COLUMBIA — A new comprehensive plan intended to guide city policies and decisions on growth and development through the year 2030 was tabled Monday by the Columbia City Council. The council will reconsider the proposal at its Aug. 19 meeting.
“Columbia Imagined: The Plan for How We Live and Grow" is a 163-page document that's been three years in the making. It has been the subject of dozens of public meetings and work by city planners and the Comprehensive Plan Task Force.
Council members said they desired extra time to review the document. Members also expressed concerns about poor public engagement in the planning process.
Fourth Ward councilman Ian Thomas said he thought more work could be done engaging constituents, then moved to delay voting on the comprehensive plan.
"I really would like extra time to look at it," Sixth Ward councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said. "I have quite a few questions, but it would take quite a bit of time to answer. I think the public would appreciate extra time, too."
First Ward councilman Fred Schmidt said the council should move forward with adopting "Columbia Imagined" as reasons to postpone the ordinance will always exist.
"The perfect is the enemy of the good, and we have something that is pretty good here," he said.
What's in the plan
“Columbia Imagined” would replace Metro 2020, a land-use plan adopted in 2001. The new plan would clarify goals for sustainable population and community growth through the year 2030.
"Columbia Imagined" is unique from past land-use guides in that it reflects public preferences for Columbia’s growth and outlines clear strategies for implementing its goals, city planner Pat Zenner said.
The guide emphasizes “infill development” and “mixed-use development” to promote the use of existing infrastructure to create more compact communities that promote walking and biking. It includes land-use maps that forecast the most appropriate types of development in the city and the surrounding metro area.
It also includes discussions of more environmentally friendly development patterns and new methods of paying for streets, sidewalks, sewers and other infrastructure made necessary by new development.
What happened Monday night
The City Council held a public hearing after voting 4-3 to table the plan.
Residents said they were happy with the council's decision to table the document. Several said the Comprehensive Plan Task Force did not reach out to enough members of the community during the planning process.
Tyree Byndom said the council should consider how the plan affects those in poverty. He said alternative methods to get the public involved should be considered before approval.
Others praised the council for taking time to review the document more extensively.
"It's probably wise you don't approve the plan tonight," Sid Sullivan said. "You really don't know what you're voting on just yet."
John Clark said he was disappointed the city didn't follow Metro 2020 after the amount of planning that went into it, but he said he is hopeful that the council will aggressively use the new "Columbia Imagined" to improve the community.
"Thank you for giving yourself the six weeks to think about this," he said. "I want this plan to be much more meaningful in the future than Metro 2020 was."
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