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      Historic Columbia seeks amendments to Bull Street plan

      The Historic Columbia Foundation is asking the mayor and city council to add additional protections to the Bull Street property development agreement.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- The Historic Columbia Foundation is asking the mayor and city council to add additional protections to the Bull Street property development agreement.

      Among their eight recommendations, Historic Columbia Ensor, Bakery and Laundry buildings are added as ??Precedent Structures?? and that any design approvals for precedent structures are reviewed by an independent party to ensure they meet Secretary of Interior standards for historic structures.

      Under the proposed amendment the Ensor, Bakery and Laundry buildings are not fully protected. The developer must give City Council the opportunity to purchase and relocate them if they are not fit into the final design plan before they could be demolished.

      Historic Columbia submitted the suggested amendments to city council and the mayor on Wednesday. You can read Historic Columbia's recommendations here (PDF).

      A packed public hearing for the development agreement was held on July 1. Citizens spoke out both for and against the development.

      Concerned resident, Jim Padgett, asked the Mayor and city council members to schedule another hearing for citizens to gain a better understanding of the project.

      Columbia City Councilman and candidate for Mayor, Moe Baddourah agreed saying, "I propose that we push back the public hearing until a time when more people will be able to attend. Public hearings serve an important purpose, and that purpose is undermined when such hearings are held in a manner that inhibits maximum citizen participation," Baddourah said.

      However, the second hearing for the redevelopment project will take place on July 9th at 2 p.m. where council could vote for final approval of the agreement.

      According to the Greater Columbia Chamber Of Commerce the development project, which is expected to take 20 years to complete, is expected to create over 11,000 new jobs and bring in more than $20 million a year for local government and schools.

      More information about the economic impact of the Bull Street property can be found here (PDF).

      The city has published Bull Street Development Agreement Highlights (PDF), a copy of the draft agreement (PDF), and Freqently Asked Questions (PDF) about the agreement.