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The city’s zoning laws, which date to the 1970s, are truly outdated.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Outdated zoning is a competitive disadvantage for Columbia, say Hampton and Fellows.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.
Brew Pub Site Available
3520 Augusta Road, West Columbia. Click for more information.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
Make Your Own Beer and Wine!
Come get started on your “liquid hobby” and help us celebrate our 46th year in the Columbia area. Bet Mar Liquid Hobby Shop: 736 St. Andrews Road.
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage offers 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
Accepting Applications for Shakespeare’s Kidz!
Students ages 10-16 are invited to join South Carolina Shakespeare’s new youth company, with classes running September 20th-December 11th followed by a final performance. Contact Katie Mixon with questions about scholarships and applications: PKatieMixon@gmail.com.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Free Times is looking for a highly organized, detail-oriented self-starter to assist in gathering material from advertisers, coordinating between the sales and production departments, and handling routine clerical tasks. Must be proficient on a Mac, able to conduct business via phone, email, text, Dropbox, social media platforms and face to face while under deadline in a fast-paced, sometimes distracting work environment. The position requires the ability to multitask, excellent oral and written communication skills, and solid experience in quickly learning new computer programs. This is a full time position with benefits. Send a cover letter, resume and salary expectation to email@example.com.
Wing Zone is now hiring for experienced delivery drivers, cooks & cashiers. Apply in person @ 132 Assembly St. or call 803-933-9464.
Real Estate Spotlight
Mungo Homes. Celebrating 60 years of our family building for your family. mungo.com