After nearly three years of preparation, the Columbia Imagined comprehensive city plan was amended and passed by City Council on Monday night, marking a new era of clear goal setting for the city.
The plan, like that of other growing cities, lays out objectives and recommended actions to help citizens and policymakers in their creation of a shared vision for Columbia, Community Development director Tim Teddy said during Monday’s meeting.
“Typically, comprehensive plans will set an agenda of future tasks in an implementation framework, and that’s what’s being done here,” Teddy said.
Prior to the creation of the Columbia Imagined plan, the city followed recommendations set forth by the Metro 2020 plan, originally adopted in 2001 through the Department of Planning and Development.
While the concepts behind the new plan are similar to that of Metro 2020, it differs in its focus on a wide array of city decisions rather than on primarily land use issues, city planner Rachel Bacon said. These issues include land development, annexations, transportation funding and grants, zoning laws, and guidelines for economic development.
“It’s an advisory document for the planning and zoning commission and also the City Council when they make individual land use decisions, but also the plan will identify where planning and zoning commission needs to do additional work,” Bacon said. “We want to make sure that we are on track with our city’s priorities and that we see the desires of the citizen population reflected meaningfully in our plans for development.”
The rough draft of the document submitted for public hearing in June laid out seven elements necessary for future city development, including environmental management, infrastructure, economic development and more. The approved plan not only identifies the existing conditions within those seven areas, but also outlines 35 goals and objectives as recommendations for future growth.