Overview of Comprehensive Planning

Benefits to Comprehensive Community Planning

  • Provides municipal officials with an understanding of present conditions, and changes which may have occurred over time.

  • Provides for the preparation of a balanced economic and community development strategy involving the communities physical, environmental, and social conditions.

  • Identifies natural and physical conditions and limitations which may affect the location and/or type of future development.
  • Provides an informative profile of the community in terms of population, housing, economic base, community facilities, and transportation systems, which would aid developers and other prospective residents considering your municipality as a location.
  • Provides a focus and the opportunity for constructive public input, public participation, and public education, via a planning commission or committee, public participation, meetings, and workshops, and community surveys.
  • Results in the preparation of a community agenda which anticipates and prepares for the future of the municipality based on a thoughtful and rational analysis of various conditions.
  • Identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and constraints that are both current and anticipated to exist in the future.
  • Provides for a thorough land use study encompassing the current use of the land and the recommended future best use of the land, which assists in the preparation of any future land use, subdivisions, and land development ordinances.
  • Results in the synthesis of any existing county and/or regional planning activities such as economic development, transportation, wastewater management, agricultural preservation, and other related issues having a regional connotation.
  • Provides the municipality with a publically and legally defensible basis for land use, subdivision, and land development, other controls, and public policies recommended by or evolving from the planning effort.
  • Provides valuable information which can be used in future funding applications, making then more competitive and in conformance with the actual projected needs of the community.
  • Provides a framework to empower local officials to make decisions based upon a coordinated plan to guide the orderly growth and development of the community.

Results of the Comprehensive Planning Process

  • Formulation of goals and objectives through public participation, surveys, etc. which impact community revitalization and address local concerns.
  • Establishes priorities for implementation strategies.
  • Identifies specific courses of action with possible funding sources.
  • Provides suggestions to improve the local tax base.
  • Encourages cooperation, consideration, and collaboration among community and civic groups and organizations.
  • Supports the creation of public/private partnerships and financial resources for shared community endeavors.
  • Assembles the community to work collectively to reach common goals.
  • Creates a basis for coordination, holistic decision making which avoids nonconforming costly errors which may require future remediation.
  • Empowers local elected officials and other decision makers to create public policy with the support of the community.
  • Provides opportunities for the members of the community to create their vision for the community.

Definitions and Terms

Comprehensive Community Development Plan - An official public document which serves as a policy guide for municipal decisions about the physical, economic, and social development of a community; it includes, but is not limited to, a statement of short - and long term community objectives, policies, strategies, and programs.

Comprehensive Planning Process - An ongoing process involving chief executive leadership and public and private participation, which establishes plans, policies, and objectives for the future interrelationship of physical, economic, and social development of a municipality.

Participatory Planning - Involvement by affected residents and community leaders during each stage of the comprehensive planning process from the formulation of objectives to the formal adoption of the planning documents and/or implementing mechanisms.

Strategy - A strategy is a definitive, action-oriented set of activities designed to accomplish a specific task. A strategy may be comprised of several components including plans, policies, programs, and implementation activties, However, all of these components must be coordinated and directed toward the accomplishment of the task. The identified strategies would be the definitive, action-oriented set of activities designed to guide the orderly growth and development of the community.

Goals - Goals are defined as general value statements of long range direction or ideals unconstrained by time which identify desired states of affairs and toward which activities are directed. Goals reflect the communities needs and values and should give meaning, purpose and direction to everyday planning and development decisions.

Policies - Policies are definitive courses or methods of action which are formulated to guide the decision making process.

Objectives - Objectives are defined as measurable or quantifiable statements constrained by time. The attainment of objectives will ultimately result toward the achievement of a goal.


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