Hearing set for Thursday on new rules for downtown zoning

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | 6:09 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The third public hearing on new rules for C-2 zoning downtown is set for Thursday evening before the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission and could be followed by a vote.

The city is considering amending C-2 zoning regulations before the completion of a citywide rewrite of zoning codes by a hired consultant. The new rules come in the midst of an apartment boom downtown as developers try to build before the changes, which promise to be more restrictive, are approved.

Planning commissioners voted to table the issue on May 22 for the second time to provide more time for public feedback after alterations were made to the proposed amendment. Commission members also wanted to make additional changes.

The proposed rules include:

  • Mandating a Planning and Zoning Commission review and City Council approval of proposed downtown buildings at or exceeding a height of 10 stories or 120 feet. Recent changes to the proposed amendments clarify that any additional height must not create excess demand on infrastructure, as determined by an engineering analysis. Projects would also be subject to a traffic analysis.
  • Requiring parking spaces for residential or mixed-use buildings. Recent changes to the proposed amendment would require half a parking space for each new bedroom constructed. These parking spaces must be within a a half-mile radius of the development. The City Council could make exceptions to reduce parking requirements, and the requirements would not apply to new or expanded residential buildings.
  • Forbidding first-floor housing that faces the street on certain downtown blocks. Recent changes to the proposal clarify that housing entryways would still be permitted on the street side of buildings.

The commission meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers of the Daniel Boone City Building. Residents may comment on the proposal during the public hearing portion of the meeting.

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