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Changing a column definition of a versioned feature class in ArcSDE would have a negative impact on the integrity of spatial database versions.
Make all changes to column definitions through the adopted relational database management system (RDBMS), making certain the same changes are made to the "Adds" table.
select registration_id from sde.table_registry
where table_name = '<name>'
and owner = '<owner>';
alter table <name> modify (<column> <column type>;
This change will have no affect on any existing version.