The future of the City of Columbia became clearer last night as the Columbia City Council adopted a new comprehensive plan for future growth.
The City Council passed its plan, entitled "Columbia Imagined: The Plan for How We Live and Grow." The plan will influence Columbia’s neighborhoods and public places, development, job creation, transportation options, and the overall vitality of the community.
Community Development Director Ted Teddy said the plan provides a direction for the city. “Typically comprehensive plans will set an agenda of future tasks in an implementation framework, and that’s what’s being done here,” he said.
The plan was first presented to the City council in June. The strategy’s mission statement includes embracing urban design that promotes a distinct sense of place, a vibrant downtown core, and safe and walkable neighborhoods. It also states that over 80,000 plus residents were asked to participate in the planning process.
One way residents got involved was by participating in live voting on 13 planning objectives in June. A multiple choice format allowed participants to agree with the objective, ask the planning committee to tweak the track of the objective, or go back to the drawing board all together. Voters agreed by majority that the planning committee was on the right track except for three issues:
- Being a model for environmental sustainability
- Diversifying and broadening the economy, including new industry clusters
- Attracting businesses to the metro area
In regards to these issues, voters wanted the planning committee to either tweak these objectives or go back to the drawing board.
Comprehensive Planning Committee Member Don Stamper warned the council against amendments to the 160-page document at the public hearing last night. “Any attempt to take this plan from an advisory document to a regulatory document is a major, major mistake,” he said.
While 20 amendments were passed to the plan, Mayor Bob McDavid said this is an advisory document, not a regulatory document. “Regulatory policy will have to come through the City Council at another time,” he said.
The previous growth plan, Metro 20/20, was also considered an advisory document.