Rezoning being sought for 30-home project Acreage adjoins developer's yard WEST COLUMBIA


Residents who say "not in my backyard" to new developments often confront developers with the question, "Would you live next to one of your developments?"

For Paul Revelle, it's an easy question.

Mr. Revelle is seeking a rezoning to allow construction of up to 30 homes on about 14 acres in the Clemens Crossing area -- adjoining his own back yard.

Mr. Revelle has lived in a house on Cardinal Lane for 12 years and has been a developer for the last seven. His projects include Hickory Woods off Jerry's Drive, next to Hawthorn, and Seneca Farms, just south of Seneca Drive in Allview.

The property adjoining his back property line "fits the profile of what I think I do well. That is, I identify . . . properties in mature neighborhoods that are served by public utilities and develop them. It happens that this one's right behind me."

Mr. Revelle said the proximity to his home has made him more personally involved.

"I think the way I'm going about it indicates that I feel differently about it. I'm paying a personal visit to every one of my neighbors and every one of the properties that adjoin [the site]."

What he has in mind for site on the south side of Owen Brown Road would be similar to the Clemens West neighborhood on the other side of the Hickory Ridge Village Center. Clemens West has homes ranging in price from the just over $200,000 to just under $300,000.

If the Zoning Board approves Mr. Revelle's request for quarter-acre zoning as part of its eastern comprehensive rezoning package, the lot sizes will mirror those surrounding it. Mr. Revelle said the lots would average about 10,000 square feet.

If the rezoning is not granted, 22 to 24 homes probably will be built under the existing half-acre zoning, he said.

Only one nearby resident has complained about the proposal to the village association office, said village Manager Jane Parrish.

But a more accurate gauge of neighbors' opinions will be a discussion of the developer's plans at 8:30 p.m. Monday before the Hickory Ridge Village Board, Ms. Parrish said.

"I'll be very surprised if we take a position on it unless we hear more from people that are affected by it," said board member Miles Coffman. He said he will be especially interested in finding out about Mr. Revelle's other developments.

Mr. Coffman said he wasn't ready to make a decision but that the parcel was ripe for development.

The proposed development is on an "outparcel," which means it is not subject to the Columbia Association's annual property charge and would stay that way, Mr. Revelle said.

Next Wednesday, his request will be among 15 that the public will have a chance to comment on before the county Zoning Board.

If the rezoning and development are approved by county officials, Mr. Revelle's company, Terra Firm Real Estate, will develop utility lines and roads on the site and sell it to a builder. He estimated that it would be 18 months to two years before homes were built there.

The property has been owned for about 30 years by Ray and Orva Bowman, who live on the property and plan to stay after their property is subdivided. Mr. Revelle said he has a contract to purchase the property.

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