A comprehensive plan is a land use document that provides the framework and policy direction for land use decisions. A comprehensive plan is required to be adopted and revisited every ten years in order to have an effective and legal zoning ordinance. Under West Virginia law, the plan must contain and describe certain areas of planning.
Comprehensive plans identify where and how growth needs will be met. Adjacent jurisdictions are required to have plans that are consistent. These plans then provide the basis for many of the policies, regulation, and budget decisions that the city will make.
Some of the benefits of having an effective comprehensive plan:
- Integrated decisions about land uses, transportation, water capacity, public facilities, natural resources, environmental protection, economic development, housing and other issues.
- Fiscal accountability can be built into comprehensive plans. Local governments identify the capital facility needs, along with estimated costs and revenues for each facility. Planning for these facilities is linked with land use decisions about the location and density of population growth.
- Developers and citizens know what to expect as communities make clear decisions and as jurisdictions coordinate with each other and with local districts that provide service.