Richland County and the City of Columbia are both writing new land use plans — comprehensive visions for how the region should grow and how its neighborhoods should look and feel. And they want your help.
“That land use plan is then going to be used to influence how we rewrite our zoning codes,” says John Fellows, the city’s planning administrator.
The city’s zoning laws, which date to the 1970s, are truly outdated.
“The current regulations from the ’70s were developed at a time when we were increasingly suburbanizing,” says Krista Hampton, director of planning and development services. “That’s still a pattern we have,” she says, which they plan to retain. But they have to recognize that the city’s now urbanizing.
Outdated zoning is a competitive disadvantage for Columbia, say Hampton and Fellows.
“Our development regulations and zoning code are almost unintelligible to the layperson at this point,” Hampton says. “I don’t want someone to have to call staff to do a project. I want them to open up the regulations and say ‘Here’s what I need to do.’”
“From an economic development perspective, if it looks like it’s going to be easier for someone to develop a business park [elsewhere] because it’s easier for them to look at the code and they look at ours and get confused,” Fellows adds, the developer might go elsewhere.
The city hired a consultant with up to a $400,000 budget to help guide both processes. And it all begins with a series of public input sessions to which everyone — new and longtime residents, homeowners, renters, developers, business owners — is invited.
Want to get involved? Here’s how.
Plan Columbia Workshop
Tuesday, June 24, 6-8 p.m.: A hands-on, workshop-style session.
Wednesday, June 25, 9 a.m.-noon and 2-4:30 p.m.: Drop in, chat with the consultants, offer feedback.
Thursday, June 26 6-8 p.m.: A wrap-up session covering what’s been learned the previous two days.
All sessions will be held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, Ballroom A. For more information and to RSVP, visit weplantogether.org.
A Healthy Happy Hour
4-7 p.m at Good Life Cafe on Main St. Try our $4 local draft beers, $4 organic wine, 1/2 off select bottles of house wine and $5 handcrafted house cocktails with juices cold pressed and made daily. Click here for more info.
New Downtown Dessert and Coffee Bar!
Tony’s Italian Eatery has teamed up with Southern Charm Sweets to bring you the highest quality dessert selection in the downtown area. 1120 Washington St., Suite 2. Find us on Facebook!
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage is offering 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
Columbia’s Largest Sidewalk Sale
Shop local this tax free weekend! Devine Street and Five Points are teaming up for a massive sidewalk sale featuring great in-store specials from all your favorite retailers and a Saturday art stroll. Read more hereand here!
Tax-Free Weekend at Best Mattress
With big savings from July 31st-August 2nd, you can afford handcrafted quality. Free bed frame and pillows on any Full, Queen, or King set $599 and above! Click for locations and hours.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Real Estate Spotlight
Concord Park From the $150’s. Off 12th St. Extension. 803.419.2227. mungo.com
Click here for more real estate.
ST. ANDREWS COMMONS APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Close to everywhere YOU WANT TO BE! 1200 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
GABLE HILL APARTMENTS 1, 2 & 3 BR’s available with many amenities. Surround yourself with Southern comforts at Gable Hill Apartments! Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 310 Ross Rd, Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
WATERFORD APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Prime location, and plenty of space. Live large at Waterford Apartments. Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 1340 Longcreek Dr., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
Donate Plasma Today & Be Somebody’s Hero For Life. You could earn up to $400 a month! Program and fees vary per location. Contact your local center today. 803-736-5888. Click here for more info