The Comprehensive Plan May Impact Your Zoning Application

A Comprehensive Plan is an official map with land uses and guidelines for land development. It outlines a community’s goals, visions, and policies for future growth. It also provides a general framework for land use, zoning, transportation, infrastructure, housing, economic development, and environmental protection over a specified period, typically ranging from 10 to 20 years. 

The contents of a Comprehensive Plan can vary depending on the specific community’s needs, goals, and priorities, as well as the jurisdiction’s regulations. However, common elements are typically included in a Comprehensive Plan. Here are the main components: 

• Consideration of regional needs​ 

• Existing and proposed location and intensity of land uses​ 

• Consideration of population, demographics, and socio-economic trends and future projects​ 

• Location and types of transportation facilities​ 

• Existing and proposed locations of public and private utilities and infrastructure​ 

• Existing and future housing needs​ 

• Existing and future commercial and industrial facilities 

For an example of a Comprehensive Plan, consider this one from the Village of Palatine. As a common practice, the Village of Palatine’s Comprehensive Plan is the result of a collaborative process between community leaders, residents, and stakeholder groups. The engagement process included open houses, surveys, and public hearings before the Plan Commission and Village Council. At the time of the Comprehensive Plan’s adoption, the Village of Palatine was fully developed, with little remaining vacant land. Therefore, the Comprehensive Plan addresses opportunities for redevelopment.  

Before submitting a zoning application, it’s critical to understand how your proposal fits in with the land use map and guidelines outlined in the Comprehensive Plan. At Birchwood Law, we have extensive experience analyzing these guiding documents and advancing arguments in favor of clients’ projects. If you have questions about how a Comprehensive Plan may impact on your zoning request, we’d love to hear from you! You can reach us at 

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. It is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. The information provided here does not create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon this information without seeking advice from an attorney licensed in your state or country.