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City Council Q&A: Members answer questions about growth, development, planning

Monday, April 14, 2008 | 11:12 p.m. CDT; updated 11:00 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Members of the Columbia City Council provided the following written responses to Missourian questions about growth, development and planning.

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MAYOR DARWIN HINDMAN

Q: 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?

A: We have a visioning process where the community and developers all participated. I suppose that the best thing to do is to try and work together to try and implement the visioning process. Trying to do some planning may help, provided both developers and businesses not included in development are involved.

Issues from development to development vary. You have developments that will affect an area that some people want to see preserved. When you get right down to it, those end up being case-by-case issues. I’m convinced that we will constantly have this struggle.

Q: How would you like to see development shape the city of Columbia in the next 10 years?

A: I like to see ever-increasing quality of development. I am very much in favor of more infill. I am in favor of mixed-use development. Basically, I do not oppose development; I welcome good development that I think adds to the city. My goal is if a development occurs, it be a positive one for the city.

FIRST WARD COUNCILMAN PAUL STURTZ

Q: Where is the best place to strike a balance between the interests of developers and the interests of other stakeholders in the community?

A: That place should be found in a comprehensive long-range plan for Columbia, one whose paramount value would be to pass on a better city to our children and grandchildren than the one we inherited. This Document would inventory and preserve our natural and cultural features, and give clear direction on encouraged land uses in different areas of the city. In agreement on the big picture, we can attend to the small stuff with less conflict.

Q: How would you like to see development shape the city of Columbia in the next 10 years?

A: A public-private partnership between the development community and the city promises to transform Columbia into one of the most attractive cultural, educational and business hubs in the Midwest. The downtown and surrounding neighborhoods hold a diversity and vitality that can be enhanced through introducing more mixed-use, mixed-income developments. With less incentives for sprawl on the urban fringe and more incentives for central-city building, thousands will locate near and in downtown, benefiting local businesses.

SECOND WARD COUNCILMAN CHRIS JANKU

Q: Where is the best place to strike a balance between the interests of developers and the interests of other stakeholders in the community?

When making a decision concerning a proposed development, the City Council must carefully consider information from all stakeholders before ultimately making a decision based upon the best interests of the entire community. Quality information from all interested parties contributes to better decisions by the council. To facilitate participation, the city has established procedures for notification of interested parties, including affected neighborhoods, but changes to those procedures to require earlier notice would improve the process. Discussions between the developer and interested parties prior to submitting an application for approval might eliminate or minimize differences that otherwise would need to be resolved by the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council.

Q: How would you like to see development shape the city of Columbia in the next 10 years?

During the next 10 years I hope that development in Columbia is a balance of re-investment in older areas of Columbia and quality new development. In central Columbia, downtown will continue to be a vibrant center of economic and cultural activity as the recommendations outlined in the Sasaki report are implemented. I would like to foster redevelopment of the Business Loop, which also would benefit the adjoining residential neighborhoods. Residential development should include a mix of housing types for different income levels. New commercial areas compatible with nearby residential neighborhoods should provide needed services for residents of Columbia and surrounding communities. Industrial development, based primarily on the knowledge economy, should provide economic opportunity for individuals of various income and educational levels.

THIRD WARD COUNCILMAN KARL SKALA

Q: 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?

A: The best place is to begin these discussions at the negotiation table with all of the stakeholders present and with facilitation and/or voluntary mediation provided by the city. Often such groups find that there are a few issues on which agreement is simply not possible, but they also often find much more common ground than they had previously imagined. The remaining substantive issues usually fall under the rubric of those for which compromise is acceptable.

Q: How would you like to see development shape the city of Columbia in the next 10 years?

A: Development should not shape our city, but growth management planning (GMP) should. Simply stated, GMP means targeting growth to take advantage of already existing infrastructure resources in order to avoid expensive and unneeded duplication. Of course, a GMP effort must also carefully consider the assets of our Natural and Cultural Resources Inventory and must include a careful analysis of the optimum balance of public and private investment with regard to new growth related infrastructure financing.

SIXTH WARD COUNCILWOMAN BARBARA HOPPE

Note to readers: Barbara Hoppe asked the Missourian to tell readers she was rushed in her response as she is out of town due to family concerns.

Q: 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?

A: I strongly believe that the principles of smart growth and sustainability create a win/win situation for the whole community, including developers. It makes “sense and cents” for the community, for the natural environment on which we depend and is beneficial for the entire community, which includes the development community. I approach it as a win/win situation.

We have been working on the visioning process, which involves all stakeholders. I initiated the natural resources inventory the City did last year to help in this process. We have been working on a more equitable financing of infrastructure and many other things too that will create win/win situations for the entire community. We need to make sure everything works together, so crime is down, youth have opportunities, there is affordable housing, which includes energy efficient housing, etc.

Q: How would you like to see development shape the city of Columbia in the next 10 years?

A: With a comprehensive growth management plan and growth management planning, we will be able to encourage and direct growth, and the type of growth, where it is most appropriate and positive and at the same time help preserve natural areas and farmland and the features of Columbia we all love. The goal is to both preserve and enhance the wonderful “character and landscape of Columbia” that makes this area beautiful and unique, so it will continue to be a great place to live, work, have fun, raise families, feel connected to others and be part of a community.


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