Columbia City Council pulls Opus resolution from consent agenda

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council received even more resident backlash Monday night surrounding the OPUS development downtown. Monday's meeting agenda included a resolution to allow OPUS "temporary closure of portions of sidewalks and parking lanes" as well as the alley connecting 7th street and 8th street. The closure would last until July 31, 2015. 

Originally, the resolution was a part of the meeting's consent agenda, a list of resolutions and proposals the council can pass all at once without any discussion or debate by council members or the general public. The only way to speak on an issue on the consent agenda is to request an opportunity to speak prior to the finalization of the consent agenda. The consent agenda is prepared by City Manager Mike Matthes.

Several residents expressed concern with the OPUS resolution being placed on the consent agenda, including Jeremy Root, who called the attempt to pass the resolution without discussion "appalling." 

Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala questioned Matthes' decision to put the resolution on the consent agenda, considering the continued controversy surrounding the development.

"I think the rest of the council is always a pretty reasonable group and I think they appreciate the discussion. I also think they appreciate the opportunity to give to the public to have a discussion."

The council repealed the initial building proposal June 16. However, this did not block OPUS from moving forward with development. It is now the city's responsibility to pay for sewer and other infrastructure improvements, which totals around $500,000.

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