Urban Service Area


Urban Service Area Map with link to full size map


The Urban Service Area defines areas outside the City of Columbia that reasonably could be provided with City services.  

Some of these services, such as water and sewer, may already be available beyond the City limits but are subject to out-of-city rates.  Other services are only available to properties within the City of Columbia.  

While all properties adjacent to the City limits are eligible for annexation, the location and staffing of existing or proposed City services, such as police stations, fire stations, and solid waste routes, means that the City can more readily serve some adjacent areas than others.


In recognition of the importance of providing high quality services to all of its current and future residents, City Council adopted the Urban Service Area plan in 2009 to provide guidance to the public and staff in establishing priorities for annexation.  This plan was updated in 2020 and is included within the Community Facilities section of our most recent comprehensive plan, Columbia Compass.  

It is important to note that location of a property within the Urban Service Area does not mean that annexation of the property is imminent; instead the classifications within the Urban Service Area reflect a general ranking of the City of Columbia’s ability to provide municipal services to the areas.  Ultimately, whether or not to approve a petition to annex a property is a legislative decision of City Council.  


The classifications within the Urban Service Area are:  


Image of Primary and Secondary Urban Service Areas (illustrated in dark and light green)Primary (dark green) &
Secondary (light green) areas



Primary Areas consist of contiguous or nearby parcels
with adequate service availability

Will generally be annexed when petitioned

Secondary Areas consist of contiguous or nearby parcels
that have some service concerns

May require additional review to determine ability to service prior to annexation.

Long Range Areas are beyond Primary and Secondary areas that have more service concerns.

May require additional review to determine ability to service prior to annexation.

Image of Primary Areas (illustrated in yellow)Donut Hole - Primary (orange) & Donut Hole - Secondary (yellow)

Donut Holes are islands of unincorporated
properties surrounded by a municipality

Donut Holes - Primary 

These are the donut holes where services are readily available and the infrastructure is generally good

Will generally be annexed when petitioned

Donut Holes - Secondary 

These are the donut holes where the ability to provide all services and/or the condition of existing infrastructure may not be at optimal levels for annexation at this time.

May require additional review to determine ability to service prior to annexation.




When a request for a new or expanded water or sewer service is received or the property is redeveloped, the City of Columbia will require a petition for annexation for contiguous properties within Donut Holes and Primary Areas, or a Declaration of Covenant for non-contiguous properties in these areas.  When a request for a new or expanded water or sewer service is received or the property is redeveloped within Secondary or Long Range Areas, either a petition or Declaration of Covenant may be required, at the discretion of the City.