From Ward reapportionment to $22,000 an acre, developers push ethical limits

COLUMBIA, 12/4/11  (Beat Byte) --  Just weeks after they voted for a so-called "gerrymandering plan" known as Trial D, two members of Columbia's recently-concluded Ward Reapportionment Committee want the Columbia City Council to fork over big taxpayer dollars for vacant land near the new Battle High School. 
Bob Pugh, Scott Atkins, and their St. Charles Road Development (SCRD) partnership with Scott's father Tom Atkins, builder Rob Wolverton, and the estate of developer Bob Lemone want city taxpayers to pay $681,000 for 30 acres -- a whopping $22,000 per acre the Boone County assessor has appraised at just $521/acre.  
By comparison, all 47 social services agencies in Columbia would get just $979,000 under a proposal Council members will consider Monday night. 
The land would be banked for future use because the city has no money to develop it, Columbia park services manager Mike Griggs told Columbia Daily Tribune readers agitated over the proposed acquisition.  The sale would mark the third time in roughly three years the Pugh-Atkins-Wolverton-Lemone partnership has sold ultra-pricey land to a public entity.