A comprehensive plan is an integrated policy document consisting of discrete elements that address different functional areas affection a community's longer-term future growth or quality of life (such as housing, transportation, economic development, recreation and open space, natural resources, etc.)  Such plans are usually formulated by a local plan commission and adopted by a local government.


Provides comprehensive guidance to local officials and citizens about the future growth of their communities and shows the interrelationships between different growth objectives.  


Needs to be coupled to effective land use controls and incentives for communities to realize their policies and guide local growth -- a plan is only as effective as its weakest element


Example 1: Minnesota 

Under Construction - Tools and Techniques for Local Planning


 Description: MN Community Planning Guidance 



Example 2: Ohio

Comprehensive Planning -- Background

Description: Ohio Balanced Growth Program


Example 3: Wisconsin 

Element Guides

Description: Wisconsin has a smart growth law and nearly every county and community has a plan


 Example 4: Wisconsin 

Plans in the Bay-Lake Region (NE WI)

 Description: Comprehensive Plan example for the Bay-Lake region in Wisconsin.


Photo Credit:, Marinette County WI