The Columbia City Council Monday night approved two variance requests by Bob Brockland Buick GMC, allowing the new dealership, to be located at 580 Old State Route 3, to install a sign that exceeds the limits currently allowed by the city sign ordinance.
“I think we all agree that we need to look at the three different corridors of Columbia — Main Street, Route 3 and I-255 — to get the sign ordinance to respond more accurately to those areas,” Mayor Kevin Hutchinson said.
Brockland’s variance requests were initially denied last month based on rules for sign sizes, but at the time of the first vote, Hutchinson expressed disappointment the council did not consider the differences in sign requirements and visibility for different areas of the city. He explained businesses on Main Street require far smaller signs to be visible than those located in a business district such as Old Route 3.
The lone dissenting vote on the two requests was Alderman Jim Agne, who said he was voting “no” because the new sign would be more than 2.5 times the ordinance limit. Alderman Mark Roessler was not present.
Work has already begun at the site, located across from TopShooters Sports Bar along Old State Route 3. Tentative plans call for the auto dealership to be open by next summer. Earlier this year, the city of Columbia and Columbia school district approved a tax rebate plan for Brockland to move from its current location off I-255 in Cahokia.
In other city council news:
• Wes Hoeffken of the Planning Commission updated the council on a recent open house held to get public input for the creation of a new city master plan.
“We will be looking at the replies over the next couple of meetings,” Hoeffken said.
The city’s current master plan, or comprehensive plan, was passed in 2005. Such plans are used as “fundamentally a guide to the physical development of the community. It translates values into a scheme that describes how, why, when, and where to build, rebuild, or preserve the community,” according to the city’s website.
• Work on Main Street as part of the Streetscape program is “moving forward very, very rapidly,” according to city engineer Ron Williams. “If the weather holds up, they ought to get most of the work done by the Dec. 15 deadline.”
• Developer Joe Koppeis presented the city and Columbia Police Chief Joe Edwards with $13,259 raised last month at a benefit mouse race to offset the purchase of a new police dog.