COLUMBIA — When the weather gets cold, Nancy Rosson’s dogs love sliding over the frozen water of Grindstone Creek, which runs through her 60-acre property. She said she enjoys her rural life and fears it might change under the East Area Plan, which studies the future of development in 21 square miles of eastern Boone County.
This, and a neighbor, prompted her to attend a public comment session Columbia and Boone County officials hosted Tuesday night.
The meeting at Elk’s Lodge was the fourth in a series discussing the plan. Most of this land is either undeveloped or farmed, and is outside Columbia city limits, according to a previous Missourian report.
Monday night’s meeting, which approximately 50 people attended, displayed a new map showing proposed uses for the study area, which encompasses 13,000 acres, outlined by Interstate 70, Rangeline Road, East New Haven Road and U.S. 63.
A large portion of this land, roughly encompassing the Gans Creek watershed, will be restricted to agriculture.
This restricted area goes from the Route Z exit on Interstate 70 south to the southeast corner of Old Hawthorne and then southwest until it hits Discovery Ridge near U.S. 63.
Pat Zenner, city development services manager, said the restricted area isn’t served by any utilities at this point and there are no planned improvements expected there.
“There didn’t seem to be, from staff perspective, any real reason for that area to develop,” he said.
Rosson said she isn’t sure if her property is in the area. She’s afraid the city will annex her land.
“We have bonfires,” she said. “My neighbors, they like to shoot skeet, clay pigeons. We don’t want any kind of restrictions put on us in that way.”
This issue has come up at past meetings, said Tim Teddy, Columbia planning and development director. He said the city has a policy of voluntary annexation.
"This plan is not a precursor of mass annexation," he said. "I think what's most likely to happen is, as elsewhere, you'll get some folks that want to connect to city sewer and, by policy, the city extends sewer to properties in exchange for annexation."
Not all of the landowners in the study areas had problems with the plan, though. Property owner Tom McNabb has been satisfied with the process so far.
"The city is putting a lot of time and effort in it, and I think they're doing a good job trying to explain the different issues and represent the interest s of the different landowners," he said.
The next public meeting on the East Area Plan is tentatively scheduled for July 27. At that meeting, the city and county expect to show a draft of the report's future land use chapter, which was not ready in time for this meeting, according to a city news release.