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What is a Comprehensive Plan?

Purpose, Process, and Impacts

A Comprehensive Plan (hereafter referred to as ‘The Plan’) is a document created by local governments and residents to determine what the focus and vision of the community should be over a long-term, 20 year period.

The Plan looks at the relationships between land uses, infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, and community needs, and can impact how and where a community grows over time. It seeks to include broad, equitable, and diverse public engagement from residents across all areas of the county.

A Comprehensive Plan is a requirement by the state for a local government to have Zoning regulations.

It also provides a broad tool to help communities identify how they want to prioritize resources and future planning efforts. The Plan can be used as a guide for the County in budgeting and policy decisions, drafting regulations, and creating 5-year Strategic Plans.

Some examples of questions that The Plan will seek to answer include:

  • How, where, and what type of growth is happening around the County?
  • What areas are best suited for future growth, and what should that growth look like?
  • What areas should be preserved, conserved, or protected, and how?
  • What kind of environmental, health, safety, and other challenges might the County face, and what are some ways to address those?
  • How can equity, multi-generational needs, accessibility, and other issues be addressed?
  • Where should critical facilities be located?
  • What are the goals for economic development or tourism?
  • Where should recreation facilities be located and what type should they be?
  • Are there neighborhoods that require more detailed small area plans?

Focus Area Components:

  • Transportation
  • Affordable Housing
  • Hazard Mitigation/Resiliency
  • Sustainability/Environment/Conservation
  • Aging Population and other demographic trends and projections
  • Early Childhood/Youth Population trends/Multigenerational Needs
  • Equity
  • Land Use/Development Trends/Future Land Use
  • Critical Facilities/Concurrency Management
  • Economy and Industry
  • Emergency Management/Public Safety
  • Farmland/Food
  • Infrastructure
  • Tourism (including short term rentals, hotels)
  • Nodes/Small Area Plans
  • Parks/Greenways/Healthy Community
Buncombe County Comp Plan Logo

How will the Comprehensive Plan be created?

Over a two year period starting at the end of 2021, County staff will work with residents, local leaders, groups, and stakeholders to create The Plan.

Coming up next: = current phase in progress

PHASE 1 - Fall 2021
Launch the Project

  • Create a Steering Committee of residents to help guide the process
  • Interview Commissioners, Boards, county staff, and some stakeholders
  • Develop a public engagement plan for how to reach all residents

PHASE 2 - Winter 2021
Establish the Vision and Goals

  • Gather information about the County (existing conditions and historical context)
  • Identify ways the County could change or grow over time (Projections)
  • Begin year-long public engagement process
  • Community creates the vision and goals for The Plan

PHASE 3 - Winter-Summer 2022
Develop Policies and Strategies

  • Explore choices for how the County could change over time (future growth alternatives)
  • Identify how land could be used: where we live, work and play, and what it looks like
  • Develop policies, strategies, and actions to achieve our goals
  • Continue public engagement process

PHASE 4 - Summer-Spring 2023
Adopt the Plan

  • Draft The Plan document using community feedback
  • Planning Board review and public hearing
  • County Commissioners review, public hearing, and adoption
  • Suggest changes to the County’s ordinances to reflect the vision of The Plan