The City of Columbus has developed this Comprehensive Plan as required by the Metropolitan Land Planning Act. Under Minnesota Statutes 462.351-365 and 473.851-871, the City of Columbus has the authority to prepare a comprehensive plan to direct development and manage growth. Minnesota Statutes require the update of comprehensive plans in the seven-county metropolitan area at least every ten years. This Plan replaces the Comprehensive Plan that was developed in the late 1990s and adopted in 1999.

The Metropolitan Council distributes population forecasts as part of the local comprehensive planning process. Community's are asked for input regarding their forecast estimates, and the City of Columbus has accepted the 2020, 2030 and 2040 forecasts. Forecast data is included in the document below.  


There are some situations where a city might be inclined to permit a certain type of land use but only if certain conditions are met.  Conditional Use Permits, as they are known, are designed to ensure that potentially unique and complex land uses fit comfortably with the existing fabric of the community.  When a landowner is granted a Conditional Use Permit by the City of Columbus, landowner and/or business owner has a one year probationary period in which to develop their property and ensure that it meets all of the conditions of the permit.  At that one year mark, the property reviewed by the Zoning Administrator to see if all of the conditions have been met.  Successful completion of review brings an end to the probationary period and the use is enshrined permanently with the land as long as the owner continues to adhere to the conditions.  The owner can sell the property and the permit transfers with it.  It continues to be in effect indefinitely as long as the current owner does not suspend the conditional use for more than one year.


Minnesota law enables municipalities to issue temporary usage permits to property owners that allow for certain uses on a property but have an expiration date. These interim use permits are generally employed in situations where a land use is appropriate at the present time but may not be appropriate as the city continues to grow. Interim use permits expire at a set date or at the completion of a set task or event. The city can choose to issue another interim use permit to the landowner at this time but is in no way obligated to do so. Interim use permits should not be confused with Conditional Use Permits which become more long-term permanent permits as long as certain conditions are met in the use of the property.


Undeveloped land is frequently sold in very large parcels. Landowners often seek to subdivide these large properties so that they can be sold and developed as individual smaller parcels. The City of Columbus has a standard subdivision process that is implemented in these situations. The subdivision process begins when a landowner approaches the City with a concept for dividing their parcel into lots. City Staff is available to review the concept and the subdivision process requirements with property owners and/or developers.

Often, a landowner will seek to subdivide a large property into several smaller properties. The creation of these smaller lots is known as platting and the resultant properties are referred to as plats. Platting requires detailed surveying, the numbering of each of the lots that are created, and approval by state and local authorities. After a plat is approved and recorded with the county, it becomes the reference area for future transactions instead of the former large parcel. The City of Columbus uses the platting process for all of its subdivisions.

In real estate, an abstract refers to the legal history of a piece of property. In the U.S., this history typically begins with the United States government issuing a land patent which gives title to the land to a railroad, a lumber company, a land broker, or a homesteader. Every time that the property is legally transferred afterwards, the transfer is noted and added to the property’s abstract. In Anoka County, the Property Records and Taxation Department is responsible for maintaining this documentation for properties within the county. They can be reached at 763-323-5400 or on Anoka County's website.

The City Council has found it necessary to provide regulations for the subdivision of property in order to ensure that these new properties comply with the city’s comprehensive plan and contribute to a comfortable and well-planned community. All subdivisions that are platted within the jurisdiction of the City of Columbus need to fully comply with the subdivision ordinance spelled out in Chapter 8 of the city’s code. Provided below is a packet designed to assist landowners in navigating the subdivision process and understanding the city code requirements.


This Surface Water Management Plan will help to guide the protection and management of surface waters and related natural resources in the City of Columbus. The plan has been developed as a part of the City’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan, to meet the requirements of the Metropolitan Council and State Statutes.


A zoning ordinance variance is required to provide relief to a property owner when the strict enforcement of zoning regulations for lot size, setbacks, parking requirements, etc., imposes a practical difficulty on the petitioner or denies the petitioner the reasonable use of his land. Variance(s) will be granted only to provide relief in unusual situations that were not intended or foreseen when the zoning ordinance was adopted and, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality. Economic loss is seldom a unique situation and is generally not considered a valid difficulty if reasonable use for the property exists under the terms of the ordinance.