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Comprehensive Planning

In 1989, the Georgia State Legislature passed the Georgia Planning Act, which established a coordinated planning program for the State of Georgia. This program provides local governments with opportunities to plan for their future and to improve communication with their neighboring governments.

The Planning Act also assigns local governments certain minimum responsibilities to maintain "Qualified Local Government" (QLG) status and, thus, be eligible to receive certain state funding. The cornerstone of the coordinated planning program is the preparation of a long-range comprehensive plan by each local government in the state.

These plans intend to highlight community goals and objectives as well as determine how to achieve these goals and objectives. The Comprehensive Plan is to be used by the Muscogee County as a tool to direct and guide development in a manner that insures the quality of life and service levels associated with the city are maintained at desired levels. It is not the intention of the City of Columbus to compile a complex document of data files with little analysis or direction, but rather to create a thorough document that is easy to read, understand, and most importantly, to follow.

Community Assessment

The Community Assessment is a brief overview of the factual and conceptual foundation upon which the City's Comprehensive Plan is developed. The Community Assessment includes:

  • Potential issues and opportunities Columbus may wish to take action to address;
  • Analysis of existing development patterns, and recommended areas for consideration in developing an overall vision for future development within the City; and
  • Evaluation of current community policies, activities, and development patterns.

Document Download
Community Assessment
for the 2028 Comprehensive Plan
Community Assessment
Technical Addendum - Part 1
to the Community Assessment, for the Comprehensive Plan
Technical Addendum Part 1
Supportive Maps - Part 2
to the Community Assessment, for the Comprehensive Plan
Supportive Maps Part 2
Supportive Maps - Part 2 (cont.)
to the Cimmunity Assessment, for the Comprehensive Plan
Supportive Maps Part 2 continued
Related Reports and Data - Parts 3 & 4
to the Cimmunity Assessment, for the Comprehensive Plan
Related Reports and Data

Community Participation Program

The Community Participation Program (CPP) is essentially a guide to outline the specific steps that the Planning Department will take to engage the citizens and business owners of Columbus, Georgia, and gain stakeholder involvement in the planning process.

Community Participation Program Guide
to gain and involve stake holders
Participation Program Guide

Community Agenda

The most important part of the Comprehensive Plan update was the Community Agenda. This was developed through an interactive public process in the form of the Visioning Workshop, Strategic Framework Workshop, Open House, and other opportunities for public input. This document created a road map of the community`s vision for the future, which includes key issues and opportunities that were chosen during the planning process. The information was then put into an implementation program for achieving the vision and addressed the identified issues and opportunities.

The implementation program includes a Future Land Use Plan to guide future development; a short-term work program, which is a list of goals/programs to accomplish in the next 5-years and the responsible party; and the development of local policies to achieve the community's vision. This part of the plan is intended to serve as a meaningful tool for the day-to-day decision-making of the Columbus Consolidated Government.

The Community Agenda Executive Summaryis a 27 page document that provides you with an overview of the Community Agenda, maps of the planning areas, synopses of issues and opportunities and the implementation program. Lastly, it includesgraphics that show the result of the community survey.

Commnuity Agenda Executive Summary
for the 2028 Comprehensive Plan
Community Agenda Executive Summary


Community Agenda

Document Download
Community Agenda: Chapter 1
Community Agenda Chapter 1, Introduction
Community Agenda: Chapter 2
Community Vision
Community Agenda Chapter 2, Community Vision
Community Agenda: Chapter 3
Implementation Program
Community Agenda Chapter 3
Community Agenda: Chapter 4
Community Agenda Chapter 4, Issues and Opportunities
Community Agenda: Appendix A
Public Involvement
Community Agenda Apendix A
Community Agenda: Appendix B
Long Range Transportation Plan Projects
Community Agenda Apendix B, Long Range Transportation Plan Projects
Community Agenda: Appendix C
Performance Based Land Use Controls
Community Agenda Apendix C, Performance Based Land Use Controls
Community Agenda: Appendix D
Report of Accomplishments
Community Agenda Apendix D, Report of Accomplishments

Fiscal Impact Analysis

These are final reports on the fiscal impact of land use scenarios for the Columbus, Georgia Consolidated Government that were presented in the Community Agenda for the Comprehensive Plan. The reports were prepared by the consultant firm, Tischler-Bise under contract to Jordan Jones & Goulding. These reports are advisory in nature and do not recommend a tax increase or any specific action by City Council.

Document Download
Fiscal Impact Analysis
for the 2028 Comprehensive Plan - Growth Scenarios
Fiscal Impact Analysis - Growth Scenarios
Revenue Strategies
for the 2028 Comprehensive Plan
Revenue Strategies for 2028 Comprehensive Plan


Existing Land Use Map

The Existing Land Use Map is a graphic map of what is on the ground at a given point in time. It is color coded based on current land uses determined by field surveys undertaken in the summer 2007, analysis of aerial photography, and tax assessor data. Its function is to act as a base map, a starting point towards the future development map to be drafted in the spring 2008.

Character Areas Map

The Character Areas Map contains specific geographic areas within the community that (1) have unique or special characteristics that need to be preserved; (2) have potential to evolve into unique areas; or (3) require special attention because of unique development issues. Each character area is a planning sub-area within the community where more detailed, small-area planning and policy implementation may be applied in order to preserve, improve, or otherwise influence future development patterns in a manner consistent with the community vision.

Areas Requiring Special Attention Maps

The Areas Requiring Special Attention Maps summarize the locations most likely to be impacted by growth, including areas where growth should be avoided. As Columbus continues to grow and develop, it will have significant impacts on the existing residents, natural and cultural resources, community services and facilities, and infrastructure. The map shows where these areas are located.

Future Policy Map

The Future Policy Map (FPM), also known as the Future Development Map, will be used by the City, along with the Future Land Use Plan, to direct future growth. Columbus' FPM shows ten future development districts. These districts represent areas that have visual or functional character, a unique sense of identity, and opportunities to live, work, and play.

  • Future Policy Map- Final Version. Published in October 2008.
  • Future Policy Map- This version of the Future Policy Map reflects input and comments from City staff, the Citizens Stakeholder and Technical Review Committee, and other community members. Published on June 24, 2008.
  • Future Policy Map- This initial draft of the map was presented to the Citizens Stakeholder and Technical Review Committees on May 6, 2008.
Future Land Use Map

The Future Land Use is the centerpiece of all local government plans. It contains data and analysis of the growing trends of the City, and develops policies for suitable development patterns based on these trends. These policies will help direct anticipated future growth to appropriate areas based on best planning practices.

Transportation Maps

Columbus' transportation system was analyzed as part of the planning process. The following maps are the results from the study.