What is Planning?
Planning is the discipline which deals with the distribution of urban, rural or suburban functions spatially, in terms of activity patterns of people in the physical setting. This includes the physical facilities or improvements to the land which are made to accommodate these activity patterns. Urban, rural or suburban functions addressed in planning are broad, encompassing land use; transportation; housing; open space and recreation; public and human services; and conservation of environmental and heritage resources.
What is a Comprehensive Plan?
Where would you like your community to be in twenty (20) years? A comprehensive plan is a document that encompasses a vision of what a community ultimately wants to be and incorporates a sense of ownership for all citizens involved in the planning process. A comprehensive plan should be used as a guide to determine what steps need to be taken in order for a community to shape its growth and future development.
Comprehensive Plan Elements
- Vision Statement Outlines what a town wants to be in the years to come.
- Existing Development Surveys what already exists in a community in terms of housing, neighborhoods, recreation, infra-structure and services.
- Current and Future Land Use Examines what land uses exists and what land uses the community would like to see in terms of development.
- Environmental Features Includes the examination of hydrology, topography, and soils characteristics.
- Infrastructure and Services Analyzes the conditions of roads, water, and sewer services; departments of safety, parks and recreation, and schools.
- Demographics Statistical data used to demonstrate historical and future population, economic, and housing trends and projections.
- Community Visioning A process by which the community is engaged in providing input on how they see their community.
Comprehensive Plan Implementation Tools
Zoning Ordinances Land use regulations enacted by a city/town to create districts or zones that establish permitted and special uses within those zones.
Subdivision Regulations Written documents which describe the review procedure and the minimum design and submittal requirements for creating a subdivision.
- Complete Streets Safe, comfortable and convenient travel via auto, foot, bicycle and transit. Visit: www.completestreets.org
- Main Street An approach to some commercial district revitalization; an innovative methodology that seeks to combine historic preservation with economic development. Visit: www.mainstreet.org
- Smart Growth An approach that is town-centered, transit and pedestrian oriented, and has a greater mix of housing, commercial and retail uses. It also preserves open space and many other environmental amenities. Visit: www.smartgrowth.org