Columbia to pay consultants $150,000 for zoning codes update

Dec 17, 2013

Columbia City Hall
Credit KBIA

The Columbia City Council has appropriated $150,000 to pay a consulting company to update the city’s development codes.

Columbia’s City Council unanimously approved the plan to hire Clarion Associates, LLC to renovate the city’s zoning and subdivision regulations. The company is a national land use and real estate consulting firm that specializes in planning, land use regulation and real estate consulting and valuation, according to its website. The company is based in seven different cities, the closest being Chicago.

The council appropriated $150,000 for the project that council member Michael Trapp said has been needed for years.

“150,000 dollars is a lot of money, but I think we’re going to get something out of it that has concrete value of preserving chunkier pieces of wilderness that’s going to be better for the natural environment, that’s going to be better for our city as a whole,” Shanker said.

Clarion will start observing the city and looking at the codes in January 2014. The contract will last for two years and includes a five-step plan to update the codes. A breakdown of how the $150,000 will be spent can be found under the supporting documentation of item B363-13 in the meeting agenda for the Dec. 16 regular meeting.

During public comment, Rick Shanker said he was against the outsourcing of the update. Shanker is a member of the Building Construction Codes Commission.

“I hope you will consider tabling this measure and considering assigning this task to our competent staff and planning department and ask them to complete it in 6 months and tailor it to Columbia’s needs and desires,” Shanker said.

The council also approved a reimbursable grant for $25,000 for the Columbia Public School District to update playgrounds and a track at Parkade, New Haven, Fairview and Russell Elementary Schools. The council members also decided in a 5-1 vote to formally support Medicaid expansion in Missouri.