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Comprehensive Plans

Over the years, three talented contributors to the Planning Commissioners Journal have regularly focused on the importance of comprehensive plans, and how to most effectively prepare and implement them: Mike Chandler, Jim Segedy, and Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy. Their short articles will give you a great introduction to the topic.

Also listed below are several other articles that offer additional perspectives on the comp planning process. But first, take a look at an overview of the role of the comprehensive plan by long-time planning historian Laurence Gerckens.


C is for Comprehensive Plan -- by Laurence C. Gerckens, FAICP

A community’s comprehensive plan is not just a file cabinet full of plans for future streets; parks and recreation; housing; and so on. More importantly, it is an integrated statement of the aspirations of the community designed to achieve a broad array of community objectives.


This Plan’s For You -- by Jim Segedy, FAICP, and Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy, AICP

In developing a comprehensive plan, one of the most important questions to ask is: who are we? This calls not just for demographic analysis, but an understanding of how your community defines its identity.


Where Do We Want to Go? -- by Jim Segedy, FAICP and Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy, AICP

Communities benefit when their plans establish clear-cut goals and target areas for future growth. City and town plans are also increasingly stressing the value of local entrepreneurship in maintaining community character and strengthening the economy.


How Do We Get There? -- by Jim Segedy, FAICP, and Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy, AICP

What’s the recipe for successful implementation of your community’s plan? That’s the focus of this installment of the Segedys’ series on preparing the comprehensive plan.


Are We There Yet? -- by Jim Segedy, FAICP, and Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy, AICP

Taking on the tasks identified in your community’s plan may be a little like riding in the back seat of a car for a road trip where you don’t know the landmarks. That’s where benchmarks and indicators show their value.


Community Self-Assessment -- by Jim Segedy, FAICP, and Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy, AICP

How can you ensure that your comprehensive plan makes sense, and guides decision-making to choices that create a healthy, balanced community? One way is by doing a community self-assessment, a process that helps identify issues and build consensus.


Developing the Comprehensive Plan -- by Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler on developing the comp plan: Part I: key considerations in putting together a comprehensive plan. Part II: citizen participation methods. Part III: strategies for getting the plan adopted and implemented.


Preparing An Implementable Comprehensive Plan -- by Michael Chandler

Ten questions your commission should ask itself when it’s time to prepare or revise the comprehensive plan.


Bringing the Plan to Life -- by Michael Chandler

Most planning commissioners realize that all the effort spent on preparing a comprehensive plan will only pay off if the plan’s policies and objectives are implemented. Michael Chandler offers an eight-step process for helping assure that your plan is brought to life.


The 21st Century Comprehensive Plan -- by Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler takes a look at five ways in which local comprehensive plans are starting to change as we enter the new century.


A Primer on the Politics of Plan Implementation -- by Bernie Jones, with Michael Chandler & Elaine Cogan

Roundtable discussion about issues related to the adoption and implementation of the comprehensive plan.


The Comprehensive Plan & Land Development Regulations: Putting Words Into Action -- by Wendy Grey, AICP

Strategies for improving how your planning and regulatory documents work together.


Why Comprehensive Plans Gather Dust -- by Della Rucker, AICP, CEcD

Planning consultant and PlannersWeb columnist Della Rucker offers her thoughts on why some comprehensive plans sit on the shelf, while others are quite useful.


Diagnosing Your Community Before You Plan -- by Joel Russell

Too frequently communities plunge into an exhaustive comprehensive planning process without first completing a much quicker “diagnostic study.” Joel Russell explores what’s involved in doing a diagnostic study, and how it can better focus long-range planning efforts.