What is a Comprehensive Plan and How Can I Become Involved?

A comprehensive plan is the official statement of a community’s long-term vision for the future. It consists a set of coordinated plans organized by subject—Land Use, Transportation, Economic Development, Parks and Open Space, etc.—and includes text, maps, and other graphics to help clarify the intent of the vision.

Texas law requires zoning regulations to be adopted in accordance with a comprehensive plan, but the two documents are not the same. A comprehensive plan is more general in nature. It does not change the zoning on a piece of property, set zoning district boundaries, or include detailed development regulations. It is, however, an important factor in making zoning decisions and helps the City plan for investments in transportation and other infrastructure that will be necessary to accommodate existing and future development.

Public input is a very important aspect of a comprehensive planning process, and there are a variety of ways that interested persons can become involved in the project—serving on committees, providing input in individual and small group discussion settings, participating in online surveys, taking part in community events, and following along on the project website and the City’s social media. The purpose of community participation in this effort is to ensure that the final plan accurately reflects the vision of the people of Decatur.