Too often do we forget that planning for future development – the process of analyzing what we have now, what we want and how we are going to get there – involves much more than producing a set of graphics showing generic building footprints and street trees. To be successful, a final master plan must be the result of a comprehensive process, one that identifies opportunities for economic development, preserves a community’s character and guides future growth. In the end, a master plan is a road map for the future.
In many cases, master plans are used to generate excitement, raise funds or create awareness. What is the cause – is it for change, or out of necessity? Regardless of the reason, we develop these plans to set a framework, establish a strategy and provide a common vision. The process takes into consideration the environmental, civic and economic impacts that come with growth.
The outcome is a living document from which key stakeholders have:
- A consistent point of reference from which all decisions are made
- Predictability in budgeting and planning
- Opportunities for economic development
- Potential for resource optimization
To remain viable, a master plan must be flexible and dynamic. It must be able to respond to change as well as guide it.