A Comprehensive Plan is a vision of what a city wants to be. It is also a framework for shaping future growth and change, protecting what a community values, enhancing what the community wants to improve, and creating what the community feels is lacking. It also helps clarify the relationships between the community, its neighboring municipalities and the region.
A Comprehensive Plan contains information about current conditions, trends, and goals and policies for land use, community design, housing, transportation, parks, recreation, and natural resources, water resources, heritage preservation, and community services and facilities.
In Minnesota, authority for land-use planning and regulation is vested primarily in local governments (townships, cities and counties). The Metropolitan Land Planning Act, a State law first passed in 1976 and amended several times since, requires local governments in the seven-county Twin Cities area to develop local comprehensive plans. The plans must contain a number of elements, among them:
- Maps and data showing current and future land use
- A plan for staging development (for communities that intend to expand the area in which they provide urban services)
- A housing plan
- A surface water management plan
- Plans for public facilities, like transportation, sewers and parks
- Other elements