About Comprehensive Plans

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What is a comprehensive plan? It is a long-range plan for guiding the growth and physical development of a place. In Pennsylvania, county comprehensive plans must be prepared every ten years and, according to state law, must contain the following elements:

  • Goals for the county
  • A plan for land use (including residences, businesses, shops, and industry)
  • A plan to meet housing needs
  • A plan to meet transportation needs
  • A plan for community facilities and utilities, such as schools, parks, sewers, stormwater, etc.
  • A plan for the protection of natural and historic resources
The Philadelphia region, as a whole, also has a comprehensive plan, as do many of the 62 municipalities in Montgomery County. So, with all these comprehensive plans, what is the role of the county plan? The county plan provides an overall framework for local municipal plans and provides guidance on issues that transcend local boundaries, such as highways, public transportation, flooding, trails, growth trends, redevelopment trends, shopping needs, impact of large developments, overall housing needs, natural systems, and economic growth.