Columbia sports complex moves ahead

For the third meeting in a row, the Columbia City Council on Monday night considered a special use permit for a proposed youth sports complex near the intersection of DD and Bluff roads.

At its previous meeting, the council moved to draft an ordinance to approve special use at the site. At Monday’s meeting, the council voted to grant a conditional special use permit.

The approved motion includes language which disallows any “architectural variance” for the property – meaning any proposed structures at the site must conform to regulations in Columbia’s zoning code. 

Before the vote, Columbia resident, executive director of the St. Louis Steamers Soccer Club and spokesman for project investors Jason Glover addressed the council with further description of possible structure designs, including an example of how shipping containers are being used at a park in Austin, Texas.

Columbia Director of Community Development Scott Dunakey noted the containers would require a material substitution and architectural variance, which would then need to go through the Columbia Planning Commission for approval. 

Glover said the use of storage containers was more for aesthetic value than cost savings, but added a variance restriction would not prevent the project from moving forward.

The council voted unanimously to approve the conditional special use permit. 

Alderman Doug Garmer said he would have also voted for a permit without restriction “just to see what you came up with” regarding design at the proposed complex.

At the beginning of the meeting, Columbia City Administrator Doug Brimm updated the council on the city’s upcoming leaf collection program.

The city recently met with Illinois Environmental Protection Agency land and water bureau representatives. While Brimm said the meetings about the city’s new leaf collection site were positive, he has not yet received any official communication from the IEPA.

Brimm advised the city will proceed with plans for its upcoming leaf collection program “unless we are told otherwise.”

The program will begin either at the end of October or beginning of November “depending on how the leaves fall,” he said.

Brimm also noted the  latest statement of funds report on the agenda represented the end of the “saga” regarding the city’s lease rights pertaining to telecommunication towers.

A total of $2,269,280 was deposited into the capital development fund as a lease right agreement with Landmark Holding is now completed. 

Brimm credited treasurer Linda Sharp for managing the funds for maximum returns as the details of the lease agreements  were revised multiple times before eventually being finalized.

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Scott Woodsmall

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