Zoning Plan's Introduction Complicates Request At Council

6 years 2 months 4 weeks ago October 19, 2010 Oct 19, 2010 Tuesday, October 19 2010 Tuesday, October 19, 2010 4:24:12 AM CDT in News
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COLUMBIA - A controversial annexation and rezoning request for an area just east of Columbia's city limits drew several residents out for public comment on the same night the council first considered a comprehensive plan for how to handle development on the east side of town.

The East Area Plan, which the Planning and Zoning Commission approved for council consideration on September 31, lays out a comprehensive plan for how the city should zone areas south of Interstate 70 and east of Highway 63 where developers are ready to build. The council first heard the plan Monday night at its regular meeting at city hall.

The East Area Plan's council debut came on the same night where a controversial development request came up again before the council. Developer David Atkins asked the council to annex about 180 acres of land off Richland Road for commercial and residential development in November 2009. His request sparked interest in drawing up the East Area Plan in the first place.

After the council tabled it several times since then, the council decided to once again table the measure by a 5-2 vote.  Now it goes back to the Planning and Zoning Commission to consider how well the request fits into parameters of the East Area plan.

"We shouldn't put the cart before the horse," said Sixth Ward Councilperson Barbara Hoppe. "We should consider that East Area Plan, and then how this [development request] fits into it or doesn't fit into it."

The East Area Plan lays out how the city would zone land it would annex on the east side of town. The city would zone the area primarily as residential and agricultural land. The plan limits commercial development to a few specific pockets where infrastructure is already in place.

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