Board & Commission Member Education Opportunity

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

3:00 pm - 5:30 pm

This Event is Open to the Public

Anyone Interested in Learning About Planning & Zoning is Welcome to Attend

OVERVIEW - Do you want to learn more about how cities regulate the use of private land? Would you like to better understand how proposed developments advance through Planning Commission and City Council? Do you want to know more about how to influence changes in your community? The City of Columbia makes it easy!

This session will cover six fundamental topics of growth management over the course of two and a half hours. The course is designed to satisfy the continuing education requirements of Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals members under TCA § 13-4-101 and 13-7-205, but all are welcome to attend. Anyone interested in growth management can benefit from attending. Professional planners who are members of the AICP can claim 2.0 hours of continuing maintenance for attending; attendance is required for the duration of the event in order to receive CM credit.

Please use the RSVP form at the bottom of this page to let us know that you are coming. For more information contact Kevin McCarthy at or 931-560-1531.

Introduction to Current Planning & Zoning Administration 

The Euclidean Tradition & Alternative Approaches – The session will begin with a very brief conceptual overview of planning and land use controls. In addition to the basic vocabulary of planning, participants will learn about the relationship between long-range and current planning. This section will introduce the concepts of consistency and concurrency. The section will also discuss the differences between proscriptive and prescriptive standards as well as the trend among planners to favor form-based standards over traditional Euclidian standards.

From Plans to Codes –This section will provide a brief overview of land use controls in Tennessee. Participants will learn about the basis of authority for municipal planning and land use controls. Attendees will acquire an understanding of the relationship between the Comprehensive Plan, the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Regulations, and design standards.

The Decision Makers – Who are you to tell me what I can do with my property? Seriously, who gets to decide? Using the City of Columbia as a case study, this section will explain the roles of the City Council, Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Historic Zoning Commission, Design Review Team, and the Arts Council. The section will also explain the offices of Zoning Administrator and City Engineer and their role in regulating development. 

“The Process is the Product” – How does an idea become a neighborhood? This section will provide a behind the scenes explanation of how the land entitlement and subdivision processes work. This section will also introduce the concept of vested rights in Tennessee. Participants will learn the importance of a consistent, transparent, and predictable processes for reviewing development proposals. This section will use recent case studies to demonstrate how the process works and how long it takes to get from an idea to building permits. 

“Code is King” – How does the Zoning Ordinance work and why is it so important? The day-to-day use of private property is regulated by the Zoning Ordinance. This section will introduce the concepts of conformity, non-conformity, and variance. Using the City of Columbia as a case study, participants will learn how the Zoning Ordinance regulates everything from the density of large subdivisions to where a food truck can park. This section will emphasize the importance of consistent application of the code and the limited instances where deviations are permitted. 

Constructive Public Input – Are you listening? The session will close with a discussion of how citizens can keep track of proposed development and participate in decision making. Using the City of Columbia as a case study, the section will explain the when, where, and how of staying informed and involved.


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

3:00 pm Organization & Introductions
3:15 pm
The Euclidean Tradition & Alternatives
3:30 pm
From Plans to Codes
3:45 pm
The Decision Makers
4:00 pm 15 minute Break
4:15 pm“The Process is the Product” 
4:45 pm“Code is King” 
5:15 pmConstructive Public Input 
5:30 pm Wrap Up

Speaker Bios

  1. Kevin C. McCarthy, AICP
  2. Austin Brass, AICP
  3. Douglas Toney, P.E.

Kevin McCarthy is a Planning Associate with the City of Columbia, Tennessee. In this role, Kevin provides staff analysis of proposed developments and performs zoning reviews. He also provides analysis and primary staff support to the Historic Zoning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals. Kevin holds a Master’s Degree in Urban & Regional Planning from the University of South Florida as well a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Florida State University. In 2016 he became a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). From 2013-2016 he was an active member of the Board of Directors for the Florida Planning & Zoning Association. For most of his career Kevin has focused on strategy and program evaluation related to state-level housing policy. Prior to joining the City of Columbia, Kevin worked as an Advisor on the Research & Planning team at the Tennessee Housing Development Agency having previously served in a similar capacity at Florida’s state housing finance agency.

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