Controversial Millwood Starbucks drive-thru approved by zoning board

Developers wanting to build a Starbucks drive-thru near historic Columbia neighborhoods cleared a hurdle on Tuesday.

Columbia’s zoning board approved Capital Development Corp.’s request for a drive-thru on the 3000 block of Millwood.

Currently, the property houses Revente’s Second Chances, a clothing store that donates all of its profits to housing for women in need. The plot also contains a distinct mid-century modern pagoda style building built in the late 1960s, according to county records. A dog grooming business, dry cleaner and other businesses are housed on the property.

Those businesses will have to move and their buildings will be demolished, renderings of the proposed development show.

At a Tuesday zoning meeting with public input, board members voted 5 to 1 to approve the drive-thru request, city documents show.

In Columbia, proposed developments have to receive a “special exception” from the zoning board to build a drive-thru.

Support and opposition for the Starbucks development split residents of Melrose Heights, Heathwood, and the Lyon Street Community.

“Personally, I think it will be positive in the long run,” said Corbett Toussaint, a resident of Heathwood. “That particular corridor hasn’t really turned over or improved much over the last ten years. I think the development will be an anchor that attracts others to the area with the increase in vehicle and foot traffic.”

Lee Ann Kornegay, who has lived in Melrose Heights for many years, told The State she wanted a development that fit with the historical character of the area and questioned if a Starbucks was an appropriate fit.

The proposed 7,000-square-foot development would also include other storefronts.

While the development is still in the works and the property’s sale is yet to be finalized, according to county records, the approval of the drive-thru is a major step in ensuring the project’s completion.

David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.