What is a Master Plan?

Good planning helps communities to develop in a way that enhances local quality life for its citizens.

Teal Lake

Photo credit: gelle.dk / Foter / CC BY-NC

A Master Plan is a broad long range plan intended to guide growth and development of a community. It includes analysis, recommendations, and proposals for the community’s population, economy, housing, transportation, community facilities, recreation and land use. It is based on public input, surveys, planning initiatives, existing development, physical characteristics, and social and economic conditions. A Master Plan is a policy based document, it does not nor can it regulate land use.

A Master Plan is not a zoning document; therefore the recommendations in the plan are only for guidance, not to regulate properties or land use. However, zoning regulations must be based upon goals and policies established through the Master Planning process.  Planning is an orderly, democratic, and open approach to determining a community’s needs and goals and developing strategies to address those needs and meet those goals.