COLUMBIA — Columbia will have a new set of standards governing zoning and development more than three years after the city began the process of overhauling its zoning code.
The Columbia City Council voted unanimously to pass the Unified Development Code at its meeting Monday night after five council meetings — including two special Saturday sessions — and nine months of public hearings and work sessions by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“This has probably been the greatest democratization of the City Council process that I have ever seen … in my 10 years of serving and participating,” Mayor Brian Treece said.
Some members of the public, however, had cited concerns about the openness and transparency of the zoning and development code overhaul. Worries about infringements on property rights were another common topics throughout the public hearings.
The council also discussed three amendments to the zoning code at the meeting, but voted against all of them.
Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser had proposed increasing the maximum length of cul-de-sacs from 300 feet to 500 feet and raising the maximum number of lots that can be reached by a single subdivision entrance from 30 to 100.
Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala introduced an amendment to broaden the downtown neighborhood transition regulations to any structures other than single-family homes that would be built next to apartment buildings. Those restrictions had applied only to developments neighboring single-family homes or duplexes.
Skala said the intent of his proposal was to protect the character of neighborhoods surrounded by dense areas, such as downtown.
Several residents spoke against Skala’s amendment, saying the extension of height and setback restrictions to lots zoned multi-family would levy excessive requirements onto commercial developers.
“I know that…