Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission approves vision for city

Thursday, November 18, 2010 | 10:12 p.m. CST; updated 2:26 p.m. CST, Friday, November 26, 2010

COLUMBIA — A vision for the city was approved Thursday by the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission and will be taken to the public to ensure it aligns with the vision of Columbia residents.

The Columbia City Council adopted a resolution in May 2009 directing the Planning and Zoning Commission to develop a comprehensive plan for the city. The resolution created the Comprehensive Plan Task Force to assist the commission in its task. Since then, the two groups have been working together to create a visioning document, a precursor to the future plan.

After a drawn-out discussion last week regarding the document's wording, this week the commission and a subcommittee of the task force made only subtle tweaks before the commission voted in support of the final product.

From here, the task force will use the document as a guide for meeting with members of the public to determine if the city’s vision is an accurate representation of how Columbia residents would like to see the city grow.

Dan Goldstein, vice chair of the task force, said that when he talks about the city growing, he means both growth in size and “as we go forward in history.”

After another meeting between the task force and commission in December, the task force will arrange meetings with the public to discuss its vision. For example, said task force member Jo Sapp, when gathering input from residents who live downtown, an effort will be made to hold those public meetings downtown.

Commissioner Jeff Barrow said Thursday that the current process of writing the comprehensive plan has been made more effective by earlier commission involvement with the East Area Plan.

Barrow said of the comprehensive plan, “It’s a citizen-driven thing,” and that he wants the plan to be flexible and respectful of the citizens whom the plan will affect.

The visioning document, containing the current goals and objectives for the plan, will be open to the public and will be available by contacting the city Planning and Development Department.

The entire Comprehensive Plan Task Force will meet with the Planning and Zoning Commission on Dec. 9 to begin assigning members to develop separate goals and objectives in writing the plan.

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