The Columbia City Council was scheduled to vote Monday on a rezoning request that would allow a Break Time convenience store to be built at Rock Quarry Road and Grindstone Parkway, but MFA Oil withdrew the request.
MFA Oil withdrew its rezoning plan because neighbors in the area signed a petition against it. Phebe Lamar, an attorney for MFA Oil, said it soon became clear the City Council wouldn’t approve the plan.
Lamar said MFA Oil has done a lot to address the concerns of neighboring residents.
"MFA’s engineers and I all met with the city traffic engineer and other city staff, and there were several traffic improvements that were going to be made if this plan had been put into place," Lamar said.
The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission approved MFA Oil’s plan in September, which prompted the petition. Residents’ concerns included everything from traffic congestion to violent crime.
Aaro Foese, who lives near the rezoning site and grew up on Rock Quarry Road, said MFA Oil didn’t actually respond to neighbors’ concerns.
"They say they did, but they pretty much just came and said what they were going to do," Froese said. "They never really took the advice of what the neighborhood wanted to see happen."
Froese said he opposed the rezoning because he worries about pedestrian safety.
"Unless we have a comprehensive sidewalk plan out there or some way of connecting that foot traffic all throughout, I’m kind of dismayed that the city would even consider it," Froese said.
MFA Oil spokesperson Tom May said the company won’t give up on this store.
"There’s no convenience stores, gas station services along that stretch of Grindstone from Providence all the way to 63 highway, so there’s a definite need for services, and sooner or later that will happen," May said.
May says MFA Oil will regroup and find new solutions to residents’ concerns.