Public input sought on Cole County zoning plan

Committee working to create county zoning

From now through the end of the year, or possibly longer, the oversight committee charged with coming up with a zoning plan for Cole County is looking to put their proposals out to the public for comment.

Speaking last Thursday morning at the Cole County Communities meeting, made up of representatives from communities throughout out the county, committee members gave a presentation saying they have begun putting information together for maps they will use to explain to the public what the proposals mean.

Contiguous development and separate residential areas from commercial/industrial areas are goals the group is trying to achieve with these regulations. They also want to preserve the agricultural heritage of the county and incorporate flexibility, giving the county the ability to respond to a variety of situations and changing markets.

They also want to follow earlier public recommendations that salvage yards, manufactured home parks, adult businesses and quarries are adequately regulated.

A rough draft zoning map, based on the 2010 Cole County Master Plan and resident comments, has been put together.

The vast majority of the county — east, south and west of Jefferson City — is zoned agriculture. Construction of single-family homes and fire stations would be allowed in these areas.

On much of the border around Jefferson City, there are areas of residential single family urban zoning. Construction of single-family homes, fire stations and churches would be allowed in these areas.

There are areas of commercial general zoning along the U.S. 54 corridor just south of the Jefferson City limits and on the western border of the city limits in the Apache Flats area. This would allow for shopping centers, offices and recreation centers to be built.

There are a few areas of commercial general rural zoning in areas near Eugene and just east of Centertown, which would also allow for shopping centers and offices to be built.

Several areas of concern have been brought up as the plan is put together. These areas include design criteria for parking lots, land use buffers and required screening between land uses, definitions of land uses, supplemental land use regulations, communication tower co-location requirements, signage regulation, and proposed fees associated with permits and uses.

“What people need to remember is this is a rough example and a living breathing document,” said Cole County Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher. “Even the zoning classifications will probable change — some may be narrowed and others may broaden.”

He said the commission still believes it would be sometime next year, possibly late summer or early fall, before a vote on zoning could take place.

The Home Builders Association of Central Missouri and Jefferson City Area Board of Realtors are also being asked to go over the proposals for their thoughts.

A series of feedback and informational meetings will be scheduled around the county, and a final informational drive will be made before a public vote.

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