Peripheral zoning would guide future development

Thursday, August 23, 2007
Traffic moved through the intersection of William Street and Mount Auburn Road on Monday. The location has a high traffic accident count. (Fred Lynch)

By Marcia Ritter

Special to Business Today

Cape Girardeau is undertaking the task of updating the city's Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan serves as a guide for the city to shape its future. The plan provides direction for improving the quality of life as well as making recommendations for the community's physical growth and development. It also provides recommendations for future development. It looks at exsisting development as well as anticipating future development outside city boundaries.

A major function of the plan is to provide strategies for implementation of development or redevelopment. Tools and other mechanisms are identified to achieve these as well as how the community can finance future infrastructure improvements will be included.

The Comprehensive Plan is still in draft form. It was presented at a joint Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council study session in August. When the plan becomes a completed document, a public hearing will occur for additional citizen input prior to being placed on the council's agenda for approval.

One section of the document addresses a Future Land Use Plan. Recommendations in addressing this may include peripheral zoning and planning as it relates to the anticipated future development outside of current city boundaries.

Peripheral or extra territorial zoning and planning is permitted by Missouri statutes. The statute was amended in 1992 to include any constitutional charter city having a population of more that 35,000, such as Cape Girardeau, located in any first class county that doesn't have a charter form of government, such as Cape Girardeau County.

The city may by ordinance adopt and enforce regulations governing zoning, planning, subdivision and building up to two miles outward from existing city limits. The two mile limit could be varied to follow property lines. These regulations could be applied selectively. These may be less restrictive than those within the city but not more restrictive. Incorporated areas would be excluded.

Cape Girardeau County is one of the few if not the only first class county in Missouri without an organized planning mechanism. Most states surrounding Missouri use this same type planning tool in their counties. Any consideration for pursuit of extra territorial zoning and planning would require extensive study. If the city decides to pursue this, a request to give this authority would be made to the county commissioners. Prior to acting on this, a county public hearing would be held. Should the majority of county commissioners approve it, the city could then hold public hearings and follow the process for adoption of an ordinance.

In the event the county decides to create a county planning commission and the commission adopt an official master plan for the county, the authority granted the city should be terminated and control returned to the county.

I thank you for the opportunity to provide this "thumbnail" sketch related to city's Comprehensive Plan and peripheral planning and zoning as they allow for orderly growth and development while protecting the future of Cape Girardeau.

Marcia Ritter is a member of the Cape Girardeau City Council representing Ward 6.

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