COLUMBIA — Understanding citizens’ concerns was the main topic of the public information meeting held Tuesday night by the joint city and county Planning and Zoning Commission. The meeting was one of the first public sessions held by the committee, which was formed to create a sub-area plan for the land near the site of the new high school.
“We’d like to get as much information as we can so we’ll have information to guide our decisions,” said Patricia Smith, a Boone County Planning and Zoning commissioner.
The joint committee is the first of its kind to bring together both city and county government agencies to complete a major project.
City Planning and Zoning Commissioner David Brodsky led the presentation. He said he hopes the committee will create for the next meeting a more detailed working document, which would include information on zoning, sewers, water and roads.
Citizens in attendance said roads such as St. Charles Road or Route Z would not be able to handle an increased volume of traffic because of metal-plate bridges and a lack of shoulders.
Paul Land, president of the Columbia Area Jobs Foundation, had a different perspective on why roads should be improved.
“When you look at this area, we don’t want you to forget industrial usages,” he said.
The commission also made a point of showing citizens their concerns at previous meetings had been heard. Brodsky outlined initial plans, which will be detailed further at the July 31 meeting. On Tuesday night as well as at previous meetings, citizens were presented with comment cards so they could name issues important to them. Concerns listed before Tuesday included trails students can utilize to walk or ride bikes to school, growth management to prevent urban sprawl and environmental quality associated with the area’s flood plain.
Jeff Barrow, City Planning and Zoning commission chairman, said the committee was taking a “historical first-step” by having the joint commission work on the project together. The commission represents a collaborative effort between various facets of local government for the future betterment of the city, he said.
The next public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. July 31 at the Roger B. Wilson Boone County Government Center.