City Council to vote on Northeast Columbia Area Plan

Saturday, December 5, 2009 | 4:44 p.m. CST; updated 11:02 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 5, 2009

COLUMBIA — The northeast Columbia area has a plan.

That plan could become official Monday night, when the City Council will hear public comment on the first large-scale joint planning project between Columbia and Boone County. The Northeast Columbia Area Plan would not set policy, but it would guide development of a roughly 5-square-mile area northeast of Columbia.

Most of the area currently lies outside city limits and is mostly rural and undeveloped.

The Council requested the area plan after the Columbia Public School District announced the site of a new high school in the area, off of E. St. Charles Road. The new high school likely will lead to a surge of development in the area.

A second joint-commission area plan project kicked off last month. The East Columbia Area Plan will address a much larger area — roughly 21 square miles. That area plan will address likely development around a proposed extension of Stadium Boulevard to connect with Interstate 70 east of Columbia.

For the Northeast Columbia Area Plan, the commissions gathered input from residents in the area about the types of development they would like to see. The comments and concerns gathered informed the plan.

The final version of the plan calls for owner-occupied and single-family housing, commercial development along Route Z and south of St. Charles Road and industry along the I-70 corridor.

The plan also emphasizes the need to make road, sewer and electrical improvements before any large-scale development can take place.

Jeff Barrow, chairman of the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission, said working with the commission's counterparts in county government has helped him understand the concerns of rural residents.

"I think it's been extremely helpful from my perspective," he said. "(Boone County Planning Commissioners) had a different point of view and constituency. I've learned quite a bit from working with them."

Barrow said the area plan process allows commissioners to addresses potential problems long before they occur.

"Typically we deal with this very piecemeal," he said. "I think the area planning will allow us to see how it all fits together better."

The Northeast Columbia Area Plan will be open for public comment at Monday's City Council meeting, after which the council will vote on whether to adopt it.

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