COLUMBIA — Thursday night’s joint session of the Columbia and Boone County Planning and Zoning Commissions gave the public its first opportunity to comment on the final draft of the East Columbia Area plan.
It was also the first time the planning and zoning commissions presented the introduction, executive summary and the implementation chapter of the plan.
The eight people in attendance were appreciative of the work done by the city staff and both commissions.
“I have been to most of the meetings that the city has kindly put on and welcomed the public’s contact,” Columbia resident Margaret Langland said. “This has been ... a very democratic and very exciting process to be involved in."
The city held five stakeholder meetings as the plan was being drafted. More than 100 people attended the first meeting, but only about 50 people turned out for the fifth.
The city planning and zoning commission will hold a work session on Sept. 23 to discuss the public comments and issues brought up at Thursday’s meeting.
Former mayoral candidate John Clark emphasized the importance of the plan, saying he appreciated the strong community involvement behind it.
“I’m going to tell everybody that I know to read it, and actually, because of the process, trust it,” he said.
Columbia resident Ellen Wolfe said she feels this plan is a good start to a process that does not end with the upcoming final public hearing and vote. If it passes, the plan will be continually updated.
“We like this process, where there’s input from the people who actually live there and we have a say in what happens in the area,” she said.
Columbia resident Jack Clark said he hopes the Columbia City Council will give the plan the credence it deserves.
The plan must still be approved by the council and the Boone County Commission before it goes into effect.
The final public hearing and vote on the East Columbia Area Plan will take place at 6 p.m. Sept. 30, in the council chamber, 701 E. Broadway.