Prior to the adoption of Ord. 21095 on 09/19/2011, Section 29-21.1 read as follows.

    (a) 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 of Columbia.

    (5)    To recognize and protect specific property, neighborhoods and roadway corridors of special historic, architectural or scenic qualities.

    (b)      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 deteriorated structures.

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 it conforms to minimum standards of sanitation, fire and life safety.

Stabilization shall mean the process of applying measures designed to halt deterioration and to 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 resource.

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 District overlay 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 ordinance.

(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 an Urban 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 and setting forth the purposes and intent of such a designation.

(3)     Upon the drafting of an ordinance of UC designation for an area, a public hearing shall be held and notice given to all owners of affected property in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.

(4)    The Planning and Zoning Commission may solicit and present expert testimony or 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 be compact, 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, floor area ratios, number of dwelling units per acre, minimum lot area per dwelling unit and other related provisions;

c.    Area and bulk restrictions including setbacks, maximum lot coverage, height controls, open 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 or 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 and its 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, or economic 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, or other 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 efforts;

(5)    District designation conforms to City plans and policies; or

(6)    Evidence that Urban Conservation designation would be an appropriate and effective 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 planning and community 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)

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.