What is a Comprehensive Plan?
A Comprehensive Plan is a guide or blueprint for the physical development of an area
or region over a specified period of time, usually 20 to 25 years. Because it is developed
from public input, it provides the community with a shared vision. The plan is actually the
community writing its own guide for future growth and development. The community can
use its Comprehensive Plan to help ensure the wise use of limited public funds, guiding
its leaders in the allocation of public resources to support desired future development
What does a Comprehensive Plan contain?
The Comprehensive Plan may contain various elements, depending on the needs of
the community. Louisiana law specifies the minimum contents of such a plan in Louisiana
Revised Statute (LRS) 33:106. While the community may include other considerations,
its plan must provide a general description or depiction of existing roads and other
public thoroughfares and public rights-of-way and corridors along with public property
falling within the jurisdiction and control of the local government. The plan may also
include various materials and descriptions that support recommendations for land use,
transportation, public buildings and schools, open space and recreation facilities, public
housing, redevelopment of blighted areas, and utilities. Louisiana law, therefore, allows a
community sufficient flexibility to tailor a Comprehensive Plan to meet its unique needs.
In terms of format, the Louisiana Speaks Regional Plan (May 2007) recommends a broad
general structure, with the community vision leading into the body of the plan, which
contains key plan elements such as land use, economic development, natural hazards,
housing, transportation; urban design, critical and sensitive areas; and infrastructure. The
final section focuses on plan implementation and monitoring according to the Louisiana
Speaks Strategic Implementation Plan Policy Guide 2: A Statewide Framework for Local
Comprehensive Planning of September 2007.
Although the Comprehensive Plan may suggest methods to be used in its implementation,
such implementation requires separate action to adopt the special tools necessary.
Other than the specific considerations afforded the Comprehensive Plan in revised statutes,
full implementation of the Plan requires the adoption by ordinance of other measures or
regulatory tools that may include, among others, a zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations,
floodplain management regulations, building codes, nuisance abatement, historic
preservation, and capital programming.