Commissioners excited about draft comprehensive plan

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cape Girardeau's planning and zoning commissioners are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

For the first time since taking on the task of vetting the draft comprehensive plan, they are "getting excited about it," said Charlie Haubold, the chairman of the planning and zoning advisory board.

At a joint meeting with Cape Girardeau's city council, Haubold announced the plan would be finalized in November, adopted by the commission early in December and sent for city council endorsement before the year's end.

"It's strictly a blueprint for the city of Cape," Haubold said. "It's going to be altered, shifted, changed, moved. Priorities are going to shift. If someone wants to buy 500 acres in South Cape, I guarantee priorities will shift."

Instead of listing major projects as priorities, to be followed in a concrete order, the board is calling them opportunities.

Haubold said the city can respond more quickly to developers while being consistent with the plan. The details of land use and transportation still need tweaking, the boards agreed.

Ward 3 councilwoman Deb Tracy urged the commissioners to keep Chapter 6 of the plan in mind. Those pages are filled with residents' comments recorded earlier this year during study sessions and focus groups. She said the sixth chapter is "the heart of the plan."

Commissioner Bill Hinkley agreed, saying the residents' words "are means and methods to reach settlement and understanding" as the plan is put into action.

Haubold said the comprehensive plan has the potential of garnering the kind of approval the Transportation Tax Fund (TTF) has.

Harry Rediger said once the major street plan, the TTF and the comprehensive plan are aligned, the commission can start campaigning to renew the TTF in 2010.

The planning and zoning commissioners will meet next month with city officials to incorporate final changes into the draft.

That meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Osage Community Centre, 1625 N. Kingshighway.

335-6611, extension 127

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