Northeast Area Plan to go before city council

A planning document intended to guide development near the future site of the new Columbia high school will go to the Columbia City Council.

At a joint meeting, Columbia and Boone County officials heard public testimony about a final draft of the plan, which suggests zoning and land use for the development of 3,104 acres north of Interstate 70 and mostly west of Route Z. The area in question is mostly rural, undeveloped and out of city limits.

The Northeast Columbia Area Plan suggests land use, road projects, infrastructure development, and residential and commercial zoning. Throughout the process, city and county officials have emphasized that the plan is intended to be a “living document” which will be updated every five years.

The document does not set policy on its own, but is intended to guide future policy.

The Columbia Public School District plans to build a new public high school in the area outside of the city, off of East St. Charles Road. The construction of the high school will inevitably bring development to the area. The question from a city planning standpoint, is how to prepare. The Northeast Development Plan is unique in that the city and the county have cooperated in the document’s creation.

The plan calls for owner-occupied and single-family housing, commercial development along Route Z and south of St. Charles Road and some light industrial uses along the I-70 corridor.

The plan also emphasizes the need to make road, sewer and electrical improvements before any development, and it advises Columbia Public Schools to consider problems with open lunches in an area served primarily by rural, two-lane roads.

Columbia planning and zoning members voted unanimously to send the document to the city council with a recommendation to approve the document. After hearing testimony from several people in the community Thursday night, the council decided to attach a summary of community input to the document that will go before the council.

The Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission will hold their own public hearing in the coming weeks, after which time they will vote on whether to send the final document to the county commission for consideration.

The Columbia City Council will likely discuss the document on Nov. 2, to be followed by a public hearing and vote on Nov. 16.

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