Here’s how to join a city board or commission.

Main St. “now” | Photo by @prissy_with_pearls

They say it takes a village to raise a child – but how many members of the community does it take to make a city prosper?

From deciding on the public art on our streets to the expansion of urban trails (greenways), Soda Citizens like you + me are integral to creating the city we enjoy. How? On 32 city boards + commissions – focused on transportation, arts, sustainability, recreation and more. (A.k.a. giving citizens a literal voice in their local government.)

Who: 👋Residents of City of Columbia (or non-residents who work within city limits)

How much time? Time commitment varies, but most commissions meet monthly or bi-monthly. Generally, a term is held for 2-3 years.

How can I apply? 💻 Download the application form here. You can specify the board or commission open position you’re interested in – or when vacancies occur, City Council will review the applicants on file already. Once you apply, your application will be on file for two years (and you can be placed when a vacancy occurs).

Are there any openings? There are currently 18 vacancies on 10 various boards + commissions, including the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), Design/Development Review Commission + Transportation Penny Advisory Committee. See them all here. Applications for these positions are due Jan. 16 at 5 p.m. to [email protected]

Check out these ten committees + see what Columbia’s boards and commissions are all about.

💵 Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee | seeking 7 applicants | 7 members, 2-year term | meets quarterly or on an as-needed basis

  • Review applications submitted for Accommodations Tax funding and make recommendations to Columbia City Council

🚲 Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) | seeking 4 applicants | 17 members, 2-year term | meets 2nd Monday of every month

  • Advise the Mayor + City Council members, the City of Columbia transportation planning staff, community organizations and partners on bicycling + pedestrian issues facing the city
  • Work towards the development of bicycle/pedestrian master plan
  • Represent community and constituent interests in transportation planning decisions
  • Provide feedback to staff on projects relating to walking and bicycling

🗺 Board of Zoning Appeals Form Based Codes | seeking 5 applicants | 7 members, 3-year term | meets 2nd Tuesday of every month

  • Hear and decide city zoning appeals when it is alleged that there is an error in any order, requirement, decision or determination to be made

🚌Central Midlands Regional Transportation Authority (The COMET) | seeking 1 applicant | 3 members, 3-year term | meets 2nd Wednesday of every month

  • Administer, manage and operate fixed-route bus service and demand-response paratransit service
  • Promote transportation opportunities for all citizens within the service area which consists of Richland County (and limited service into Lexington County)
  • Encourage the cooperation and coordination of existing transportation providers

🌳Columbia Tree and Appearance Commission | seeking 3 applicants | 11 members, 3-year term | meets 3rd Thursday of every month

  • Review and recommend policies and ordinances affecting the planting, removal + preservation of trees on public and private property
  • Provide advice on the allocation of resources and policies for the planting, care + removal of trees in the City of Columbia
  • Serve as an advisory body to the City Forestry and Beautification Superintendent in the administration of this article
  • Review and make recommendations related to the City Forestry and Beautification Division’s annual work plan and any comprehensive urban forestry or reforestation plans
  • Provide public education and advocacy on tree value, preservation + care
  • Make recommendations to City Council on disbursements of the Columbia Landscape and Tree Fund
  • Oversee the development and implementation of a master plan for the beautification of the City of Columbia
  • Advise the City and its boards and commissions regarding landscaping, tree planting, protection + removal

🏚Design/ Development Review Commission | seeking 1 applicant (must be a city planner) | 7 members, 3-year term | meets 2nd Thursday of every month

  • Review and approve work proposed within the City’s historic districts, urban design areas + upon designated landmarks

🗣Greater Columbia Community Relations Council | seeking 6 applicants | 6 members, 3-year term

  • Study and evaluate information concerning community relations issues within the community and
  • Formulate and submit opinions + recommendations as to possible courses of action that appear in the best interest of the community as a whole

🏛Historic Columbia | seeking 1 applicant | 7 members, 4-year term | meets 2nd Wednesday of every month

  • Acquire, hold in trust, preserve, restore, maintain, suitably mark, develop, advertise and operate structures and buildings of historic significance in Richland County
  • Receive funds, grants, donations and appropriations for the accomplishment of these purposes
  • Contract with others in furtherance of its purposes and to charge admission fees to its facilities
  • Prescribe rules and regulations governing the use of the facilities
  • Authorize and create advisory committees, special memberships and societies in furtherance of its purposes

🍽Hospitality Tax Advisory Committee | seeking 11 applicants | 11 members, 2-year term | meetings held on as-needed basis

  • Review applications for hospitality funding
  • Make recommendations to City Council for the disbursement of funds

🛣Transportation Penny Advisory Committee | seeking 1 applicant | 15 members, 5-year term | meetings held on a quarterly basis (plus special meetings as needed)

Do you have experience on a City of Columbia board or committee? We want to hear about it. Email us why you’re involved in our government and what you do as an active member to [email protected].

– Beth