City, county review rules for sites to be annexed [Columbia Daily Tribune (MO)]
(Columbia Daily Tribune (MO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A clearer policy on when a Boone County development plan must meet city of Columbia zoning and other code standards might be in place this spring.
City administrators and county commissioners Tuesday reviewed the additions to the city's policy resolution that governs annexation agreements and the extension of sewer service outside the city limits. The policy generally applies to property and planned developments that will seek annexation.
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"This is going to allow us to streamline so we can follow one set of rules," Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller said. "If you're in the county but you're going to annex into the city, this is what you do."
Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes told commissioners that streamlining the city's process for land development is one result of the still relatively new Community Development Department, "a soup-to-nuts process" for residents who want to develop their property.
Tim Teddy, primary planner for the new city department, said the proposed new wording to the annexation and sewer extension policy adopted in 1997 specifies when city rules apply to developments outside the city limits on land to be annexed.
For instance, if the county doesn't have a standard that the city has -- tree preservation, for instance -- that regulation will apply to development plans for pre-annexed property, Teddy said.
Miller said the county commission would like to see the changes in place this spring. Matthes said the Columbia City Council could adopt the new wording as early as March 1.
"This doesn't seem very controversial to me," he said. "It seems like common sense."
Matthes and commissioners also discussed the commission's recent decision to ask voters April 2 to approve a three-eighths-cent sales tax to fund a countywide joint communications and 911 dispatch center. That operation is now under city management.
Matthes has encouraged county government to take over that operation as a cost-cutting move by the city.
"I really appreciate the county's leadership on this," he said. Matthes pointed out that only five of the 13 agencies that depend on the 911 center are paying for the service.
The dispatch center has not kept pace with the increasing cost of equipment and the needs of the growing population, Miller said. Matthes noted that last year the city had to purchase radio equipment for the 911 center on eBay.
"That's really not the position you want your most critical service to be in," he said.
The sales tax proposal to fund the construction and operation of a modern 911 dispatch center and emergency management headquarters resulted from the work of a special commission Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill appointed last fall.
"There's hardly anything more important than somebody answering a phone when 911 is called," Atwill said.
City and county administrators also reviewed the city's plan to connect a new electric substation off Peach Tree Court to other substations as a response to the city's growth. A portion of the project likely would extend south of the city limits to McBaine along Route K.
City officials are weighing three options for the project, which residents have been asked to comment on.
"I think there's significant opposition to all three," Matthes said. "At the end of the day, we must build this."
This article was published in the Thursday, January 31, 2013 edition of the Columbia Daily Tribune with the headline "Annexing rules get new look: City, county aim to clarify policy."
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