third floors.

But intense lobbying by the project’s opponents have left some council members weary of the controversy and wary of the political fallout of a “yes” vote.

Anne Sinclair, who represents that area of Five Points and has pushed for more public parking, said she is almost certainly a “yes” vote “if the contract is solid.”

ARTICLE SHORTENED DUE TO LENGTH….

LINK TO ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.thestate.com/local/story/410196.html

BLOG NOTE:
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If you live in Columbia, I would like to ask that you contact members of City Council and urge them to “VOTE YES” tomorrow regarding the Five Points South Development. Ron Swinson and Stan Harpe are excellent developers, and have always taken great pride in proper planning of their developments. The City Council members’ contact information can be found here:
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http://www.columbiasc.net/index.php?pageid=37
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MBD

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