Proposed Comprehensive Plan Standards and Designation

Pilot Communities

APA has selected 10 pilot communities to help refine the plan standards developed by the Comprehensive Plan Standards Working Group and explore the possibility of a designation program:

  • Auburn, Washington
  • Foxborough, Massachusetts
  • Goshen, Indiana
  • Memphis/Shelby County, Tennessee
  • New Hanover County, North Carolina
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Rock Island, Illinois
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Savona, New York
  • Wheeling, West Virginia

These communities were selected based on the following criteria:

  • Size of jurisdiction
  • Geography
  • Stage in comprehensive planning process
  • Commitment to monthly conference calls and attendance at the National Planning Conference (NPC) in Atlanta April 2014

The Role of Pilot Communities

APA selected a diverse group of communities to serve as pilots. Communities range in size from 800 residents to regional study areas of over 1 million people, and span the country from east to west.

Plans range in scale from town to city to county to regional, and the communities are facing a wide range of planning issues. Some are losing population while others are growing rapidly. When asked what were the most pressing planning issues facing the community, responses ranged from high obesity rates to lack of economic diversification, to lack of transit and housing choice, to aging populations, to environmental constraints.

Many communities are at the beginning stages of their planning process, while some are just undergoing the public participation process or holding their first steering committee meeting. Others are in the last stages of the process and plan to use the standards to reflect on the completeness of their plan. One community hopes to build on another planning process under way to advocate for the benefits of updating a comprehensive plan that has not been updated for more than 30 years.

Over the next few months the pilot communities will be evaluating the plan standards, considering the merits of a designation program, testing the standards and evaluation program on comprehensive plans (including each other's), and reporting their findings to both one another and other communities at the 2014 National Planning Conference.

We are looking forward to working with them over the next few months and believe that with their help we can determine the best way to help communities develop comprehensive plans for sustaining places.