Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission endorses East Area Plan

Thursday, September 30, 2010 | 11:24 p.m. CDT; updated 11:33 p.m. CDT, Thursday, September 30, 2010

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously Thursday to accept the East Columbia Area Plan and pass it on to the Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission and the Columbia City Council for approval.

The city and county came together to begin developing the plan during the summer of 2009, and Pat Zenner, city development services manager, presented the document at Thursday's public hearing.

Zenner discussed the details of the plan, which comprises six chapters and an executive summary. The first three chapters describe the existing conditions of the land within the boundaries of the East Area Plan, and the final three focus on future plans for the space.

Zenner described the second half of the plan as “the working part of the document,” as it addresses the implementation of the proposal.

At a Sept. 2 meeting, commission members expressed their satisfaction with the city and county's cooperation on the project. That satisfaction was reiterated Thursday.

“I commend the city and the county for embarking on this process,” city planning commission member Jeffrey Barrow said.

Commission member Ann Peters said she was “just astounded” at the amount of work that went into the plan, as well as the level of citizen participation.

Approximately 20 members of the public attended the meeting.

Commission member Ray Puri emphasized the importance of public contribution to the plan and the direct effect it will have on residents of the area.

“You people have to live out there,” he said to the audience. “It is your backyard, and it is your front yard.”

Commission chairman David Brodsky said the long process was a "good exercise.”

He said that by joining city, county and public efforts, the city planning commission was looking not only to develop the East Area Plan but also to develop a tool to use as a template for future planning and zoning processes.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of public input,” Brodsky said of previous commission projects.

Commission members said in their comments that public input on the East Area Plan has been valuable.

The plan will be presented to the City Council at its Oct. 11 work session, and its first reading will be during the council's Oct. 18 meeting.

The County Planning and Zoning Commission will decide whether or not to recommend the plan on Oct. 21.

The Nov. 1 City Council meeting will include a public hearing on the plan and will be held at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, 701 E. Broadway.

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