Guide to Submitting Planning Projects Online
Columbia is now utilizing an online application portal for Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Historic Zoning Commission, and Architectural Design Review Team applications. Please consult the guides listed below for information related to creating an account, submitting an application, and managing a project under review.
Planning staff will develop a FAQ document over time. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit a question.
Deadlines for the Development Review Committee process (Planning Commission and City Council decisions) are posted on the Planning Commission webpage. The deadlines for Architectural Design Review Team ("ART"), Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), and the Historic Zoning Commission (HZC) are posted on the webpages for each body.
Applications can be submitted online until 11:59 pm on the applicable deadline. An application submitted after midnight will be held for the next review cycle. Please note that our offices close at 4:00 pm. If you have a technical issue after that time we won’t be able to help.
Begin by submitting your request to the Office of the Fire Marshal. The Fire Marshal will calculate the required water flow based the proposed building types and use. Once you have the fire flow calculation, request the water availability letter from CPWS/Inflo. Water availability letters are required for all Rezoning, Site Development Plan, Preliminary Plat, and PUD applications. Modeling water availability can take time. It is prudent to request water availability letters well in advance of the submittal deadline.
All applications to the Development Review Committee/Planning Commission require a preapplication meeting no less than six months prior to the date of application. To claim a credit for the application fee at the time of application, please note the date of the pre-app in the project description and upload a copy of the receipt for pre-application fee.
Fees are due by close of business on the Friday following an application deadline. Although fees can be paid at the time of application, it is best to wait until receiving an invoice from planning staff. Staff generally confirms fee calculations and applies credits on the day after each application deadline.
Advertising and publication fees are due with response to technical comments at resubmittal. Planning staff will calculate fees and create an invoice for requests with required publication and notice to adjacent property owners. These invoices are generally sent to applicants along with technical comments following DRC.
Our software vendor currently limits file sizes to 30MB (the application portal inaccurately lists the limit as 100MB). If your files are too large, we prefer that you break them up into smaller files with appropriate names (e.g. 23-0001_HipsterFlats_Final Plat_Part 2 of 4_08212023). Alternatively, applicants may submit a thumb drive to Development Services on or before the (re)subumittal deadline.
Initial resubmittals are due on the application deadline following the Development Review Committee (DRC) meeting. If the Planning Commission, Architectural Design Review Team, or Board of Zoning Appeals defers an item with a request for additional information, that information must be submitted through the online portal by the following application deadline. If an item is deferred by the Historic Zoning Commission, the resubmittal must be received within two weeks of the meeting when the request was deferred.
No. It is important to follow the development review cycle. If you are unable to make a resubmittal deadline, please contact planning staff to discuss your options.
No. Adding information to the record without adequate time for planning staff review can lead to deferral or denial.
- Can I just email my application materials to the City Planner or City Engineer instead of learning to use the portal?
No. Planning staff receives hundreds of emails each week. City of Columbia limitations on email storage require staff to delete emails several times each week. Your email may be lost. Your materials may not be reviewed. Please use the online portal.
Files should be labeled with case number, project name, document name, and (re)submittal date. For example:
Navigate to the Online Portal
Create an Account
Creating a New Application
Managing an Existing Application