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Thread: "Comprehensive Plan" or "Master Plan?"

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    "Comprehensive Plan" or "Master Plan?"

    Which term does your jurisdiction use? Do you see any difference between a 'comprehensive plan' and a 'master plan?' I've even seen some jurisdictions call it a "comprehensive master plan."

    I like "master plan." It is fewer syllables and to the point. Perhaps the word comprehensive infers bringing in associated fields such as economic development or recreation management, whereas the term "master" might lead people to just think of infrastructure.

    We're having some disagreement in the office about which term to use. Whatever we pick, I want to make sure we stick with it and don't confuse the public.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Comprehensive plans are typically adopted by municipalities. Master plans are usually adopted by special districts, such as park districts, library districts, sanitation districts. In some cases, a strategic plan may borrow some elements of master plans including inventory of existing sites, goals, objectives. However, a strategic plan is more a list of goals, sometimes with some financial section. A master plan should not be confused with master planning, which is large scale site design.
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  3. #3
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    State statutes in NH call them "Master Plans," so that's the terminology you see around here.

    http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/.../674/674-2.htm
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by progmac View post
    Which term does your jurisdiction use? Do you see any difference between a 'comprehensive plan' and a 'master plan?' I've even seen some jurisdictions call it a "comprehensive master plan."

    I like "master plan." It is fewer syllables and to the point. Perhaps the word comprehensive infers bringing in associated fields such as economic development or recreation management, whereas the term "master" might lead people to just think of infrastructure.

    We're having some disagreement in the office about which term to use. Whatever we pick, I want to make sure we stick with it and don't confuse the public.
    In California, the two follow completely different statues, rules and regulations that it has to follow. The Comprehensive plan (or General Plan as they are called here) have minimum requirements that need to be met such the inclusion of elements (land use, circulation, noise, etc) and has laws dedicated how many times it can be amended, etc.

    A master plan has no minimum requirements here, and typically is used to implement the General Plan or comp plan. FWIW smaller plans that cover a portion of a muni but not the entire muni should be a master plan or something similar like specific plan. If it cover the entire community or county, comprehensive plan it is.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner View post
    State statutes in NH call them "Master Plans," so that's the terminology you see around here.

    http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/.../674/674-2.htm
    Same here in Michigan with the new Planning Enabling Act of 2006.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Arizona has them listed as General Plans. Now our city gets confused between the General Plan and its role and a strategic plan

  7. #7
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    In Florida they are called Comprehensive Plans by state statute.

    Yo CPSURaf, ya'll got them silly things called Specific Plans, too.

    Off-topic:
    You California planners: can you believe I amended a Specific Plan (including major land use changes), in an East Bay city and got it approved with a Mitigated Negative Declaration? Yup, I'm good. Oh, I was the environmental coordinator in addition to being the planning director. Good times.
    Last edited by Richmond Jake; 23 Apr 2009 at 10:06 PM. Reason: ot comment
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    In New York, state statutes refer to comprehensive plans, but many communities continue to use the term master plan interchangably. Adoption of a comprehensive plan is voluntary, and while the plan may address certain issues or subjects, there is really no "standard" for the document that must be followed by every community.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm looking at the state statute now (Colorado), and it uses the term "master plan" and provides a long list of items that "may" be included in the plan. I think I'll stick with that term.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Our consultant was not sure of which term to use, so his drafts were entitled Comprehensive Master Plan.

  11. #11
    Texas, Washington, Comprehensive Plans

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