Chapter 29 ZONING*
Section 29-21.1 District UC, urban conservation overlay district.
Purposes of the Urban Conservation District. The UC Urban Conservation District is
intended to promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the public by encouraging the
conservation and enhancement of the urban environment. The purposes of the district are:
(1) To maintain neighborhood character
and integrity by focusing special attention on the
maintenance of the physical environment; the enhancement of physical, social and economic
resources and the accommodation of desirable change;
(2) To promote the efficient use of urban
lands including the encouragement of compatible
infill development on vacant and passed-over parcels;
(3) To encourage and to support rehabilitation
of the physical environment and programs for
the conservation of urban areas; and
(4) To foster the harmonious, orderly,
and efficient growth, development, and redevelopment
(5) To recognize and protect specific
property, neighborhoods and roadway corridors of
special historic, architectural or scenic qualities.
Definitions. For purposes of this section the following definitions shall apply:
Conservation shall mean the sustained use and appearance of a structure or area.
Conversion shall mean the alteration of a structure to accommodate uses for which it was not
originally constructed, but which maintain the structure's general character.
Designation Ordinance shall mean the official zoning document which the City Council enacts
specifying a certain area as an Urban Conservation District.
Infill development shall mean new construction or redevelopment or to replace blighted or
Rehabilitation shall mean the process of returning a structure to a state of efficiency or
soundness by repair or alteration designed to encourage its continued use but without noticeably
changing the exterior appearance of the resource.
Renovation shall mean the process of altering or repairing a structure and its facilities so
conforms to minimum standards of sanitation, fire and life safety.
Stabilization shall mean the process of applying measures designed to halt deterioration and
establish the structural stability of an unsafe or deteriorated resource while maintaining the
essential form as it presently exists without noticeably changing the exterior appearance of the
Urban conservation shall mean public and private efforts to maintain and enhance older urban
areas through stabilization, rehabilitation, protection, revitalization, conversion, infill
development or redevelopment.
(c) General Provisions.
(1) Description of the Urban Conservation District. Urban Conservation
zoning may be placed in conjunction with any zoning district within the City in accordance with
the provisions of this section. All regulations of the underlying zoning district shall apply to
property within the Urban Conservation District except where modified by the designation
(2) Areas, tracts, or sites within the UC District shall be identified on the
official zoning map
and in other official writings by the suffix "UC".
(d) Designation Procedure.
(1) The City of Columbia may designate areas, tracts or sites for inclusion within
Conservation District in the same manner prescribed for the designation of other zoning districts
by this chapter and subject to compliance with this section.
(2) The initiation of a proposal of designation may be made by:
a. The City Council; or
b. property owners or Council recognized neighborhood organizations of the area,
tract or site
to be designated, provided the application includes:
1. A petition signed by the owners of fifty (50) percent or more of the parcels
of land within the
boundaries of the proposed district; and
2. A statement documenting the conditions justifying an Urban Conservation designation
setting forth the purposes and intent of such a designation.
Upon the drafting of an ordinance of UC designation for an area,
public hearing shall be
held and notice given to all owners of affected property in accordance with the requirements of
(4) The Planning and Zoning Commission may solicit and present expert testimony
documented evidence regarding the importance and effects of urban conservation within the
proposed district. Testimony from neighborhood organizations affected shall be directly
solicited and considered by the Commission.
(e) Designation Ordinance.
(1) If the Planning and Zoning Commission finds that the area meets the criteria
found in this
section, a designation ordinance shall be proposed.
(2) The designation ordinance shall identify the district boundaries, which shall
contiguous and uniform. The designation ordinance may include provisions governing:
a. The use of the land;
b. Density or intensity of land use such as minimum lot size, maximum floor area,
ratios, number of dwelling units per acre, minimum lot area per dwelling unit and other related
c. Area and bulk restrictions including setbacks, maximum lot coverage, height
space requirements and other related provisions;
d. Parking regulations such as the number of required spaces per type of use,
the location and
design of parking areas, lighting, and other related provisions;
e. Landscaping and screening;
f. Sign regulations;
g. Measures to allow for preservation or conversion of buildings of unique historic
architectural character. These measures shall not be used until programs dealing with historic
preservation, which may include a Landmarks Commission, are in place; or, until it is determined
by the Council that such programs are not needed.
h. Measures to allow for preservation of scenic roads. These measures shall
not be used until
programs dealing with scenic roads are in place or until it is determined by the Council that such
programs are not needed.
(3) The Planning and Zoning Commission shall forward the designation ordinance
recommendations to the City Council for the Council's consideration.
(f) Designation Criteria. When determining
a district's potential for Urban Conservation
designation, the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council shall ensure that one or
more of the following criteria are satisfied:
(1) The need for coordinated action or treatment because of physical, social,
relationships; the presence of unifying elements and cohesiveness within the district; similar land
uses, densities, intensities, and related factors.
(2) Evidence of structural deterioration, encroachment of incompatible land uses,
factors contributing to the decline of the district;
(3) The area exhibits revitalization potential;
(4) District property owners, residents or tenants desire and support urban conservation
(5) District designation conforms to City plans and policies; or
(6) Evidence that Urban Conservation designation would be an appropriate and
method for conserving the area.
(g) Amendments. Unless otherwise provided for in the designation ordinance,
an amendment to
a designation ordinance may be initiated either by the city council or by the submission of a
petition to the director of
development signed by the owners of fifty (50) percent or
more of the parcels of land within the boundaries of the urban conservation district.
(Ord. No. 14410, § 1, 3-20-95; Ord. No. 17626, § 1, 3-17-03
; Ord. No. 20181; § 1, 2-2-09
No. 21095, § 13, 9-19-11)
Editor's note - Ord. No. 20181, § 1, adopted February 2, 2009, which amended section 29-21.1
above, shall be in full force and effect from and after March 1, 2009.
(Ord. 21095, Amended, 09/19/2011, Prior Text; Ord. 20181, Amended, 02/02/2009, Prior Text; Ord. 17626, Amended, 03/17/2003, Prior Text; 14410, Amended, 03/20/1995)