Harg-area residents submitted a petition Monday to halt developer Billy Sapp’s request for voluntary annexation of 169 acres.
Although the petition should have immediately tabled the issue on the Columbia City Council’s agenda, council members debated voting on the annexation Monday evening.
Fifth Ward Councilman John John suggested voting on the annexation pending the validation of the group’s petition. After debate among council members and advice from City Counselor Fred Boeckmann, however, the council voted to table the issue until County Clerk Wendy Noren validates the petition.
The group submitted 2,043 signatures at 3:30 p.m. Monday. Harg Area Residents for Responsible Growth spokeswoman Renee Richmond said at least 73 percent of the signatures need to be from qualified Columbia voters to stop the annexation.
This is the second time the group has petitioned against a Sapp development project. In February, the group petitioned against annexing Sapp’s proposed 965-acre development.
Sapp spokesman Don Stamper said he and Sapp are exploring other options for the development. Sapp, Stamper and engineers for the development met with Boone County planning and utilities officials Monday afternoon to discuss rezoning in the county. Even so, Stamper said Sapp would prefer to work with the city.
“We think this is logically a city or municipal development contiguous to the city,” Stamper said. “(The development is) best suited for urban resources.”
In other action Monday, the City Council debated approval of the design concept for the Stephens Lake Park Percent for Art project. The design, called “Look Out Point,” received several negative reviews from the public while on display in the City Hall lobby and from council members at the meeting. Sixth Ward Councilman Brian Ash, who voted in favor of the project, expressed a need for less unusual pieces and public art that is more “appealing to the masses.”
“We’re simple Midwestern folk, we’ve got simple taste and that’s nothing to be embarrassed about, to have to apologize for,” Ash said.
The discussion cited the success of other public art pieces that were initially controversial but are now popular.
“I think we should subject ourselves to the criticism of the public and go with the (Standing Committee on Public Art’s) recommendation and hope it turns out as well as the others,” John said.
The council also passed an amended form of the ordinance allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages on sidewalk cafes. Mayor Darwin Hindman proposed making the sidewalk cafes no-smoking areas. The council also changed the language to apply to restaurant patrons in wheelchairs.