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City Council Delays Vote

Monday night the City Council killed the year long push to create an Enhanced Enterprise Zone, but that wasn’t the focus of the night.More than a hundred people showed up at Columbia’s City Council meeting ready to debate historical preservation only to be told to come back in two weeks. Most of the crowd planned to speak out against plans to demolish the Niedermeyer building in downtown Columbia, but the City Council tabled a proposal that would delay the demolition request of any downtown building.The issue was tabled for two weeks, but around eight people did speak out against it. Other people at the meeting chose not to take the podium and will instead make their statements at the meeting in two weeks. The plan that was delayed Monday night would block all permits to remove or tear-down any building in downtown Columbia until June.Council woman Barbara Hoppe’s proposal was sparked by the 16 story student apartment complex planned for the Niedermeyer location. The plan cited concern about the new building heights, downtown’s limited parking and finally preserving history. The historical society is opposed to demolishing the Niedermeyer building and is trying to save it.Councilman Gary Kespohl asked to table the issue for two weeks so the council could hear from the Community Improvement District and the Downtown Leadership Council.The mayor did read some letters from the potential developers and property owner’s lawyers threatening to sue the city if this plan goes through. The development group Collegiate Partners has applied for a demolishing permit of the Niedermeyer building, however they did not speak on the topic Monday night.Currently the city has denied the demolition permit requested by the Collegiate Partners. For it to be granted the building must be vacant and have no electricity. At this point in time people are currently living in the building so the soonest a permit could be given would be this summer.

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