Note: Laura Nauser’s questions have been shortened from her original response.
1: Where do you think is the best place to strike a balance between the interests of developers and the interests of other stakeholders in the community?
I believe that it is the responsibility of the City Council to evaluate and enact the proper ordinances that encourage responsible growth. We, the City Council, have turned the process of development into a battle between neighborhood associations and/or outside interested parties and the developers. Set criteria should be established at the ordinance level so that all developers are on the same playing field. The council should not micro-manage each and every zoning development plan that comes before it. In addition, we should not allow outside parties to ask for or require improvements that are outside the scope of the project or outside the framework of our established ordinances. ... In order to strike this “balance” between the developers and the other community stakeholders, the City Council must re-evaluate and update our planning process and all zoning ordinances. Once that process has been completed and updated policies are adopted, the City Council must stop micro-managing planned zoning development projects.
2: How would you like to see development shape the city of Columbia in the next 10 years?
I personally would not prefer to see “development” in the traditional sense shape the future of the City of Columbia. I believe that it is the responsibility of the City Council to direct and shape our future growth and overall development. Over the past years, the council seems to have focused on the “individual” picture rather than the “overall” picture. In my personal opinion, we have failed to adequately address our community’s need for economic development. ... This community needs development; development in the terms of a comprehensive economic development policy to encourage new employment opportunities for the citizens of our community. ... We have too heavily relied upon the University of Missouri-Columbia and other governmental agencies to provide the adequate employment base for our citizens. If we are to continue to enjoy our amenities and the quality of life we have grown to enjoy, the council needs to assure that there is an adequate tax base to support not only our essential infrastructure needs but those “quality of life” benefits.