UPDATE: high school sub-area plan findings

After a very minimal amount of digging, a discussion draft intended to guide the nitty-gritty of the sub-area plan has popped up. Patrick Zenner, development services manager for the Columbia department of planning and development, was kind enough to provide the document.

It outlines the priorities of the Columbia and Boone County Joint Planning and Zoning Commission to the folks that are now putting together the actual final draft. It is not an early version of the final draft – all the details are not final and in a lot of cases not even there, and the language is fairly casual – which is kind of a letdown but there is still some interesting stuff to pore over.

Finding #1:

“It can’t be overstated how important specific traffic studies to address the impact are when further development is proposed in the immediate area of the high school.”

This isn’t too surprising because a bulk of the concern from folks in the area was about traffic and transportation issues. The high school and area development will generate a lot of traffic.

The Joint Commission can’t make decisions about the design of the high school property itself but they also suggested “CPS should, however, consider the impact of traffic ingress and egress when making decisions about open-lunch periods and open or closed campus status.”

Finding #2:

“Maintaining existing green space is important and most of the area will remain low-density, single-family, owner-occupied residential with some homes being on large lots and others in clusters. A smaller portion will serve multi-family housing [or mixed use residential]. Any high-density residential development should be compatible with surrounding uses and include landscape buffers to reduce noise, visibility and traffic impacts, and have adequate street and utility capacity.”

This segment speaks to the character of the area that the joint commission has in mind. It appears that they are forming an area similar to that behind Rock Bridge High School, a large area of single-family homes.

The residential areas will include pockets of light commercial that the Metro 2020 Plan describes as Neighborhood Commons. They are designed to provide essentials to the community such as “food markets, doctors’ offices, barber shops, coffee houses and other services incidental to residential needs.” It’s nice to see that a coffee house has become a residential need.

Finding #3: Tax Increment Financing

To block quote this would have driven some folks mad so… Essentially, the joint commission thinks that “governing and advisory bodies should consider” the “likelihood of developers applying for tax increment financing.” This will decrease “property tax revenue stream” and should be taken into “consideration for approval of” development.

Finding #4:

The proposed, yet not identified, location for an elementary school carries with it distinct recommendations from that of the high school area.

Unlike the high school, which they suggest should have a buffer between it and adjacent properties to limit disturbances, the joint commission says “elementary schools are best situated in the midst of the residential area, with an interconnected system of sidewalks, (and) bike paths.”

Also, because commercial development around the elementary school will be similar to the “neighborhood commons” commercial with residential neighborhoods, the commission speculates that commercial developers will likely apply for a transportation development district to share the costs of “off-site improvements” such as roads and sidewalks.

Those are the highlights that we found interesting but if you would like to read the draft for yourself, feel free by clicking here.

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