What is a Master Plan?
A comprehensive plan is best defined as the community’s collective vision for where it would like to be in the next ten to fifteen years. Once complete, the plan provides public decision-makers with the goals and objectives of the community against which future decisions can be made. The plan provides recommendations for public investment to ensure implementation.
How does it work?
The planning process generally begins with an understanding of the historical development of the city – how it came to be, the pattern of development and land use through the years, trends in population. The plan then identifies the current social and economic conditions within the city – population, races and cultures, educational background, income, economic base, tax base. As part of determining the needs of the community for the term of the plan, projections relative to the population are then included in the planning process.
What are the details of the plan?
Comprehensive plans usually evaluate the location, quality and capacity of the various elements of the city that work together to constitute a community – housing, schools, public buildings, parks and playgrounds, transportation systems, land use. At the same time, through extensive public outreach, the plan develops a series of goals and objectives that define in broad terms where and how the community views itself in the next ten to fifteen years. With those goals and objectives in mind, the plan combines the evaluation of the existing community assets with the projected needs of the community to make recommendations relative to changes or improvements to housing, schools, public buildings, parks and playgrounds, transportation systems, and land use.
How long does the comprehensive plan take to complete?
Due to its detailed nature and the need for extensive public input, the development of a comprehensive plan generally takes between one to two years.
What else is involved?
While the comprehensive plan is the community’s collective vision for its future, communities often take additional steps beyond the completion and adoption of a comprehensive plan as part of the implementation of the plan. Traditionally, the development and adoption of a revised zoning ordinance is the first step.
What is a zoning ordinance?
Through the comprehensive plan, the community determined the location of various types of land use as well as their preference for how the various parts of the community should appear. The zoning ordinance is the government’s primary tool in ensuring that the recommendations of the comprehensive plan relative to land use and community appearance are implemented.
How long does the zoning ordinance take to complete?
Development of a revised zoning ordinance also generally takes between one to two years.
Who is responsible for the development?
A comprehensive plan is not the product of a single person – the plan is not the Mayor’s plan or the city planner’s plan or even the consultant’s plan. To be truly successful, the entire community must fully participate in the development of the plan and support its adoption and implementation. It will be a collaborative effort between the City, the School District and local not-for-profits;
Does it create jobs?
A comprehensive plan is not a panacea for the ills of a community – the plan will not create jobs in and of itself, though it should address economic development in a way that fosters private sector investment in the community, thereby creating jobs.
A comprehensive plan is not the end to planning in a community. The comprehensive plan is the long-range vision for a community and is very broad in its scope, often too broad in scope to focus on specific corridors or neighborhood districts. Comprehensive plans often recommend more detailed planning efforts for specific portions of the city. Additionally, comprehensive plans should not be a static document; change occurs constantly in the community and the comprehensive plan should be updated regularly.