Once again, controversy surrounds the development of Aspen Heights. The student living complex is being built at the location of the old Regency Mobile Home Park.
Aspen Heights broke ground earlier this year. But, Osage Group Sierra Club Conservation Chair Ken Midkiff says the company violated a city ordinance. He says after a recent visit to the site, he believes the Aspen Heights developer, Crockett Development, did not preserve 25 percent of native trees.
Crockett Development did not want to comment, but did say they have a tree preservation plan that was approved by the City of Columbia earlier this year. Midkiff has filed a request for a stop work order with the City of Columbia’s Community Development.
“The city was in error in signing off on that plan," Midkiff says.
Columbia City Arborist Chad Herwald says the city is reviewing the case. If the stop work order is approved, Midkiff says the developers must remedy the situation.
“To mitigate this would be to plant some more trees of course it would be 50 or 60 years before they would achieve the same diameter of rest height as the trees that were destroyed, but at least it would be a start,” Herwald says.
Midkiff says the city ordinance was originally put in place to help ensure developers were not harming wildlife habitat and to resolve issues of storm water runoff.