Sign plan is put off again after more adjustments

The Columbia City Council tabled two other proposals as well.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:46 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Three proposals to the City Council experienced somewhat of a deja vu Monday night.

Members of the Special Business District Board and former opponents of the downtown sign ordinance proposal came together in support of its newest draft as it was presented to the City Council. But they will have to wait at least two more weeks for a final council decision.

The council chose to table the proposal to give council members and the public an opportunity to review the most recent changes to the ordinance, which aims to reduce the number and sizes of signs downtown.

The Special Business District Board and city staff had been making technical adjustments to the ordinance’s language as late as 4:30 p.m. before the 7 p.m. council meeting.

Special Business District Director Carrie Gartner said most business owners were not aware of the latest details, but she said, “The last-hour changes have been unimportant or minor.”

“The general public does not know those technical, definitional changes but are aware of the major compromises,” Gartner said.

Planning and Development Director Tim Teddy explained the revisions, such as clarifying what is meant by words like “street-level” and “alter.”

Business and property owners who had once vehemently opposed the ordinance

proposal voiced their support for the newest draft since the Special Business District Board conceded on a few points, including the allowance of second-story wall signs.

“We reached an agreement on something I frankly didn’t think we’d reach agreement on,” said Realtor Paul Land, who had been against the ordinance originally.

Mayor Darwin Hindman said that while the board members and a few people involved in the compromise understood the changes, many others might not.

“The question is, what about other people in the downtown business community?” Hindman said.

The council will revisit the issue in its meeting March 5.

About 15 minutes after finishing discussions on the sign ordinance, the council tabled another proposal.

Residents around Rock Quarry Road have one more month to meet with Delta Roads Development LLC about the proposed multifamily housing units on the west side of the street.

At the meeting, Rock Quarry residents said they’d had few opportunities to meet with the developers since the council’s tabling of the issue two weeks earlier.

Council members agreed with the residents.

“I know I didn’t have an opportunity,” said Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe of the Sixth Ward.

Glen Strothmann, a representative from Delta Roads, said residents had plenty of time to discuss the construction.

“We have gone out of our way to make ourselves available at any time,” he said. “I’ve always seen the need to get together with the neighbors, and that doesn’t stop now.”

Strothmann said that since the last tabling, his group had met with Julie Youmans, president of the Rock Quarry Neighborhood Association, as well as Vicky Riback Wilson, who submitted the initial protest, and her brother, Marty Riback.

Along with citing their lack of opportunity to meet with the developers, council members also said the absence of First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton was a reason to table the measure.

If the rezoning is passed, the 10.9-acre area will become a planned-unit development with 26 housing units in nine buildings.

Residents have said a new development would take away from the scenic quality of the road, as well as cause disruptions like those produced by multifamily units nearby.

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-2 against the measure on Dec. 7, 2006.

In other action, the council:

  • Tabled a preliminary plan for The Overlook, a subdivision along a proposed extension of West Broadway that would include 141 homes, some along the bluffs of Perche Creek. The plat was tabled at the Feb. 5 council meeting when homeowner Frank Jindra voiced concerns about how the extension of Broadway would affect his property. Jindra said that if the plat is approved and the road is paved and extended, Broadway would displace much of his front lawn. At Monday’s meeting, the council again tabled the resolution, this time without any discussion.
  • Heard public input on a plan for a new $14.4 million-interchange at Gans Road and U.S. 63 and made a motion to move the plans ahead to the Missouri Department of Transportation for approval. The interchange is intended to accommodate increased traffic from intense development anticipated in the area, which includes the former Philips tract. Some projects are a city park including Bristol Lake and, on the east side of the highway, Discovery Ridge research park on MU’s South Farm.
  • Rejected a resolution to pay an engineering firm to gather data about the city’s waste water. Faced with the possibility of spending millions to disinfect its effluent, the city aimed to prove to regulators it already meets federal standards. But the mayor and several council members expressed concern that the engineering contract sought to go beyond making the city’s case by aligning Columbia with other cities and sewer districts seeking to lower water-quality standards in the Missouri River.

Missourian reporters Lindsay Toler, Luke Thompson and Stephen Nellis contributed to this report.

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