The development of comprehensive plans is crucial for the effective development of modern communities. Traditionally planning played an important role in the development of society. However, the modern society tends to develop chaotically and it is quite difficult to plan the development of society, especially in a long-term perspective. Today, in the postindustrial society, it is very difficult to plan its development because the democratic development and progress of technologies prevent planners from accurate definition of the future prospects of the society. The introduction of new technologies can change the life of the modern society consistently (Peters, 145). For instance, the introduction and Internet have changed the modern society dramatically. As a result, planners can hardly forecast accurately the development of society in a long-term perspective. In such a situation the role and significance of the comprehensive plan can hardly be underestimated, especially in the context of growing environmental concerns of the modern society.
In actuality, a comprehensive plan is a land document that defines the framework and policy directions for the land use decisions. As a rule, a comprehensive plan contains the following chapters: land use, transportation, housing, capital facilities, utilities, shorelines, and rural (for counties) (). In addition, today, chapters addressing economic development and parks and recreation are also required. In this regard, the state funding is of the utmost importance because without the state funding the implementation of a comprehensive plan is virtually impossible since funds of investors are insufficient to cover all the costs and expanses of a comprehensive plan. In addition, modern comprehensive plans may include optional chapters, such as conservation, energy, recreation, and subarea plans where appropriate.
Basically, comprehensive plans define where and how the growth needs will be met. Specialists () point out that adjacent jurisdiction is required to have plans that are consistent. In such a way, comprehensive plans should be backed up by legislative changes in the state and local legislation to increase the efficiency of comprehensive plans. It is necessary to stress that comprehensive plans provide the basis for many of the policies, regulations, and budget decisions that cities and counties will make. In other words, comprehensive plans lay the foundation to the development of cities and counties and, therefore, they are vitally important for the steady development of cities and counties. In addition, they provide ample opportunities for a steady economic development as well as environmental development. The latter implies that comprehensive plans allow minimizing the negative impact of human activities on the environment that leads to the gradual improvement of the environmental situation.
Moreover, comprehensive plans create the basis for the long-term planning of cities’ and counties’ development. In such a context, it is worth mentioning the fact that comprehensive plans have a number of benefits for the development of local communities. First of all, cities and counties integrate decisions about land uses, transportation, water capacity, public facilities, natural resources, environmental protection, economic development, housing, and other important issues. Secondly, fiscal accountability is built into comprehensive plans.
Therefore, 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. Furthermore, developers and citizens know what to expect as communities make clear decisions and jurisdictions coordinate with each other and with local districts that provide services (). In such a way, comprehensive planning contributes to the growing interaction between the local authorities and local communities. The latter become active participants of the development of comprehensive planning that allows developers of comprehensive plans to take into consideration the actual needs of the local population. Therefore, the balanced and steady development of local communities is ensured.
At the same time, comprehensive plans contribute to saving costs through the increase of the efficiency of communities and authorities cooperation. In fact, such a cooperation contributes to the optimization of the use of the local community’s funds. Consequently, on saving costs, local communities can fund efficiently projects which are vitally important for them not only in a short-run but also in a long-run perspective. No wonder, many communities tend to develop and implement their comprehensive plans, which ensure their stable development.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that comprehensive plans are extremely important for local communities. They have a number of benefits to the development of local communities and, what is more, they contribute to a steady economic development of communities and meet interests of communities. As a result, the wider implementation of comprehensive plans leads to the improvement of economic as well as environmental situation in many communities.