The Daily Dish-March 6

Columbia City Council approves rezoning for Locust Street student apartments by Antony Lee and Dani Kinnison, The Columbia Missourian.

Developers Jonathan and Nathan Odle’s request to rezone part of downtown to develop a mixed-use commercial and apartment building was applauded by Mayor Bob McDavid as an infill project. McDavid has been critical of numerous apartment complexes downtown for resisting charging residents higher fees for transit service and said the development “meets all the criteria for smart growth,” as it allows students to walk or bike to class. Parents of students at nearby Lee Elementary raised questions of traffic safety as a result of the project, citing existing dangerous conditions for pedestrians in the area. In addition, areas near Rock Quarry Road were approved for residential development and the Crosscreek development deal was amended to allow for the construction of hotels and motels on the site east of U.S. 63.

Hotel tax wins initial House approval by Jacob Barker and Rudi Keller, The Columbia Daily Tribune.

Columbia is one step closer to increasing its lodging tax from 4 percent to 7 percent. First recommended in a report to the City Council in January, Tuesday’s vote in the Missouri House of Representatives pushes the measure on to the Missouri Senate for a formal roll-call vote. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia. The city staff report in January suggested using the increased tax revenue to help fund construction of a new terminal at Columbia Regional Airport, which just announced additional daily flights to Atlanta beginning June 7. Some hotel owners in Columbia objected to the increase, saying it would hurt occupancy rates. A citywide vote would be needed to approve a lodging tax increase.

Mo. House backs measure to overhaul prison system by The Associated Press.

Another measure approved by the Missouri House Thursday would allow for shorter sentences for non-violent probationers and parolees in the state’s prison system. The bill would also require felonious first-time parole violators to spend a 120-day “shock” sentence in prison, and subsequent violations would require lesser jail time. Rep. Gary Fuhr, R-St. Louis County, said the bill is designed to tighten state spending.

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