City area working to plan its future

The city will spend $40,000 to develop an upbeat solution.
Friday, July 30, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:50 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 10, 2008

The North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association is working with an independent planning consultant to create a compatible and consistent master plan for its challenging blend of business and housing.

Linda Rootes, the neighborhood association’s founder, said the planning project will explain the area’s vanishing investments and fading residential development.

“Nobody sets out to develop a really ugly neighborhood,” Rootes said. “It happens over time because of little things that are done that just accumulate. We want our neighborhood to be more cheerful and colorful, welcoming and upbeat.”

The NCCNA includes the area south of Business Loop 70, east of Providence, north of Walnut Street and west of College Avenue.

The NCCNA and its residents have had several meetings with the firm, Planning Works of Leawood, Kan.

Neighborhood association president and project coordinator John Clark said he expects the planning project to cost about $40,000. The city gave the association a community development block grant for $15,000, which local businesses, Boone electricity community trust and investors matched. The association is still looking for about $6,000 to complete the projects.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Planning Works asked residents what design elements they liked about the neighborhood and what they thought needed improvement.

Clark said the survey is an excellent way for Columbia residents to channel their input to the planning firm. The community’s comments along with information from an earlier meeting concerning issues and land use will be turned over to consultants before they make several drafts of the plan.

Bruce Peshoff, a principal with Planning Works, said he’ll have preliminary alternatives for the community to review in the next two months. He said planners will most likely develop an overlay district, which would help the neighborhood maintain its character through design standards such as consistency in materials and colors for buildings. The overlay district will also allow the association to incorporate its many historic monuments and landmarks at key gateway intersections to better highlight the area’s identity.

“This plan will provide more predictability for investors, people who want to build, and people who want to move,” Clark said. “If that increases the predictability, they can get a good idea by looking at the plan that the neighborhood has some direction to it.”

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