What is a Comprehensive Plan?

The Comprehensive Plan is the formal document produced through the comprehensive planning process described above.  At its core, the plan is a guide that captures the vision of what a community wants to be in the future.  Sometimes also referred to as a master plan or a general plan, it is the foundational document of long-term planning, land use planning, zoning, and growth management in the United States and enables local government officials and citizens to anticipate and deal constructively with changes occurring within the community.  It is a broad effort to address a wide range of community issues and concerns, and to understand the important relationships between each part of a community. Comprehensive Plans usually set a planning horizon of 20-25 years, which avoids the uncertainty of long-term economic and population growth patterns while also avoiding short-term thinking that can weaken a cohesive vision of the future.  Typical topics addressed in the plan include an analysis of population change, land use and economic trends, natural and environmental features, housing, transportation systems, and community facilities and services. The local planning commission (City Planning Commission) is responsible for drafting and developing the plan, while the local governing body (Norfolk City Council) is required to adopt the plan.  

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1. What is Comprehensive Planning?
2. What is a Comprehensive Plan?
3. Why have a Comprehensive Plan?
4. What is the relationship between the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning?