One of the fundamental responsibilities of local government is planning and the preparation of plans. Planning is the word we use to describe how a community shapes and guides growth and development. Some people call this process city planning, urban planning, or sometimes land use planning. The results of planning are contained in documents we call comprehensive plans, or growth management plans.
Effective planning ensures that future development will occur where, when, and how the community and local government wants. There are several important benefits to the entire community that result from the planning process:
Quality of life is maintained and improved
There is a vision, clearly stated and shared by all, that describes the future of the community
Private property rights are protected
Economic development is encouraged and supported
There is more certainty about where development will occur, what it will be like, when it will happen, and how the costs of development will be met
Purpose of Planning
What makes a community unique? What does visioning have to do with community? As the Cheshire cat says to Alice in Wonderland, "If you do not know where you are going, any old road will get you there." So it is with a community. Without a vision for what the community can be, it doesn't really matter what it becomes. But successful communities are those that have articulated a vision and pulled together to make that vision a reality. A community vision, whether simple or involved, can be a motivator throughout the community, as long as it is created with inclusion in mind.