City, county happy with joint planning on East Columbia Area Plan

Thursday, September 2, 2010 | 10:08 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Members of the joint city and county Planning and Zoning Commission found that coordination between the city and county was well worth the effort for the East Columbia Area Plan and long overdue.

During a work session Thursday evening, members of both commissions shared their enthusiasm for the city and county’s decision to work together on the comprehensive plan for the urban fringe on Columbia's east side.

Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission vice-chairman Doug Wheeler said after the work session that cooperation efforts were long overdue.

David Brodsky, chairman of the city commission, said the partnership was something “we have really needed to do since there was a city and a county.”

The city and county first attempted joint planning meetings as early as 2003 but have not seen much success until more recent years. The two finished their first large joint project, the Northeast Columbia Area Plan, in the fall of 2009.

Brodsky said the commission “cut our teeth” on the Northeast Columbia Area Plan, but this time city staff “has been a lot more involved,” making the process easier.

"Trying to put this document together is killing me," said city development services manager Pat Zenner of the latest plan.

Commission members offered their thanks to Zenner, noting that his efforts were not unnoticed or underappreciated.

A rough draft of the plan’s introduction and an "implementation matrix" are scheduled to be posted on the commission’s website Friday.

Two more work sessions will be held this month on Sept. 9 and 23.

For members of the public interested in voicing their opinion on the plan, the commission will hold two public hearings this month, each beginning at 6 p.m. on Sept. 16 and 30 in the main chamber of City Hall.

A near-final draft of the plan will be presented during the Sept. 16 hearing, and the final draft will be presented on Sept. 30. The City Council will have to give it final approval.

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