Sunday, November 6, 2011

OSCO EYESORE, SKATEBOARD REGULATIONS: On tap for City Council

COLUMBIA, 11/6/11 (Beat Byte) -- Empty Osco, new regulations for skateboarders, and an unusual request for free bus passes from a service organization that recently thumbed its nose at City Hall zoning regulations are among items on tap for Monday's Columbia City Council meeting. 
 
As it seems to be awaiting a taxpayer TIF bailout, billionaire Wal-Mart husband and globe-trotting soccer team owner Stan Kroenke's empty Osco eyesore on the corner of Broadway and Providence has metastasized into a junky-looking holding facility for a Mizzou construction project. Staffers at Columbia City Hall aren't happy.

But fear -- of Big Man Stan and even Bigger Man Mizzou -- seems to have them equivocating about how exactly to clean up the mess, which they cited with violations back in July and take up with Columbia City Council members this Monday. 
 
Calling the junkyard a "violation of zoning ordinances as an unauthorized use," the staff report then tries to justify it all, talking about how hard it is to stage a big construction project like rebuilding Tiger Power, Mizzou's power plant that's under renovations. 
 
Question is: Why didn't the contractors and Kroenke's people resolve this issue back in July, when they first got the violation notice?

Council members will also take up a new ordinance regulating skateboarders and roller skaters. The ordinance not only mandates use of roller skates, skateboards, and coasters in a "prudent manner," it then defines the term, from an "approved helmet" to this 80-word, bureaucratic gem: 
 
"Wear reflective clothing including, at a minimum, the attachment of a rear facing red reflector on the back of the person, at least two (2) square inches in reflective surface area, which shall be visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lower beams of vehicle headlights at six hundred (600) feet during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one half hour before sunrise."

Now partly famous for giving City Hall and their beleaguered neighbors the proverbial finger over zoning, code, and land use restrictions, Boone County Family Resources (BCFR) -- which recently announced a $3.5 million piggy bank -- wants 104 free bus passes for staffers in addition to the other taxpayer goodies it receives. 
 
The agency is asking City Council members to approve the big freebie, which seems like it would be far more appropriate for agency clients than agency staff. Let BCFR pay for staff rides; let City taxpayers pick up the tab for the agency's clients. That sounds like a fair compromise.

Plenty of other interesting doings are on tap this Monday. Check out the Council's agenda here:

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