Frequently Asked Questions
What is Columbia Compass?
Columbia Compass is the comprehensive plan - or "blueprint" - for how Columbia, South Carolina will grow and develop over the next ten years. The Columbia Compass planning process provided an opportunity for anyone with an interest in Columbia's future to help shape the vision and recommendations that will guide decision-making in the City for years to come.
What is a comprehensive plan?
A comprehensive plan is a long-term guide that expresses the values and aspirations of a community. It is the broadest public policy document a community can create, and it establishes a long range vision for a community. A comprehensive plan is a tool to prepare for change and acts both a business plan and a guidebook for decision makers. The plan is not a regulatory document, but it serves as a foundation for City budgeting, zoning and land development regulations, capital improvements, development decisions, and more.
Why is it called Columbia Compass: Envision 2036?
The name Columbia Compass helps remind us both of the tools that surveyors used to lay out the original grid of Columbia and how the comprehensive plan will help us navigate our future. While Columbia Compass was adopted in 2020 and is a ten year plan as determined by the SC Code of Laws, we believe that our vision for Columbia in 2036 (and on its 250th anniversary) is important, and the goals we set and the changes we plan for over the next ten years will be integral in making that vision a reality.
Why did the City need to update its comprehensive plan?
Regular comprehensive planning represents good stewardship and establishes a foundation for well-supported policies to create the best possible future. As directed by South Carolina law, the City of Columbia updates the comprehensive plan every ten years. The prior 2008 plan needed to be revised to reflect current conditions, priorities, and anticipated changes over the next decade.
Who uses the plan, and what value does my participation have?
While City Council, Planning Commission, City staff will certainly use the plan more than the average person, your continued engagement in the implementation of the plan will remain critical. We all need to work together to define and navigate our future - otherwise the vision for Columbia will not be one that is reflective of our community's goals and aspirations. We worked to develop a plan that the average citizen finds helpful, informative, and inspiring, and we'll need to work together as a community to see it come to fruition!
How was this different from other recent planning efforts?
Columbia Compass is the ten-year update to the City's comprehensive plan, replacing The Columbia Plan 2018. In between the 2008 and 2018-2020 planning process, the City worked to update certain elements of the plan, as well as to work with a number of communities to develop neighborhood and area plans. More information about recent planning efforts can be found on the City's website.
What happens next?
City Council adopted the plan on August 4, 2020, replacing The Columbia Pla 2018 as the City's comprehensive plan. In the coming months and years, City staff will be working to help facilitate and collaborate on the implementation of the plan's recommendations. The process diagram on our home page helps describe the process as a whole.
How do the programs, projects, and policies recommended in the plan become a reality?
While Columbia Compass will serve as a policy document for City staff and elected officials once adopted, we realize that it will take citizens like yourself who care about seeing the plan's vision realized to help implement the recommendations of the plan. The plan document will provide priorities for implementation over the next ten years - it is up to all of us to help move these priorities along through action, engagement, and often through obtaining funding. Please be sure to stay involved by signing up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page.
How are the projects identified in the plan funded?
We anticipate the bulk of the Columbia Compass recommendations will help to prioritize City budgeting, however we know we cannot navigate our future alone. By including projects and programs within the comprehensive plan, City staff will be able to pursue funding partnerships with federal, state, and other organizations and agencies. We also anticipate that some of the recommendations of the plan will require community involvement and support in moving forward programs, policies, and projects that can benefit the City as a whole.
Still have questions? Contact Us
Meetings and events have occurred throughout the planning process, and opportunities for engagement will continue with implementation. Planning Division staff is also happy to come speak to your neighborhood or organization about the planning process or recommendations of the plan. If you're interested in having staff come speak to your neighborhood or organization about Columbia Compass, please send us an email.