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Wed January 23, 2013
Moratorium on demolitions in downtown Columbia fails
The Columbia Daily Tribune reports the Columbia City Council voted Tuesday night against an ordinance that would have put a created a six-month moratorium on demolition permits in downtown Columbia.
The ordinance was an effort to take another look at zoning classifications downtown, on the heels of a petition to demolish the Niedermeyer Building - the oldest building in downtown Columbia - to possibly make way for high-rise student housing.
The Tribune reports the council heard more than an hour of testimony from historic preservationists and neighborhood leaders in support of the ordinance, and also heard from business and development leaders who were against it. Mayor Bob McDavid also warned that the city could be sued by the owners of the Niedermeyer building or the St. Louis area developers considering the site… if the moratorium passed. The measure failed when the council voted 3 to 3. Measures take 4 votes to pass, even though there are currently only 6 members on the council because one seat is vacant.
The Tribune reports the ordinance could be voted on again within 90 days, which could come after the February 5th special election to fill the vacant seat on the council.