The City of Columbia Planning Department is responsible for historic preservation activities within the City of Columbia. The Historic Preservation Division of the department is responsible for the administration of the city's historic preservation ordinance, which provides certain kinds of legal protection for buildings, districts and sites that have been declared historic by City Council.
The Division also is responsible for developing awareness of Columbia's rich historical beginning that started in 1786 when Columbia became the first planned capital in the new nation.
Additionally, the division raises awareness of how historic materials can be preserved through workshops and educational events.
The Historic Preservation Division is in charge of approving Certificates of Design Approvals (CDAs) for alterations to historic buildings and sites. The design review process for Columbia's historic and design districts is administered by the Design/Development Review Commission (DDRC) and the design review staff.
All projects come directly to staff for consultation first. Staff may then direct the applicant as to whether the project can be approved at the staff level, or must be channeled through the Commission according to City Ordinance.
The City of Columbia has over 160 individual landmarks.