The City Council of the City of Columbia, Missouri met for a special meeting at 7:00 p.m., on Monday, July 10, 2000, in the Council Chamber of the City of Columbia, Missouri. The roll was taken with the following results: Council members CAMPBELL, JOHN, COFFMAN, HINDMAN, JANKU, and CROCKETT were present. Member CRAYTON was absent. The City Manager, City Counselor, City Clerk, and various Department Heads were also present.
(A) Proposed Metro 2020 Plan.
Item A was read by the Clerk.
Mr. Beck explained that this proposed plan is an update of the Land Use Plan.
Mr. Bondra reported that in the late 60's the City had a very general Land Use Plan that had been prepared by consultants and was used for a guide until about 1980. After that time, the City took a different approach and produced a very specific plan that was to be used as a guide for future development of the city. He noted this plan had been updated at five year intervals. Mr. Bondra described the current zoning map as being very specific with many categories of land use. He explained that it has not worked very well because it is very difficult to anticipate what is going to happen on every street and every intersection in the City.
Mr. Bondra related that in 1998, staff began the process of updating the detailed Land Use Plan, and the Planning and Zoning Commission came up with a recommendation to make roughly 20 changes to this plan. When this information was forwarded to the Council, they decided to try a different approach and directed the staff to look at other forms of land use planning to come up with something different and more innovative. At that time, he said staff obtained example plans from cities throughout the nation and ended up reviewing 12 to 15 of them. It was found that many of the plans were similar to Columbia's -- they were on the rigid side. However, staff did find several plans that had taken a more general approach to land use planning and that is the basis for the Metro 2020 plan.
Mr. Bondra explained the new version of the plan has about five categories and groups many kinds of land uses together into those categories. He said it is very general in nature, but does include a document which is the 2020 Community Structure Plan that outlines guidelines for development. Mr. Bondra pointed out another significant change is that this plan goes outside the City limits to encompass the metro study area. He noted that the culmination of this work has been a joint effort between the City and the County. Mr. Bondra indicated staff obtained quite a bit of input from the County and had incorporated the County's adopted general plan as the outlying area from the City.
After several Council work sessions regarding the proposed Metro 2020 plan, Mr. Bondra explained that the Council directed staff to make several changes to this document. Those changes have been incorporated in the latest version dated June 6, 2000. One significant change had been the elimination of Appendix A, which contained a list of potential issues that had caused quite a bit of consternation and confusion. He explained that staff took parts of Exhibit A and incorporated them into the plan document. In addition, some other controversial issues will be sent back to the Planning and Zoning Commission to be considered, but not in the context of the plan. In addition to the changes directed by the Council, Mr. Bondra noted that the staff had met with Craig VanMatre, an attorney representing various entities in the development community. He commented that the Council had been sent a report detailing these recommendations at their last meeting. Mr. Bondra summarized the extent of Mr. VanMatre's proposal which made suggestions to clarify some of the confusion between the 2020 Plan and existing ordinances relating to density, and a perception as to whether the plan might supercede existing ordinances and regulations. Mr. Bondra reiterated that the plan document will be a guide for growth, annexation and zoning decisions. He said it will not override existing subdivision and zoning regulations, nor will it change zoning in existing neighborhoods.
Mayor Hindman opened the public hearing.
John Clark, 403 N. Ninth, noted in the objective section of the transportation section that the first item still reads "street system" rather than "transportation system". He stated the Planning and Zoning Commission had changed that wording before adopting the plan that was sent to the Council. Mr. Clark suggested that the proposed Metro 2020 plan be sent back to the Commission after receiving comments this evening. He asked that they be directed to facilitate joint meetings of representatives of the core constituencies that have indicated a big stake in the plan (the environmental community, the neighborhood association community, the Boone County Commission and people who live in the 200 square miles that are part of the proposed Plan). Mr. Clark asked that the Commission also be instructed to review the proposed plan with the objective of implementing the following: using performance standards and statements of purposes instead of specific rules; ensure that the implementation of the plan begins with a joint Columbia/Boone County assessment of the watersheds as a basis for meaningful planning for storm water control and sanitary sewers; and that the assessment specifically evaluate the potential impact of any I-70 expansion or bypass around Columbia. He believed the plan should identify areas that should be "off limits" to any development, or to minimal development. Mr. Clark asked that a time and date be set for a meeting when the plan will be thoroughly reviewed. He suggested that the Commission report back at the second Council meeting in October.
Barbara Hoppe, 607 Bluff Dale, spoke on behalf of the Coalition to Save the Stephens Lake Area. The group is in support of the designation of the Stephens Lake area as open space/greenbelt in the proposed plan. She noted the group is thankful the plan recognizes that as Columbia continues to grow, preserving park land and open green space is crucial to enhance the quality of life that has been experienced in this community. Ms. Hoppe asked everyone in support of the open space designation for the Stephens Lake area to stand. Approximately seven dozen people stood.
Davika Thomas, 1506 Wilson, spoke on behalf of a newly formed citizens group concerned about preserving the water quality of Gans Creek and Clear Creek. The group believed that designating Gans Road as an arterial roadway would create the same type of problems that are now being experienced on Nifong. Ms. Thomas said it would increase sprawl at citizens expense, both to their pocketbooks and to their quality of life. The group is in opposition to the planned commercial and employment zone shown on the proposed plan at the intersection of Gans Road and US 63, now part of the Phillips Farm. She explained that plans for the area include about 200 acres of commercial development surrounded by high density housing. The zone is located next to Gans Creek and any development would seriously degrade the water quality in this area.
In addition, Ms. Thomas explained that Gans Creek has been designated by the State as an outstanding state resource water, and that the Outstanding State Resource Waters Act gives extra protection to this area. She commented that the Act states that the water quality of the stream shall not be degraded any further than at the time the measure passed. Ms. Thomas said any future development of this area could lead to ground water contamination. She asked those in support of the group's views to stand. Approximately six dozen people stood. The group requested that the Phillips Farm be designated as planned green space, to remove Gans Road as an arterial roadway, and for the map to show a second tier of greenbelt connecting the State Park, the Phillips Farm, and area streams.
Michael Goldschmidt, a northern Boone County resident, spoke on behalf of The Friends of Rockbridge Memorial State Park regarding their concerns with the Phillips Tract. He said it is still unknown what the affect a commercial and employment district will have on Rockbridge Memorial State Park. He commented the group would rather see a philosophy that encourages developers to produce a really good plan that will ensure a very low environmental impact on the area.
Dan Simon, an attorney with offices at 203 Executive Building, spoke on behalf of Stephens College, with respect to the Stephens Lake property. He noted that the proposed Metro 2020 plan calls for open space/greenbelt at this site, and added that the College strongly objects to that designation. Mr. Simon reported Stephens has asked that this area be placed in an undesignated status until such time as discussions with the City and the land use people over the possible acquisition of the property culminates satisfactorily to everybody. He noted that the College requested that this property be placed in a commercial and employment district if it has to be designated at all. Mr. Simon indicated that it is understood it would place the City in a difficult position to change the classification at this point in time (to commercial and employment), so the College is willing to accept a compromise that would place it in an undesignated status. He said they cannot accept the status of greenbelt and open space because the property will not be a greenbelt or open space unless the City or another entity chooses to acquire it for that use.
From the College's point of view, Mr. Simon stated the property's future as vacant, recreational land are numbered. He related that Stephen's representatives are now in the process of initiating discussions with the City about the College's current Master Plan for its campus. He commented the master plan was filed last Friday, and the Stephens Lake tract was found to be in excess, surplus, and no longer necessary to the College's academic purpose. However, the recommendation was that the property be maximized and its use be held for future commercial development purposes.
Mr. Simon stated the City was given the first opportunity to discuss the acquisition of the property in good faith, and the College intends to abide by that agreement. However, in order to act in good faith, they need reciprocal good faith. One of the conditions set forth was that the property not be placed in a classification that would be totally contrary to the College's stated goals for its future use. Mr. Simon indicated the College views the greenbelt/open space status as being a breach of that condition. He reported that Stephens representatives cannot negotiate in good faith with people who hold the power to control the use of their land if they are not going to receive reciprocal good faith treatment. He asked that everyone keep an open mind and that they be permitted to go forward with the discussions which they are very hopeful will culminate successfully. Mr. Simon asked that the Stephens Lake property be placed in an undesignated status so the discussions can proceed.
Mike Shirk, 3000 Shoreside, spoke on behalf of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. He assured the Council that the Chamber's perspective is and will always remain to encourage the responsible growth of business and business opportunities in the Columbia area. Mr. Shirk said additional regulations, no matter how well intended, will always have the affect of reducing competition. As these issues are listed in the proposed Metro 2020 plan, the Chamber believed the regulations would cause such an increase in cost that potential new businesses might conclude that their operations would be better located elsewhere. Mr. Shirk reported the Chamber also concluded that regulations that are based more on aesthetics than any other purpose cause a cost increase in doing business without a corresponding benefit. He requested that the City focus on the purpose of what is to be achieved with the Metro 2020 plan, and the impact it will have on business outside of aesthetics.
Mr. Shirk commented the Chamber also thought if the Council wants to view the plan as primarily a guide or a generalized vision of the future, that it be marked so on every page -- a statement saying that the document is meant as a guide and is not meant as regulation or law. He said the consensus is that the proposed plan comes off as both anti-growth and anti-business. He reminded the Council that the City cannot function based on tax revenues it derives from property taxes on residential properties -- business plays a large part into what goes on in Columbia. Mr. Shirk listed examples of regulations the Chamber felt to be tedious, which were outlined in the statement he distributed to the Council. He reported that the Chamber members are asking that the Council not adopt the plan in its current form, to send it back to allow for more study, more meetings with individual groups, and more study with the Boone County Commission.
David Robinson, 2009 Elliot, spoke on behalf of the East Walnut Neighborhood Association. He related that residents are concerned about the impermeable surfaces on the surrounding parking lots. Mr. Robinson reported this neighborhood is a balanced one with some high density housing, lots of rental properties, and homeowners like himself. He stated the neighborhood association is opposed to changing the designation of the Stephens Lake area as suggested by Mr. Simon. He said they are prepared to work with the City staff, Stephens College representatives, and other coalitions to keep Columbia the great place it is.
Thomas Moran, 413 W. Walnut, voiced his concern about Stephens College and the Lake area. He spoke in favor of condemning the property and taking it for parkland. On behalf of the Osage Group of the Sierra Club, he commented that members are also concerned about the Stephens Lake Area because it is a prime spot for a greenbelt. In addition, the Osage group is concerned about the potential for sprawl as well. Mr. Moran also spoke about the group's concern regarding the Phillips tract.
Steve Willey, a realtor with offices at 312 Guitar Building, asked that the City proceed very cautiously with the plan if it is perceived to be really needed. He noted the City has regular zoning and subdivision regulations, in addition to the Transportation, Housing, Parks and Utility Plans. Mr. Willey pointed out that the current Land Use Plan was established years ago. He reported these plans have served Columbia fairly well. Mr. Willey acknowledged the building and housing codes have also served the City adequately. He believed the enforcement of this "guide" would be something very nebulous. Mr. Willey asked if the city really needed additional plans in order to ensure the growth of Columbia. He presumed the proposed Metro 2020 plan would add greatly to the workload of the City staff and would create an onerous situation for the administrators of it. He theorized that a citizen who is trying to make an application is going to get snagged along the way because of all of the paperwork required as well as all of the rules and regulations that they must meet. Mr. Willey stated the application time would be extended, which would raise costs for both the City and the applicant.
Ken Midkiff, 1005 Belleview Court, spoke as a citizen and as the Missouri Director of the Sierra Club. He said the Club has worked very hard to get Gans Creek placed on the Outstanding State Resources Waters list, as well as assisting in the passage of the State parks and soils tax that supports the maintenance of Rockbridge State Park. Mr. Midkiff reported the group deems the arterial street and commercial and residential designation for this area completely and totally unacceptable. He asserted the Sierra Club will adamantly oppose through every legal means possible any attempt to carry out that portion of the plan.
Mr. Midkiff believed the proposed Metro 2020 plan begins with a flawed premise -- that Columbia needs to continue to grow. He stated the Sierra Club thinks that infinite growth in a finite space limits and impedes progress, and will ultimately harm the economic, aesthetic, environmental and other quality of life principles in this community. Mr. Midkiff commented if the plan is to represent a true community view, it should ascertain how to limit population growth, while simultaneously protecting the viability, vitality and dynamism in this community. Mr. Midkiff speculated that the citizens of this County do not want economic growth, and said there is no reason the City should be trying to protect the business interests of people who do not live here. He believed a plan should be developed that recognizes Columbia's interests. Mr. Midkiff asked how this document would prevent the sprawling developments that are intruding into the county, how it will protect local businesses from competing with outside interests who operate on a large scale, how it could have prevented the commercial mess around the Highway 63/I-70 junction, how it will encourage a viable, livable, bikable, hikable community if commercial developments are to be allowed over four miles from the City's center. Mr. Midkiff urged the planners to look at a secondary premise -- how big should Columbia be and at what point will it cease to be non-viable, non-dynamic and non-vital.
Sharon Lynch, 2708 Lacewood Drive, spoke on behalf of The Boone County Citizens for Good Government. She acknowledged it is true that there are some big corporate companies in Columbia, but we also have small, local businesses that are possible because of the vital, economically feasible community in which we live. She observed this community's only shortfall is the low one percent employment rate in Columbia. Ms. Lynch postulated the Metro 2020 Plan will have the most impact in affordable housing. Not only will engineering and legal fees be excessive when trying to determine exactly what this 84-page document says and how it specifically addresses development, she said it will affect housing values as well. Ms. Lynch reported there is currently a shortage of affordable housing in Columbia. She maintained the proposed Metro 2020 plan will only add to the cost of development and housing.
Ms. Lynch explained the group is also concerned about the shortage of City employees who are willing and able to address the specific issues shown in the proposed document. She reported the Boone County Citizens for Good Government group requested that the plan be sent back to the Planning and Zoning Commission for public hearings to include all of the interest groups. She stated there are too many private conversations going on that the public is not aware of, and the group believes that good government is open government.
Vernon Forbes, 1007 Grand, spoke on behalf of the Bicycle/Pedestrian Commission. According to The Oil and Gas Journal, he said that by the year 2020 60% of the oil reserves on the planet will be gone, and by 2090 all of it will be gone. Mr. Forbes indicated that he has reviewed the Bicycle Master Plan, and he commented that the current conditions of the bike routes are so deplorable and dangerous that officers in the Columbia Bicycle Club will not ride it. He said the City is not prepared for the future that is coming without oil. Mr. Forbes read the proposed changes the Commission would like to see made to the transportation goals (information was distributed to the Council).
Annie Pope, who spoke on behalf of the Home Builders Association, pointed out that the Land Use Goals of the Metro 2020 plan are to contain urban development within an area that can be economically and efficiently serviced by the City of Columbia, to guide and encourage high quality commercial and industrial development, and to promote high standards of environmental quality as it relates to water, air, and green space. Ms. Pope asked why it was not one of the goals of the plan to provide for the housing needs of the citizens of the City of Columbia. She noted that housing issues appear in only one objective under land use. The fact that providing for the housing needs of the citizens of Columbia is not one of the goals of this document is such a profound oversight that it is quite shocking and it is reflected in the entire plan. Ms. Pope believed the impact of the plan on housing in the City of Columbia is basically going to be twofold; it will substantially increase the cost of housing, and it will reduce home buyer choice in housing features. She asked that the plan be revised to reflect the importance of housing in the lives of every citizen living in this community.
Paul Land, a commercial real estate broker, pointed out inconsistencies on the Metro 2020 map. One involved the Woodrail Centre, located at the southwest corner of Nifong and Forum and containing 18 acres, was shown on the map as a neighborhood district. The other was Boone Industrial Park, located one-half mile outside the City limits on 763 North and currently containing over 300,000 square feet of industrial users on 30 acres of industrial zoned land, was also shown as a neighborhood district. Mr. Land asked how those uses could be shown in neighborhood districts when they are already in place as employment districts. In addition, he was concerned that the plan contains too many specifics, and words like "encourage", "should", "ideally", and "desirable" translate into must and expectations. Mr. Land maintained the document could be used to extract things not contemplated by current zoning ordinances. He enumerated items which were included in his letter sent to the Council. Mr. Land also passed out additional comments on behalf of the Columbia Board of Realtors.
Leslie Altemeyer, 2245 Bluff Boulevard, spoke on behalf of the Shepard Boulevard Neighborhood Association. She was happy to see the Stephens Lake property designated as green space on the Plan and asked that it remain that way.
Fred Springsteel, 311 Longfellow, spoke as a private citizen and as a member of the Energy and Environment Commission. He wondered what happened to Appendix A and indicated the E&E Commission had asked for a separate hearing on this section in regards to the environmental issues. Mr. Springsteel stated the Commission recognizes the value of the Metro 2020 Plan. In addition, he believed the mixed use idea of planning in communities and providing neighborhoods access to commercial uses was a great leap forward for Columbia. Mr. Springsteel went on to say that in Appendix A there had been 21 small sections about environmental issues, some of which are addressed already in chapters one through ten. Regarding street trees, landscaping, and tree preservation, he suggested that staff obtain input from Ken Midkiff. In addition, Mr. Springsteel suggested that PedNet representatives could furnish information relating to greenbelt and trail issues, and Cliff Balmer, of the USDA, could speak to storm water management, creeks and open space issues. In regards to Stephens Lake, Mr. Springsteel felt the Council has overriding concerns to protect the environment. He maintained that not developing the lake area would be the highest and best use of the 111 acres. He suggested that the City buy this tract from the College.
Kitty Rogers, 504 N. William, spoke as President of the Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association, asked that the City continue efforts to save Stephens Lake.
Clyde Wilson, 1719 University, spoke in support of preserving the green space shown on the proposed Metro 2020 Plan. In particular, he is interested in Stephens Lake not being developed. Regarding growth, Mr. Wilson noted it is unavoidable and desirable because that is the way people get employed. When growth stops, he explained that the first people not employed are those at the bottom of the economic ladder. He spoke about the number of parks and open spaces that have built up over the last 30 years, and said people are attracted to Columbia because we have developed certain conditions people look for. Mr. Wilson said while development and business is important, they are not the only issues that are important. He urged keeping the green spaces as designated on the Metro 2020 plan, and specifically the Stephens Lake area.
Matt Harline, 301 McNab, did not think there should be an undesignated area on the proposed Metro 2020 plan. He thought that would be too obvious of a special favor to a particular special interest. Mr. Harline did not think that would be appropriate in a comprehensive planning document. He believed the designation that is placed on the Stephens Lake area is very important, and he personally thought the most obvious one would be a neighborhood district. Mr. Harline acknowledged that does not preclude the purchase of the property, and it is also not an indication that the City will pay any price for the acquisition of such. He observed this area is clearly not the City's center, nor will it be the future site for an institution of higher learning. Mr. Harline remarked that the tract should obviously not have a commercial or industrial designation.
Rhonda Carlson, 1110 Willowcreek, said she had visited with Jeff Barrow and John Clark because the North Central Neighborhood Association had written a very interesting editorial. After reading the article, she realized the two groups were not that far apart. Ms. Carlson agreed with much of what Mr. Clark had said earlier, and agreed that the issue set forth in the proposed Metro 2020 plan needs to be revisited. If there are specific ordinance changes needed, these should be referred directly to the Planning and Zoning Commission and dealt with one at a time.
Ms. Carlson reported that she had appeared before the Council's last special meeting in February pertaining to the proposed Metro 2020 document and spoke to the issues addressed on Page 30 relating to uses and densities. She followed up with a letter sent in mid-March to the Council which specifically addressed single family and single family attached housing. Ms. Carlson noted that a density of 12 is being shown on Page 30 of the document. She asked if that is what will now be identified as condo's. She pointed out they have disappeared completely out of the plan. Ms. Carlson also wondered about the meaning of garden apartments. She requested that the Council review her letter of March 15 as her comments have not changed. She said if this is to be an advisory document, it should follow the current zoning ordinances or those ordinances need to be amended. Ms. Carlson spoke about affordability issues. She commented that she is not a builder of big, expensive homes in Columbia, and something she has struggled with is the cost of affordable housing. She said this document is full of items that will add to the affordability of homes in Columbia.
Becky Sterling, 4605 Apple Tree Lane, a realtor, noted that Columbia has become a hub for retirees and affordability is a key issue. When costs increase to small businesses, those costs are then passed along to the consumer -- the same as occurs in the housing industry. She asked if there would be a fiscal impact statement to go along with the implementation of the plan. If there is not, Ms. Sterling strongly urged, along with revisiting the plan, that some sort of fiscal impact study be done as well.
Larry Grossman, 3205 Westcreek Circle, was afraid that someone may have left the impression that area businesses support unrestricted growth. He explained the opposite is true -- the business community would definitely like to see a plan implemented. Mr. Grossman reported that business owners want fair and reasonable rules to govern the way they conduct their business. He asked if it is reasonable to dictate the number of feet of landscaping that should surround a building. He thought that could be addressed in a landscaping plan, and assumed it was. Mr. Grossman spoke about his preference for cul-de-sacs. He wondered why the number of cul-de-sacs in the community needs to be decreased.
Becky Wagner, 3210 Gazelle, explained that she has been a realtor in Columbia for 23 years and is also concerned about affordable housing. Since 1990, she noted that the average sale price of a home has gone up 49%, while incomes have not increased by that much. It has been estimated that Columbia's population in 2020 will increase by 28,920 people. If the average sale price of a home is presently $132,600 and increases 49% every decades, she estimated the average sale price in 2020 will be approximately $295,000. As Ms. Wagner interprets the plan, she said growth is so restricted that many landowners and rural subdivisions that might elect to be incorporated into the City of Columbia will no longer want to do so. She stated that additional tax revenues which the City hopes to generate will not be forthcoming, and the bedroom communities that the Metro 2020 plan seeks to evade will become a reality because these districts will offer affordable housing plus the trees, the green space, city services, good schools, and less taxes. Ms. Wagner related that bedroom communities will have the local grocery, dry cleaner, café, bank, etc., and for larger items people will continue to travel to St. Louis, Kansas City or Columbia as they do now.
Ms. Wagner reported that various groups have tried to provide verbal input to the staff in regards to the proposed document, but they have been met with limited success. In order to meet the need for projected housing and jobs in the year 2020, Ms. Wagner asked that the plan be sent back to the drawing board for more revamping.
Beth Hartley, 1620 Bold Ruler Ct., CEO of the Columbia Board of Realtors, encouraged those who draft documents and legislation such as this to use the members of this group as a resource. She reported that had not occurred with the drafting of the proposed Metro 2020 plan, and she believed for 18 months the communication has been pretty much one-way.
John Pascucci, 3104 Timberhill Trail, suggested that input be solicited from the school district as the proposed Metro 2020 plan should be coordinated with them.
Linda Rootes, 807 N. Eighth, spoke as President of the North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association. She said the recent course of development in Columbia in the last few years has been to drain resources and vitality from the central city out to the suburbs. Ms. Rootes indicated her neighborhood is interested in any kind of plan that would reverse that trend and would keep the central city vital as one of the plan's goals. She noted that residents are also concerned that people in the community are not interested in buying homes in the central city because there is the perception that it is too big of a risk to purchase a home in an area where the future is not very certain. Ms. Rootes remarked that the NCCNA had a few concerns about the plan map as well.
Dennis Knudson, 2100 Southwood, spoke on behalf of the Hinkson Creek Valley Association. He suggested leaving the Stephens Lake property as an open space and greenbelt area until the purchase of such is decided. He believed changing it to an undesignated area would throw a whole different light on the situation.
Alyce Turner, 2194 E. Bearfield, spoke as a resident and as a County representative of the Energy and Environment Commission. She applauded the City and the Planning Department for attempting to create a planning document for growth that promotes the environmental quality in the City of Columbia. She said the Commission had been aware that Appendix A was a concern among many people in the environmental community, but it has since been noted that a number of the issues (i.e., tree ordinance and lighting aspect) outlined in that section have been referred to the Planning Department. Ms. Turner acknowledged these points have not been dropped from the document.
David Davis, a realtor for 18 years in Columbia, said the Council is at the threshold of a great opportunity of coming together with all of the groups represented this evening as a citizen's advisory group or task force to work with the Council to develop a document for the future. He did not think anyone was opposed to having a plan, and asked the Council to take that as a consideration of appointing some kind of panel to work on the issue.
Bob Walters, 2704 Vail, spoke as a realtor developing residential property in town. He asked that the compatibility guidelines outlined on Page 20, in Section 3.3 of the plan document be stated more clearly. Mr. Fleck explained these guidelines would not apply if a subdivision plat has been submitted. In addition, he noted the language was modified and that the preliminary plat reference had been eliminated. Mr. Walters pointed out the change had been omitted in the draft copy.
Jeff Barrow, on behalf of the Greenbelt Coalition of Mid-Missouri, thanked the staff and Council for incorporating some of their suggestions into the document. He emphasized that greenbelts and creek corridors should be perceived as more than just a place to build trails; although where trails are appropriate, the Coalition supports and commends the City for seeking funds and outside sources to pay for such. He stressed the value these areas have to provide storm water control and quality, in addition to providing a habitat for plant and wildlife. Mr. Barrow reported the Coalition believed the plan can be an important document for clarifying the importance of these greenbelts for the City. He remarked that this group would like to see all of the streams in the City designated as greenbelts and open space. The Greenbelt Coalition also thought that the Metro 2020 plan should set guidelines for riparian vegetation and Mr. Barrow recommended that staff contact the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forestry Service for their guidelines. He noted that the Coalition is also in support of seeing the Stephens Lake area protected as green space. He said that Hinkson Creek is already an impaired waterway deserving of special attention. Mr. Barrow also spoke about the concern relating to the proposed LeMone Boulevard extension over Grindstone Creek, as well as the Stadium Boulevard extension, and the possible affects these projects will have on the Creek.
Janet Hammen, 1416 Wilson, spoke as the Chair of the East Campus Neighborhood Association. She explained that the Association voted months ago to encourage the open space/greenbelt designation for the Stephens Lake property. Ms. Hammen encouraged the Council to do whatever is necessary to purchase this tract for the greater good of the community.
Cindy Sheltmire, 1908 Tremont, explained that she has been a realtor in Columbia for 16 years. She perceived the thrust of the Metro 2020 plan to be geared toward a smaller, more condensed and compact pedestrian community. In her 16 years selling real estate, Ms. Sheltmire reported that she had very seldom received a customer complaint about home lots being too big. She stated people want more space, more privacy, more room, a bigger yard -- they do not want smaller lots. While the idea of a pedestrian community sounds very nice, Ms. Sheltmire said she was not sure that was what the consumer wants, nor was she sure that it will enhance the property values. Regarding cul-de-sac lots, she commented these tracts are more marketable and usually have a little higher value. She believed this document discourages cul-de-sac lots, or in the alternative, the establishment of pedestrian walkway easements through these lots. Ms. Sheltmire remarked that individuals who purchase homes on cul-de-sacs want privacy, they do not want people traipsing through their lots. She asked that the cul-de-sac situation be readdressed before adoption of the plan.
Tom Lotta, 2194 E. Bearfield, noted that Gans Creek is one of few creeks that does not have a greenbelt. He also spoke about affordable housing and noted with a one percent employment rate, the City probably needs more affordable housing and less commercial development. Mr. Lotta believed the proposed plan has an excellent neighborhood concept that would provide small commercial establishments in residential areas. His final suggestion was closing Rock Quarry Road through Rockbridge State Park, particularly if Gans Road is going to be made into an arterial street. Mr. Lotta indicated if this road is closed, he would like to see it be converted to a bike trail.
Chip Cooper, 500 Longfellow, spoke on behalf of the PedNet Coalition. He stated this group's common interest is to make Columbia one of, if not the most, bicycle/pedestrian/wheelchair friendly community in America in the next 20 years. Mr. Cooper remarked the plan is in great part an attempt to visualize the kind of community PedNet wishes to create over the next 20 years. He reported that the Steering Committee requested that the Council incorporate the recommendations made by the Bicycle/Pedestrian Commission which included an additional transportation goal in Section 2.1 to direct the City "to encourage biking, walking, skating, and wheeling in order to accommodate increasing population density to reduce urban sprawl, to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and to enhance public health, fitness, and well-being."
John Pekkala, 4350 N. Route E, a realtor, suggested getting rid of the plan altogether and then slowly dismantling the hoops that one must jump through. He believed that planning is good for roads, but he did not see any point to the proposed Metro 2020 document except for the purpose of land grabbing.
Elaine Kaputacrouch, 109 Westwood, said a way must be found to save the downtown district. She believed one way to save this area is by creating greenbelts. Ms. Kaputacrouch asked that the Council pursue the purchase of Stephens Lake and that it be made into an affordable recreational area for the entire city. She also noted that if the City is going to be made more livable, it needs a more usable public transportation system.
Tony Davis, 4655 Rock Quarry Road, vice-president of the Clear Creek Neighborhood Association, stated for the last seven or eight years this group has been involved in developments that are occurring in the upper Little Bonne Femme Creek Watershed. He reported the Association would like to see the Council continue to focus on the upper Little Bonne Femme Creek Watershed as it relates to development, while also carefully considering density and the importance of this geographical area. Mr. Davis remarked that the group suggests that the document should encourage developers to work with area residents prior to plans coming before the City for approval.
Joe Bindbeutel, 1701 E. Gans Road, described himself as a veteran of a few modest land use wars in the southern part of the City. He suggested that the areas on the proposed map designated as neighborhood districts will not, in fact, be all residential developments. Mr. Bindbeutel stated there will be considerably more green space when the area is all filled in. He believed the map is terribly biased toward development pressure. He observed the designation of commercial districts are mainly along high traffic corridors where infrastructure is in place; however, the property known as the Phillips tract in the southeast area of Columbia has also received such a designation. Mr. Bindbeutel noted there is no transportation or sewer infrastructure in place at this location, but for some reason the process in making land use decisions over the last decade to ensure that commercial areas are viable and workable has been bypassed in this case. In addition, he pointed out that there is more budding commercial development along south Highway 63. Mr. Bindbeutel commented this is a problem along the entire corridor to Ashland. He suggested a process where builders must meet with developers and local citizens to preview these matters before proposals can be presented to the City for approval.
Hindman closed the public hearing.
Mayor Hindman thanked everyone for their input and explained that further work sessions would be held on the issue. Whatever direction the Council may decide to take, Mayor Hindman noted that another hearing will be held at which time further public comment will be encouraged.
The meeting adjourned at 9:50 p.m.