COLUMBIA — With only one opposing vote, the Downtown Columbia Leadership Council recommended the City Council approve interim C-2 zoning protections, which would change building requirements downtown.
- A height requirement that changes the application process for any new downtown building exceeding 10 stories, or 120 feet.
- A parking requirement that requires new developments to include 1 parking spot per 1,000 square feet in each 1-2 bedroom unit and half a parking spot for each additional bedroom.
- A requirement that new buildings on Ninth Street and on Broadway, between Eighth and Hitt streets, include non-residential space on the first floor.
The only downtown leadership member who opposed the zoning protections was Deb Sheals, who represents the Downtown Community Improvement District. Sheals said she was voting on behalf of the CID, which wanted a clause that would phase out the protections after consulting firm Clarion Associates completes its overhaul of city zoning.
Downtown leadership also recommended that City Council consider including height requirements for new buildings in the North Village Arts District, as outlined on page 23 of the Charrette Report, a 2010 report on downtown Columbia's infrastructure.
There will be a public hearing about the C-2 zoning protections at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
Downtown leadership also voted to ask City Council for approval to hire an independent consultant to analyze the city's infrastructure per the recommendation of the Downtown Columbia Leadership Council Infrastructure Subcommittee.
"I think getting an actual professional to look at Columbia's infrastructure could really be helpful," said Brent Gardner, chairman of the Downtown Columbia Leadership Council.
Downtown leadership member Brian Treece said hiring a consultant was the next step in gathering information before downtown leadership can calculate how much infrastructure improvements will cost.
"It's hard to make recommendations on how to pay for it if we don't know what exactly it is," Treece said.
Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine said hiring the consultant could easily cost $100,000.
Downtown leadership unanimously agreed to send its proposal to the City Council so it can be on the agenda at the City Council's next meeting May 5.
Downtown leadership also approved two town hall style meetings for public input and information on downtown infrastructure. The meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. May 7 and 1 p.m. May 10 at a location to be determined.
Supervising editor is John Schneller.