ColumbiaReview UPDATED

Zoning Map Revision Process Begins

Columbia City Council adopted the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) in August 2019. The City is now undertaking a public process to update the zoning map.

Use this interactive map to provide comments on
the proposed zoning for a property.

View the Draft Zoning Map

The City of Columbia recently adopted, with a future implementation date, a new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), which consolidates and revises the current zoning and land development ordinances.  The UDO establishes zoning districts that each have a different set of permitted uses and development standards.

To implement the UDO, a new zoning map designating the location of these new districts must be drafted and adopted by City Council.  This process is intended to provide a way to seek feedback from and educate the public about the new map.

Both the UDO and official zoning map is currently scheduled to go into effect November 1, 2020.

What is zoning and a zoning map? Why is it important?

Zoning regulates land use, density, setbacks, parking, lot coverage, building size, and more.  It provides a means to implement the Land Use Plan known as Plan Together and more broadly, the Comprehensive Plan, known as Columbia Compass. The overall objectives of planning and zoning are to protect public health, safety and welfare, to promote compatibility between various land uses and developments and to promote an attractive and well-planned community. Zoning districts are established by ordinance and the Official Zoning Map identifies the location of these districts, thereby specifying the land use and development requirements affecting each parcel of land within the City.

Why is the City rewriting these regulations?

The current zoning ordinance is over 40 years old. Over time piecemeal changes have created a code that is contradictory, difficult to understand, and does not necessarily reflect desired development patterns. The new zoning code, combined with land development regulations and called the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) resolves these issues and is intended to simplify and streamline development review, provide an easy to understand set of rules, while creating a more modern code that fosters growth and development while maintaining neighborhood character.

What changes are there in the zoning districts?

Changes range from significant, such as new zoning districts, to minor, such as renaming existing districts.  Within the commercial district range, there are far more mixed-use districts that will permit residential and commercial uses along our corridors.  These districts, known as Activity Centers/Corridors, are based on their context: Neighborhood, Community, or Region.  Other districts such as M-1 (Light Industrial) and M-2 (Heavy Industrial) are now renamed LI and HI respectively. Residential districts are similar to what exists with consolidation of some standards, modifications to reflect actual development patterns and have been renamed.  For instance, single family was designated by RS and is now RSF, while General Residential was denoted by RG and is now known as RM or Mixed Residential.

What factors were taken into consideration when assigning the new zoning categories to properties?

A number of factors were used to determine the new zoning categories. These include the current zoning classification, the Future Land Use classification, as well as the current use of the property.

How are historic, design, and community character overlay districts impacted?

Historic, Design, and Community Character Overlay districts have been renamed, but will remain in the same geographic location as they are currently.

At what point will the new Zoning code and map impact permit review?

Applications will be covered by the Transitional Provisions of the UDO. If a permit application is submitted prior to the effective date of new code AND it is considered complete, it will be reviewed under the existing code even if final permit issuance does not occur until after the effective date.   If it is considered a new application and it is after the effective date, it will be reviewed under new code.

Will there be an opportunity to learn about the draft zoning map and make comments?

Yes. The City is holding a general public meeting to provide an overview of the process and review the new districts.  This will be followed by several days of meetings in areas throughout the city where people can schedule fifteen minutes to review specific properties and ask questions.  Comments can be made at any of these meetings, by commenting through the site, or by sending an e-mail to .  After this set of meetings and comments, staff will make revisions and schedule another set of meetings.

Where can I review the new code and draft map and learn more about the process?

Please visit the project website at for a project history and links to the regulations and draft map.  You can sign up to receive e-mail updates on the progress of the project.

Unified Development Code

The City of Columbia adopted the Unified Development Code on August 20, 2019.

Proposed 2020 UDO Amendments Adopted Text of the UDO City Council Approved Amendments to the UDO, 2019




Public Meetings

The City of Columbia is limiting non-essential public meetings as a precautionary measure due to the Covid-19 outbreak.  In the interest of public health, the upcoming public and one-on-one meetings in support of the Zoning Map Revision Process are cancelled.  Please stay tuned for when they will be rescheduled.  In the meantime, we encourage the public to view the draft map, which has a comment function.  Comments and questions may also be sent to

Public meeting 1
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Eau Claire Print Building
3907 Ensor Ave., Columbia, SC

This meeting will introduce the project and answer general questions about the process.

One-on-One Office Hours
By appointment, March 13-23.

These meetings will allow the public to review the draft zoning map and provide comments.

Schedule an Appointment

View Meeting Flyer

View the draft zoning map. You can submit comments through the map tool or send an email the City at


Join our email list to receive project updates