City Council on Monday rejected an ordinance that would have required members of the Citizens Police Review Board to submit their fingerprints to the Columbia Police Department in order to provide their criminal history.

Fingerprinting was suggested to meet a criminal history examination requirement in the original charter for the board, whose role the council has under review.

City Counselor Nancy Thompson said that since April the city has vetted the applicants and board members through an open records search rather than fingerprints because the city lacked an ordinance requiring fingerprints.

“That’s all based upon the name, other names used, social security number, driver’s license number, and date of birth,” Thompson said of the current search.

She noted that the current process does not give the police or Council access to closed, out-of-state or federal criminal records. She said that fingerprints would likely provide a more complete criminal history than open records searches.

Numerous residents spoke in opposition to the ordinance.

“This is nothing but an intimidation tactic for people who have experienced trauma,” resident Chriss Jones said, “for people who have experienced trauma by the police.”

Chimene Schwach noted how she has been through numerous background checks for jobs without being fingerprinted.

“I don’t even understand why this is a thing,” she said. “I had a background check for working with children in protective custody and nobody asked me for my fingerprints.”

Third Ward Councilperson Roy Lovelady said that he thinks fingerprinting would add an additional barrier to entry for CPRB applicants.

First Ward Councilperson Pat Fowler said that she was both against the ordinance and in favor of reviewing and removing more of the language in the city code relating to the collection of a complete criminal history CPRB applicants.

“I don’t want us to further erode the trust that we are trying to build in the community by passing this in the interim,” Fowler said.

Council asked staff to return with recommendations on how to change the city code as it relates to background checks and reviewing criminal histories of CPRB applicants.

Comprehensive Homeless Service Center Plan

During pre-council, Columbia Housing Authority CEO Randy Cole delivered the Comprehensive Homeless Service Center Plan to council members.

The plan, which is aimed at helping anyone on the homelessness spectrum, allocates federal ARPA covid relief funds for both Columbia Housing Authority permanent housing at Park Avenue and the Voluntary Action Center Opportunity campus.

“I think you all have a lot to be proud of in the community and I think you should support (this plan),” said Cole.

Fowler and Fourth Ward Councilperson Nick Foster asked questions regarding specific situations the campus may face. Stansberry responded that the project will need continued support from the city moving forward.

Mayor Barbara Buffaloe suggested that the council submit the plan to ResourceX, which is essentially a way of expressing intent to use ARPA funds.

The Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled a hearing on the request for a conditional use permit to allow “temporary shelter” has a conditional use for the Voluntary Action Center (VAC) Thursday. The commission has already heard from multiple supporters as well as dissenters of the plan.

According to the commission’s agenda report, the request by Crockett Engineering Consultants for a temporary shelter is permitted only with the approval of a conditional permit. The Planning and Zoning staff recommends approval of the permit.

The staff report says approval of the requested use will not adversely impact surrounding properties, however, this is a hard sell to representatives from the Business Loop CID. They expressed their fears in a letter to City Council.

“We are concerned that locating everything on one street has the potential to impact the work we’ve done to boost the Loop economy and may upset the business mix we’ve worked so hard to balance,” wrote Carrie Gartner, Business Loop Community Improvement District executive director.

However, there is a stronghold of support for the shelter, including the Community Foundation of Central Missouri, religious leaders, The Salvation Army, the Columbia Housing Authority, Missouri Faith Voices, Central Missouri Community Action, Welcome Home, Job Point, the VAC and Love Columbia. Love Columbia’s executive director, Jane Williams, called it an important “next step.”

“A shelter and resource center has been a top priority for the City, identified specifically in the 2021 strategic plan, city planning RFP (request for proposal) and community survey responses,” she wrote to the Commission.

Short-Term Rental Ordinance

Also during pre-council, Chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission Sharon Geuea Jones delivered an update on the Short Term Rental (STR) ordinance. This draft is the result of 22 work sessions over the past two years and uses data going back to 2020.

Jones said that when drafting the ordinance, they were sure to keep it “just about land use.”

“We don’t do taxation. We don’t do enforcement. We don’t do licensing,” she said. “We just do land use and I think that’s part of the confusion.”

The next steps for the commission, pending council approval, are public inspection and surveying. Fowler said she has received correspondence about the ordinance and asked for time to consult constituents before reconvening.

During the regular meeting, the council decided they would forward constituent concerns to City Clerk Sheela Amin, who will forward them to the commission.

Traffic calming and sidewalk construction

During the regular meeting, the council approved the installation of traffic calming devices in a Fourth Ward neighborhood. The vote came after a public hearing on the installation of speed humps along Ridgemont Drive, Highridge Drive and Ridgefield Road in order to reduce speeding in the neighborhood.

Council also approved the construction of a sidewalk along Broadway and Scott Boulevard in western Columbia. The new sidewalk will replace the current worn asphalt sidewalk between Christian Fellowship Road and Strawn Rd. in addition to creating a new sidewalk between Strawn and Silvey Street.

Council unanimously voted to approve a new iteration of the Sidewalk Master Plan. The proposal was amended to include a hearing on the construction of a sidewalk along Ballenger Lane at the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission’s Jan. 18 meeting.

Fowler made a motion to table the bill until February, citing recent pedestrian accidents and the need for sidewalks in more parts of the city. The motion failed 3-4, with Fowler, Second Ward Councilperson Andrea Waner and Lovelady voting in favor.

>>> ad: See the Best Amazon Deals of TODAY! <<<<
Originally Appeared Here