Columbia residents had the chance to ask questions regarding new zoning development in the city. Clarion Associates, prime consultant for the new zoning and development regulations, presented the first of three new zoning modules.
Module 1 looks at zone districts and permitted uses in those districts. Clarion Associates says its main goal is to update zone districts and create a unified development ordinance. One thing the company says it wants to focus on is target controls for downtown. While there is no draft for C-2 replacement, the company hopes to have it in the Module 2 draft presented in October.
"I think we're at a crossroads here in the city as far as our development code, particularly downtown," resident Tootie Burns said. "I think we need to have some changes to our downtown development fees as well as how things are zoned and what's allowed. The community has asked for that. So I think the city has been very proactive in retaining these consultants to come up with some ideas that would help our downtown and the community as a whole develop in a very smart fashion."
Some new changes include combining R-3 and R-4 districts into one district. While some residents didn't think this was a good idea, others didn't have a problem. Resident Phil Warnken said he went to the meeting hoping for the company to bring in good ideas.
"My wife and I own some rental property, so that's a real concern with us, the so-called R-3 multi-family residential," Warnken said. "As I understand, they're going to simply lump R-3 and R-4 together, which is no issue. I think that's an obvious change."
Community Development Director Tim Teddy said he's glad with the ideas the company has put forth so far.
"It's a long process," Teddy said. "Ordinances generally are fairly dense. They're not the most interesting topic, but I think we've picked a consultant team that can enliven the discussion and we've been getting some positive feedback so far on their efforts, so we're pleased with what they're doing."
For Module 2 and 3, Clarion Associates will work with Ferrell Madden Associates as a team. The draft for Module 2 will be presented in October, with Module 3 presented early 2015. While Module 2 and 3 will be drafted and revised, Module 1 is final. All three will be combined into one code by spring of 2015.