Comprehensive planning is the process that establishes goals and policies intended to guide community development. The product of comprehensive planning is the Comprehensive Plan, which guides public policy in terms of future development. Comprehensive plans are usually citywide in scope, address a broad range of topics, and cover a long-term time horizon. The incorporation of smaller neighborhood-focused studies into the plan is a standard way to address the unique qualities of a particular geographic area, such as a historic or other special district.
The Comprehensive Plan is the policy guide of the Planning Commission for the development of the ordinances and procedures necessary to implement the plan, such as the Zoning Code, Subdivision Code, Landscape Code, Design Standards, Capital Improvement Program, etc.
The development of the Comprehensive Plan is a multiple step process where input is sought from community stakeholders, such as residents, property owners, business owners, neighborhood groups, and other community-based organizations. The Public Engagement Plan outlines the steps taken by the Department to actively seek public input on planning issues. Discussion focuses on a range of interconnecting issues that affect a community, such as transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, economic development, and housing. By Missouri statute, final responsibility for the development of the Comprehensive Plan rests with the Planning Commission.
The Comprehensive Plan is a living document. As conditions change, new issues arise, or assumptions prove to be inaccurate, it can be updated or rewritten. Plans are typically revised or updated every five to seven years in order remain relevant to the community.