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Council to consider Grindstone Break Time, armored car for police

Monday, April 1, 2013 | 1:00 p.m. CDT; updated 3:08 p.m. CDT, Saturday, April 13, 2013

COLUMBIA — A proposal to rezone property at Grindstone Parkway and Rock Quarry Road to accommodate plans for a Break Time convenience store is scheduled for a vote by the Columbia City Council on Monday night.

The council's meeting begins at 7 p.m. in its chambers at the Daniel Boone City Building, 701 E. Broadway.

The convenience store plan has stirred opposition among residents of the area, who note that Rock Quarry Road is a designated scenic roadway. They also worry about the impact of traffic and store lighting on their neighborhood and about under-age drinking, given the high number of college students who live in the area.

Members of the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-4 at their March 7 meeting to recommend the council approve the rezoning request.

The developers would be MFA Oil Co. and 8 Ball Commercial. The 2.05-acre property is now zoned for agricultural use. The developers are seeking planned commercial zoning.

The request was first presented to the city in the fall but was withdrawn. The developers have since changed their landscaping and fencing plans for the store.

In other action, the council will consider a request from the Columbia Police Department to authorize the purchase of a new armored personnel carrier. The price of the vehicle would be $227,587. Police Chief Ken Burton wrote in a report to the council that armored vehicles save lives and that they sometimes prompt the immediate surrender of suspects when police bring them to crime scenes.

Burton also noted that the department's existing armored carrier is more than 30 years old and has been in the shop 27 times in 12 years for repairs costing a total of $35,000.

Burton is proposing the city use $127,587 from the city's fund balance, $36,505 from asset forfeiture funds and $63,495 from the department's vehicle budget to pay for the armored carrier. That would require the city to delay for an extra year the purchase of three new cars for community service aides.

The debate over whether to buy the vehicle was tabled at the council's March 18 meeting. The Columbia Police Officers' Association complicated the discussion when it posted on its Facebook page that a "new Mercedes" would be more effective in getting "all the boys in the hood" to leave their houses. "I say we roll up in style," the post read. It has since been taken down.

Mayor Bob McDavid asked for a formal apology from the association, saying the remark reflected "breathtaking racial insensitivity." Burton referred questions about the post to the association.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.


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