Highlighting local development, city’s Comprehensive Plan

September 26, 2018

Once again, I had the opportunity to participate in a ribbon-cutting event celebrating a new business in our community. On Sept. 5, I joined the governor and company representatives welcoming Prairie Catalytic.

This company chose Columbus as its location for multiple reasons. Besides the partnership with ADM, the area offers long-term sustained and competitive feed-stock availability, excellent business climate and superior logistical infrastructure.

Prairie Catalytic employs 17 full-time employees, plus a variety of part-time contractors and service providers. They have been fully staffed since July 2018. We welcome them.

Of course, old news by now, we cut the ribbon on the Third Avenue viaduct on Aug. 30. This marks a tremendous achievement for our community since a second viaduct has been talked about for years. So many people were involved in making this happen and I cannot begin to name them for fear of leaving someone out. Let me just say a combination of efforts by many.

Speaking of combined efforts, the reality of a combined E-911 Center is finally here. The city and county partnering together in providing a new state-of-the-art facility to handle ALL dispatching in our area. Having the Police, Fire, EMS and Sheriffs Departments dispatched from the same facility will increase efficiency for response and give better service to our residents.

We often talk about the need to work together and help each other. This is a great example of city/county officials looking at the needs of ALL the taxpayers of Platte County. I look forward to the potential for more opportunities to work together.

Last week, I was able to participate in the Ag Tour sponsored by the Chamber. We saw the Larson’s robotic dairy near Creston, Pillen Family Farms feed mill in Albion and Lindsay Manufacturing in Lindsay. Needless to say, it highlights the strength of agriculture in our community and its importance to us.

City staff has been spending a tremendous amount of time reviewing and updating our Comprehensive Plan. This is the City’s “blueprint” for future growth and development. The last time this plan was updated was 13 years ago. Just think of what has taken place in our community in the past 13 years.

The Comprehensive Plan lays how the City should grow and where that growth is anticipated. Along with this are the necessary transportation needs to support future growth. All areas are looked at in an effort to facilitate orderly growth as our community increases.

A huge part of the update of the Comprehensive Plan is also updating our LDO (Land Development Ordinance). This ordinance sets out specifics that are vital to our builders and developers. Setbacks, drainage issues, lot size, fence placements and parking requirement are all just examples of items addressed in the LDO.

Our goal is to have a current LDO that spells out what is allowed and what isn’t. Citizens, builders and developers can access this information and know what they can and cannot do. If we spell things out clearly we can minimize questions and confusion. This can promote growth by making life easier.

The need for this Comprehensive Plan and LDO cannot be emphasized enough as we need to lay out our vision for growth and have tools in place for assisting this growth. This will allow Columbus to continue to prosper by attracting new businesses and new homes.

Jim Bulkley is the mayor of the City of Columbus.

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