City Council tables Regency rezoning proposal, discusses snow removal changes

Monday, October 17, 2011 | 11:14 p.m. CDT; updated 11:25 p.m. CDT, Monday, October 17, 2011

During and before its Monday night meeting, the City Council discussed and approved several items including new plans for snow removal and renovations at the Rainbow Softball Center. The proposal to rezone the Columbia Regency mobile home park was tabled to Nov. 21.

Columbia Regency

The vote to rezone Columbia Regency mobile home park has been postponed at request of the developer. The new date for the council to address the rezoning and the plans for the proposed Aspen Heights student apartment development is Nov. 21.

Mayor Bob McDavid suggested passing an amendment to the rezoning bill that was introduced last week, but Fifth Ward Councilwoman Helen Anthony asked it be tabled for further review. The amendment, the rezoning bill and the bill to finalize the plans for the proposed Aspen Heights development were all tabled.

Public comments were opened, though the public was warned that if anyone spoke at tonight's meeting, they would not be allowed to speak on the issue at Nov. 21.  Five people spoke anyway at Monday's hearing, addressing issues including affordable housing with more land than apartments and the potential negative economic impact of student apartments in Columbia.

— Hannah Spaar

Snow plowing priorities change

The Public Works Department will change the way it categorizes Columbia streets during winter weather. The council discussed the change before Monday night's meeting.

The change would eliminate the "critical street" designation for roads after re-evaluating critical routes. High-priority roads would then be reassigned to the two remaining categories: either "first priority" or "second priority."

Overall, the city is reducing the roads they consider high priority, which makes the workload for snow removals more manageable, Public Works Director John Glascock said. He also said many critical routes were no longer considered critical.

By labeling fewer streets as high priorities, the Public Works Department can move to residential areas sooner, according to the presentation made to the council.

— Alexandria Baca

Rainbow Softball Center renovation approved

The council unanimously approved the renovation to the Rainbow Softball Center.

The project plans to improve safety and reduce maintenance costs. The center's 12 dugouts would become four times larger and each would have three entrances. The roof of each dugout, along with the benches inside them, would also be improved.

Infield material would also be upgraded and the existing wooden foul lines would be replaced by painted turf. The renovation also includes new LED scoreboards, new backstop fencing, shade screening, a yellow fence crown on the outfield fences and new maintenance gates.

The $200,000 project is scheduled to start in November, at the end of the fall softball season, and will finish before the 2012 spring season. Funding comes from recreation user fees.

— Ruisha Qian

Grindstone sewer project has minimal environmental impact

The council unanimously voted to approve a report on the environmental impact of the construction of the North Grindstone Sewer Extension Phase II project. The report showed minimal environmental impact.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $1,370,000. The city will pay approximately $770,000, which will be financed through the State Revolving Loan Fund and the revenue bond package approved by voters in April 2008.

— Steven Rich

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