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Columbia City Council to weigh applicants for zoning commission

Monday, May 10, 2010 | 7:52 p.m. CDT; updated 11:48 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 10, 2010

COLUMBIA – Glenn Rice and Raman Puri will have to beat nine other candidates to retain their seats on the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission — and they've got some well-known people competing with them.

City Council members are narrowing the field of 11 applicants for the two seats on the commission to five. For now, each council member is evaluating the candidates on his or her own.

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"The future of Columbia is what we're looking at," Fourth Ward Councilman Daryl Dudley said. "We're looking at how the applicants mesh with our visions for Columbia."

Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser said she was looking for professional backgrounds, for other volunteer work and for a good mix of philosophies among commissioners.

The applicants include a real estate agent, an engineering manager for a construction company, a former City Council member who lost a bid for re-election and two others who ran this spring for council seats.

Those interested in commission seats gave the city written rationale for why they'd like to be appointed. Here's who they are and what they said, in the order they filed their applications.

Glenn Rice

Rice, 44, is a commissioner seeking reappointment. He is an Internet administrator at MU and wants to continue his work on the commission, including the comprehensive planning process. Rice lives in the Fourth Ward and is married to Tracy Greever-Rice, who lost a bid for that ward's council seat this year.

Raman Puri

Puri, 39, is also seeking reappointment. He is vice president of the Hilton Garden Inn and wants to continue "ensuring proper development based on appropriate use of land and infrastructure with balance of environmental preservation." Puri lives in the Fifth Ward.

Julia Ames

Ames, 35, is a real estate agent with Remax Boone Realty. She said she has an understanding of how development "can truly define the success" of "towns and communities as a whole." She feels she has "the ability to really think outside the box and provide some true insight in how things can be/or even how perhaps, they should NOT be with the goals of this community in mind." Ames lives in the Fifth Ward.

Rick Buford

Buford, 39, is a senior network administrator at Carfax and ran for the Fourth Ward City Council seat. He said he can be "a fair and moderate voice." Over the course of his campaign for council, Buford says he educated himself extensively on city issues. Buford lives in the Fourth Ward.

Maurice Harris

Harris, 24, is a leasing agent for Colony Apartments. He wants to serve on the commission to "make sure there is sustainable development in Columbia and that there is smart growth in residential and commercial areas." Harris lives in the Sixth Ward.

James Holman

Holman, 49, is the engineering manager for Coil Construction. Holman said the Planning and Zoning Commission best fits with his experience. Holman is a registered professional engineer and was the Sedalia city engineer for six years, which included being a voting member of the Sedalia Planning and Zoning Commission. He also was a design engineer for Olathe, Kan., for three years. Holman lives in the Second Ward.

Steve Oslica

Oslica, 23, is a Web assistant for the University of Missouri System and a graduate student at MU studying public affairs with an emphasis in nonprofit management. He is a former Missourian reporter and believes his perspective as a young student who has reported on city government will make him a prime candidate with a fair, objective opinion.

James Downey

Downey, 51, is the owner of Legacy Bookbindery. He is president of the Country Club Estates Neighborhood Association and said he has been involved in zoning issues on several occasions. He has attended all the city's infill workshops. On top of his experience, Downey said that he has access to the knowledge of his wife, Martha John, who is a member of the Board of Adjustment, and of his brother-in-law, John John, a realtor and former Fifth Ward council member. Downey lives in the Third Ward.

William Tillotson

Tillotson, 58, is a certified senior adviser for the Naught-Naught Agency, an insurance and financial services company. He says his experience as a business owner makes him "very adept at finding solutions to problems dealing with growth and finances." Tillotson lives in the Sixth Ward.

Paul Love

Love, 39, is a network administrator at Carfax, and he ran for mayor this year. He believes fixing problems in the planning phase "is significantly easier and cheaper (than) to correct the problems once they exist." He listed his experience living in Columbia for more than 20 years. Love lives in the Second Ward.

Karl Skala

Skala, 63, is retired and just lost a bid for re-election to a second term as Third Ward councilman. He is a former member and vice chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission. He also served on the Columbia/Boone County Environment and Energy Commission and was council liaison to the Planning and Zoning. He is a founding member of Citizens for Timely and Responsible Road Infrastructure Financing and a member or the Boone County Smart Growth Coalition. Skala lives in the Third Ward.

City Council members will submit their rankings of the applicants on Wednesday. The top five will be interviewed Monday.


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