City Council Addresses Columbia Imagined, Heibel-March Building

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council will address two long-standing issues Monday.

Columbia Imagined, the city's proposed comprehensive development plan, may be adopted. Development Services Manager Patrick Zenner said Columbia Imagined is an "umbrella" plan each city department may refer to when pursuing construction and development projects. The construction of the plan itself began in 2006, when the city assembled a task force to replace the current long-term development plan for the city, "Metro 2020." Since then, the force worked alongside the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Community Development Department to create new guidelines for the city's future construction projects.  

Zenner said the committees sent out more than 700 surveys polling the public what they wanted to see, and held 26 public forums. He said the final draft of Columbia Imagined is a product of all that data.

"We need to prepare for the future in mind with what the public desires for that future to be," Zenner said.  "We were developing a plan that was influenced by the public, infused by professional staff, taking those ideas that the public had given us."

Columbia Imagined lists a number of different objectives for future developmental projects. Goals, like better connectivity between neighborhoods and parks, and more development in land already used, rather than developing outward, shape the future of planning and zoning in the city.  

"We wanted a plan that really would do justice to the community to help it map itself for the future," Zenner said.  "Increases in density, more walkable neighborhoods were something that became very clear, respecting our environmental assets and our sensitive features within the community. All of that was generated and born out of the public's involvement."

The city council also will vote on a switch in ownership of the Heibel-March building on Rangeline Dr. Grove Construction bid to lease the building from the city in order to move their offices into the Heibel-March Building. The building faced demolition in 2010 when the city council ordered it torn down if no one took over the building. The Heibel-March Building was built in the 1920s, as the Heibel Drugstore, and was named a Notable Property by the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission in 2005. The city assumed ownership of the building in 1998, and have searched for an owner since.