Connect Columbia Comprehensive Plan

The City of Columbia obtained the services of the Volkert team in early 2016 to assist in the development of a Comprehensive Plan for the City. The planning process, called Connect Columbia, facilitated the development of a Land Use Plan, a Transportation Plan, a Parks and Greenways Plan, and a Framework Plan, which is the three-plan, comprehensive summary document. Columbia is a rapidly growing city experiencing growth pressures similar to other cities in the Middle Tennessee area—stressed transportation infrastructure, need for additional parks and recreation facilities, and increasing demands for new development. 

Recognizing these pressures and the need to proactively plan for the future of Columbia, the City embarked on Connect Columbia, a comprehensive planning process that produced three separate and interconnected plans to guide investment for property owners, citizens, elected & appointed officials, City staff, developers, and any stakeholders interested in the future of Columbia. Connect Columbia’s essential goal and function is to provide an easily conveyable framework to guide growth, build resiliency, and promote the preservation of historic and environmental features that make Columbia such a special place to live, work, play, worship, & create community. Access management was a pressing concern for the City during the Connect Columbia planning process; therefore, particular attention was given to the existing and future conditions for access management along corridors throughout Columbia. The consultant team formulated an Access Management Ordinance for the City to enact as the first implementation component of the Connect Columbia effort. The Access Management Ordinance is based on the planning framework and policy goals of both the Connect Columbia Land Use and Transportation Plans.

Connect Columbia was embraced as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to provide a unified framework and vision for the City of Columbia to both harness growth and to use that growth as a means to revitalize and reinforce the existing spirit of Columbia. The consultant team worked with the City leadership to provide the City with a single planning effort that resulted in a Transportation Plan, a Land Use Plan, and a Parks and Greenways Plan. Each plan is a component part of the larger umbrella of the Connect Columbia Comprehensive Plan. Particular emphasis was made on the interconnections between land use, parks and recreation, and transportation in order to create a policy and budgetary toolkit to guide and direct public and private investment in the City for the next 25 years. The unifying feature, the Framework Plan, includes a compilation and summary of the comprehensive planning efforts of Connect Columbia and is intended to be an all-in-one resource for businesses, property owners, elected and appointed officials, developers, regional planning agencies, and City Staff for private development and capital projects. 

In 2018, The Connect Columbia Comprehensive Plan was awarded Outstanding Plan—Small Jurisdiction and the Connect Columbia Access Management Ordinance was awarded Outstanding Implementation Tool/Project by the Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association.


Columbia, Tennessee


City of Columbia