Alley A Named
Columbia's city council is taking steps to attract business downtown. City leaders encouraged downtown developers to bring alleys to life.
The process of naming downtown alleys began this spring, but it hit a snag recently. Emergency officials need a street name for businesses in case of an emergency, but there's not agreement in what the names should be.
The original ordinance proposed to name five alleys downtown so that business owners could obtain permits to open businesses. Monday night that's what happened for one business and one alley. The council named the east-west alley south of Broadway, Alley A, so business construction off that alley can go forward.
And while the city is looking to put rules on development, enforcement will wait. First the city council drafted an ordinance to name the alleys. They then drafted an additional ordinance to set aside standards that the alleys must meet.
Leaders hope to pass the additional ordinance in two weeks. The ordinance would require alleys to accommodate emergency vehicles, water and ice to not accumulate in the alley, arrangements for snow removal, and no interference with trash collection and utility services.
The city says it will be the business owners' responsibility to make sure these standards are met. But John Ott who is developing a business in the area said he is not worried.
"A lot of the same issues you have with sidewalks and street fronts we'll be dealing with, like snow removal and maintaining them in terms of cleanliness," Ott said.
The permanent naming of the alleys has been referred to the historical preservation society. The city staff and council will revisit the issue at the next meeting in 2 weeks.
Reported by: Haleigh Harrold