The City Council of the City of Columbia, Missouri met for a special meeting at 7:00 p.m., on Monday February 28, 2000, in the Council Chamber of the City of Columbia, Missouri. The roll was taken with the following results: Council members CROCKETT, CAMPBELL, JOHN, COFFMAN, HINDMAN, and JANKU were present. Member CRAYTON was absent. The City Manager, City Clerk, and members of the Planning staff were present.
Mayor Hindman explained that this special meeting was being held in order to conduct a public hearing on the proposed Metro 2020 Plan. He noted that no action would be taken by the Council.
PUBLIC HEARING - METRO 2020 PLAN
Mayor Hindman opened the public hearing.
Craig VanMatre, an attorney with offices at 1103 E. Broadway, distributed a letter to the Council containing comments relating to the plan. His concerns surfaced primarily in context to the Westbury Village rezoning request that was approved by the Council last week. Mr. VanMatre feared the language in the plan will become much more restrictive and binding on developers than it is intended to be. He believed the 2020 Plan is intended to be a guideline, and he suggested statements be inserted that allow for when circumstances are appropriate, one may deviate from the guidelines. Another concern was the greenbelt concept. Although very popular, Mr. VanMatre argued it has the effect of designating privately owned property for which there may be other ideas.
Nan Collins, 1201 Paquin, said she previously spoke in support of the Metro 2020 Plan and emphasized the importance of Chapter 10 for protection of Columbia's neighborhoods and environment. She reported there had been opposition to this section that later relegated Chapter 10 to nothing more than the appendix. She felt that made it useless. Ms. Collins said that Chapter 10 was the citizen's defense against greedy developers that would squeeze all they could get out of the land without regard to the neighborhood or the environment. She asked that Chapter 10 be restored.
Chip Cooper, 500 Longfellow, distributed the Bicycle
and Pedestrian Commission's proposed changes to the Metro 2020 Plan draft.
He noted that the draft was based on the original plan that the Planning
and Zoning Commission worked from and does not reflect the changes made since
then. Mr. Cooper said the Commission recognizes the diligent efforts of the
staff and the Planning and Zoning Commission to address bicycle and pedestrian
issues. He noted the Commission is recommending very little that is not conceptually
already included in the plan.
Mr. Cooper related that the changes are meant to amplify the document. First, the Commission believes that accommodations for non-motorized transport should be viewed as basic infrastructure rather than something that is optional. They see it as an essential part of the transportation system on an equal footing with streets and the investment made to facilitate motorized transport. He noted on Page 8, the Commission offered an expansion of the transportation goals by encouraging pedestrian/non-motorized transport in order to relieve automobile traffic congestion and the deleterious effects of excessive dependence on motorized transport. Throughout the document, Mr. Cooper pointed out that they eliminated references to "the street system" and replaced this phrase with "transportation system". Secondly, they see open space in the greenbelt district as having primary uses that go beyond "providing for the recreational and aesthetic needs of residents" and have added "pedestrian/non-motorized transport" as a use in several references. Thirdly, referring to Page 41, Mr. Cooper noted the reference to an interconnected trail system. Because they saw an opportunity to marry the growing interest in non-motorized transport with the unique assets provided by the existing greenbelt and its growing trail network, he said they inserted the term "PedNet" to describe the interconnected trail network. Turning back to Page 9, he further illustrated the concept of the PedNet by the addition of the following sentences that reads as follows: "Encourage and provide facilities for pedestrian/non-motorized travel through the development and implementation of an integrated pedestrian network master plan (PedNet). The PedNet Master plan should include plans for the completion of the MKT Trail Hub which will connect the MKT, Hinkson, and Bear Creek Trails, as well as the development of trail spokes radiating into and away from the hub in order to provide convenient and safe pedestrian/bicycle access for all neighborhoods, existing and future." Mr. Cooper outlined that although the Commission not spend much time on Chapter 10, there are a number of areas that are of interest to pedestrians and bicyclists. He gave as an example (Page 58), street trees. Finally, he noted a need to coordinate with the County on some of the issues. He said if the greenbelt trail loop is to be completed, the Perche Creek valley would be necessary to connect to the existing trail on the west side -- which is located in the county. Mr. Cooper submitted to the Council the Commission's first draft of the PedNet Master plan.
Paul Land, 2005 Robin Terrace, distributed to the Council
a summary which he briefly recounted. He also displayed on the overhead a
comparison of the current land use plan and that which is proposed by the
Metro 2020 Plan. Mr. Land reported the first map showed 14 zoning districts,
while the second map showed only five. He stated that although he has no
concerns to this generalized approach, he thinks it can lead to a confusing
picture for the consumer. Within the neighborhood district, he said there
are two permitted commercial applications -- neighborhood centers and community
marketplaces. Mr. Land believed the Metro map presented some omissions that
should be addressed. He reported that the 2020 Plan shows neighborhood districts
in areas where substantial commercial or employment districts are currently
operating, and employment districts are shown in areas where substantial
residential districts are currently operating. His point was that if Columbia
is going to have this sort of generalized plan, there should also be a plan
depicting existing zoning in a condensed format. Mr. Land referred the Council
to Page 40 of the plan and its determination that neighborhood centers are
not to be located along arterial streets and are not intended as commercial
areas. He explained that it goes on to identify three uses which he thought
should be defined as commercial uses -- small professional offices and clinics,
neighborhood markets, and other small businesses. He found that confusing.
In four instances within the document Mr. Land related that the plan specifies that there will be no changes to the underlying zoning or changes in the subdivision ordinances when the Metro 2020 Plan is enacted. Yet, he observed references made in Appendix A relating to changes in the zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations based upon the recommendations outlined in this section. He thought Appendix A should be removed from the document. Regarding impervious surfaces and landscaping, Mr. Land explained that zoning regulations call for 15% landscaping in open districts and 20% in planned districts. The way he interpreted the plan led him to believe this will be increased to a 30% landscaping requirement.
Bill Weitkemper, President of the Columbia Apartment Association, 1808 Sunrise Drive, thanked the Planning staff and Commission for meeting with the Association to explain the earlier drafts of the plan. He also thanked them for incorporating some of their suggestions. Mr. Weitkemper reported the Association's only significant problem with the plan is the discrimination against three bedroom duplexes. He explained the Metro 2020 Plan calls for one and two bedroom units being required to have a density of ten dwelling units per acre, while three bedroom units would be required to have a density of five units per acre. Mr. Weitkemper believed that parking was the reasoning behind it. The Association proposed rather than establishing classes of duplexes, that instead the City look toward adjusting the parking requirement based on the number of bedrooms in a unit.
Pat Danner, President of the Boone County League of Women Voters, 1009 Westwinds, reported her organization believes that land ownership, whether public or private, carries the responsibility of stewardship. The group supports planning which reflects the conservation and wise management of resources to assure their future availability. She said that many of the goals and objectives and specific proposals have merit. Ms. Danner also outlined suggestions the League would like to see considered. They are as follows: to identify and protect fragile, environmentally sensitive areas where development would result in irreversible damage; restrict development in watersheds if needed to protect stream or groundwater quality; encourage and promote preservation of farmland and open space through programs, such as purchase of development rights and establishment of a conservation fund; encourage development closer to the City core by instituting a development impact fee that is based on location and the actual costs of providing the development with City services, such as water, storm and sanitary sewage facilities, as well as fire and other emergency services; encourage in-fill development near the City core first; and expand communication and cooperation with the County regarding land use measures. Ms. Danner provided the Council with a copy of her written statement.
Nicholas Peckham, 15 S. Tenth, spoke about the basic planning notion of an interconnected grid of streets, particularly for the major entrances and exits for the community. He noted more and more traffic jams have occurred in recent years and the City would be better off if the number of ways to get in and out of the downtown area is increased. In all cases, Mr. Peckham suggested the Council should avoid creating a law that would limit a building to a single use. He reported as the economy changes, people need to be given the opportunity to bring other ideas forward for uses of buildings. Mr. Peckham spoke about the need for staying within the urban growth boundary (metro boundary) to create a workable and walkable community.
Fred Springsteel, 311 Longfellow, thought the Metro 2020 Plan as a whole was presently at a pretty good stage. He suggested that green space easements be required, in addition to expecting every new development to maintain 10% in open space or dedicated parkland. Mr. Springsteel believed Columbia's biggest land issue problems to be in four parts; the difficulty in restabilizing disturbed water channels, flood plain development, allowing a watershed to have an impervious area greater than 10%, and the lack of bio swales.
Steve Willey, 312 Guitar Building, spoke to new urbanism and the part of the plan that allows walkability between residential and commercial developments. He thought the plan should focus on how this is all going to come together. Mr. Willey related if the City is going to allow the introduction of commercial businesses into residential areas, perhaps this should occur at the intersection of an arterial and a collector street -- unless the commercial area is going to be very small in size. Specifically, he was referring to the area along West Broadway going south toward Scott Boulevard. Mr. Willey touched on the developments that had been recently approved by the Council and in looking forward, he could picture the possibility of this section of Broadway looking like the Business Loop. He believed the Tosini project would have been better located at the corner of Chapel Hill Road and Scott Boulevard. His point was that a big commercial project should be situated at the intersection of a collector and arterial street rather than a residential and arterial street. Mr. Willey thought Columbia should cherish our residential neighborhoods.
Jeff Barrow, 1007 Coats, spoke on behalf of the Greenbelt Coalition of Mid-Missouri. He noted the Coalition is particularly pleased with the large amount of area devoted to open space and the greenbelt. When looking at the map, Mr. Barrow commented that was probably the most visually compelling aspect of the plan -- the foresight and organization the City is exhibiting in protecting the greenbelt. Even if land is not suitable for non-motorized transportation or recreation, he said it could work to the public benefit by storing and cleaning storm water.
Ben Londeree, 2601 Chapel Wood Terrace, noted everyone is interested in a lot of things as long as it does not directly affect them. He thought most people would think the plan was acceptable as long as it was not imposed on them. Mr. Londeree did not think residents want commercial uses within a quarter mile of their homes. He cautioned the Council about getting carried away with ideas that the consumers really do not want for themselves. Mr. Londeree believed people want cul-de-sacs or neighborhoods that cannot be accessed by going from point A to point B. He thought residents do not want thru traffic, and added that connectivity creates problems because people lose the isolation they want. Mr. Londeree was concerned that mixed use neighborhoods may be tolerable for the first five or ten years, but he postulated these had the potential for turning into slums after that because nobody wants to live next to these commercial areas. He stressed taking into consideration what the average consumer wants.
Norman Lenhardt, 1118 St. Christopher, disagreed with the report in that it said the City does not have sprawl. He suggested that the Council encourage developers to take advantage of the infrastructure already in place. When developers are forced to the outside, this infringes on farmland. Mr. Lenhardt explained one technique for preventing sprawl is to make developers pay the true cost of the infrastructure. He pointed out that public transportation viability has not been taken into consideration. Mr. Lenhardt observed that 12,000 people per square mile are necessary for a viable system. He said the only group meeting that number is the medium density apartment housing at 13,305 people per square mile. Mr. Lenhardt indicated he would send copies of his notes for distribution to the Council.
Waldo Palmer, 414 Alexander, asked that this plan not be set in concrete. He commented that he has lived in Columbia for 88 years and he thought it was one of the best places in the country to reside. In regards to parking, Mr. Palmer commented that neighborhood businesses should be required to provide sufficient parking for their customers so it will not overflow into the street.
Glen Rice, 114 Hubbell, explained that the community
structure map showed the area between College, Tenth, Walnut, and Rogers
as being part of the City Center. He said that is the area in which he lives
and assured everyone there are indeed some single family residences in the
area. He said probably half are single family residences with not all of
them being owner occupied.
Mr. Rice was concerned about Section 75, paragraph one, stating that single family residences should be considered transitional uses in the City Center. He said many of the houses on Hubbell are 70 years old or more. Mr. Rice did not consider that transitional. As for adaptive reuse, mentioned in the same paragraph, he was not sure how much high density reuse value there is in a 800 square foot house. He noted many of the homes on Hubbell, St. Joseph, St. James, and Park Avenue are this size. He felt that was setting up those streets for the bulldozers. Mr. Rice asked that the paragraph be removed or somehow rewritten in a way that does not specifically encourage high density use to the detriment of medium density or single family use. He wondered if this area was included in the City Center so the downtown area could be linked to Columbia College. Mr. Rice suggested that if the City is trying to provide some kind of corridor between downtown and Columbia College, that the residential area north of Walnut between Tenth and Eighth Streets also be included. He asked the map to be changed to protect his neighborhood as much as any other neighborhood in the central area.
In addition, Mr. Rice asked the Council to consider changing Section 74, paragraph five, to read something like, "a transition of land use intensities should be encouraged to buffer neighborhood districts next to and within the City Center." He said there are places near the City Center where people live in a single family or low density setting. Mr. Rice believed it was inappropriate to encourage high density.
Don Laird, 1205 LaRail, spoke on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce. He noted that the Chamber has met with many groups to discuss the document. He explained that the Chamber Board endorsed the concept of the Metro 2020 Plan and then asked some of the board members, along with representation from their Government Affairs Committee, to continue discussions. Mr. Laird explained that the Chamber has a few specific concerns relating to access to commercial property and basic definitions. He related another reservation they had was with the material shown in the appendix. Mr. Laird reported the Chamber felt the comments were not relative to the plan and that they should not be included. In addition, he reported the group felt that the City should force dialogue that will define this document, especially with County government, public schools and others. Mr. Laird indicated the Chamber's major concern pertains to the interpretation of this document by future Councils.
Bob Badal, Provost of Stephens College, stated the College had earlier expressed concerns about the plan. He commented the document may purport to be something less than what it someday could become. Mr. Badal believed the map itself is misleading and should be labeled as the 1999 Metro map. He related it should be kept as a side document to establish where the City is today and then the Metro 2020 Plan could be used for future development. Mr. Badal noted some inconsistencies in the document. In reading the description of the City Center, he felt Stephens College property should also be included in this category. He pointed out in the current plan, the college is not all shown. Mr. Badal stated two particular pieces of property that are part of the college plan are not in the City Center according to the map. He explained that the other colleges are not being treated in this manner. He believed that the document already shows a marked meaning to be interpreted as a sort of overlay of zoning regulations, already cited before going through the hearing process, as a document that should somehow guide planning. He asked the Council to be quite careful before continuing with it. Mr. Badal reminded the Council that they had already received a letter from the College outlining these concerns.
Linda Rootes, 807 N. Eighth, spoke on behalf of the Board of Directors of the North Central Neighborhood Association. She said the Association noted some things about the map in the northeast section of their neighborhood and had asked for consideration of some adjustments. She said the Commission had recommended the changes. In regards to the City Center, Ms. Rootes indicated the Association is generally encouraged about the direction of it -- the compatibility guidelines and the reinforcement of the kind of downtown neighborhood they would like to have. However, they are hopeful something could be worked out to protect the pockets of single family homes that Mr. Rice mentioned earlier, short of having this area declared a historic district, in order to establish some sort of protection. Ms. Rootes was also hopeful a way could be found for the map to give strong direction to future development without compromising the plans that owners have for their land now. She also wanted the map to be not only a way to develop a grid of streets, but also establish a grid of public transportation within the different community commercial areas so that residents can easily use that mode of travel.
Bob Walters, 2704 Vail, spoke on behalf of the Legislative Committee of the Board of Realtors, a group that has been monitoring the process of the Metro 2020 Plan. He explained this group has met with City staff on several occasions and would follow up with a comprehensive list of comments. Mr. Walters asked the Council to remember that Columbia is situated in rural America. As a realtor, he explained that he works with people who want the American dream - a 14,000 square foot lot with a single family detached house on it. As much as Mr. Walters admires and hopes to emulate some of the new urbanism developments seen in Florida, he thought this community should wait and see if they work. He asked the Council to think about where we are and what the prevailing mood is.
Rhonda Carlson, 1110 Willowcreek, noted that developers have repeatedly been told the Metro 2020 Plan will not change any of the underlying zoning categories. Referring to Page 36, she asked the Council to look very carefully at the uses and densities (Numbers 1-5) which do not match up with current zoning categories. For example, Ms. Carlson reported that condominiums are mentioned, but unless it is a garden apartment, it appeared that apartments would no longer be allowed in Columbia -- only condominiums. She indicated she would follow up with written documentation.
Mayor Hindman closed the public hearing.
Mayor Hindman thanked everyone for their participation and reported that all of the comments made this evening would be taken under consideration.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.