Local Comprehensive Planning

Great places don’t happen by accident. Local governments must plan carefully and work with residents to identify a vision for their community and develop a framework to guide future development.

The Georgia Planning Act requires that cities and counties maintain comprehensive plans that help shape future growth. These plans generally recognize the physical, economic, social, political and aesthetic factors of a community and are developed in a process that includes intensive analysis and robust public engagement.

A comprehensive plan typically includes a long-range scope (at least 20 years) and provides the overall guiding principles for a community’s growth and development. As an example, the Atlanta Region’s Plan serves as the comprehensive plan for the Atlanta region.

ARC Offers Community Planning Services

ARC frequently assists local jurisdictions in meeting state requirements for comprehensive planning. Specifically, we offer assistance in:

  • Visioning and Goal Setting
    How might things be different in 5 or 10 years, or even 25 years? ARC has designed activities that encourage public input on developing a community’s long-range vision. ARC is able to help stimulate ideas, determine common goals, suggest strategies and facilitate public dialogue.
  • Asset-Based Community Development
    ARC is able to help communities identify local resources, such as parks, historic downtowns, retail districts, etc., that give a community its identity. We help communities take advantage of these assets and create innovative strategies around them. We can also help identify groups or individuals that should be invited to the planning table, as well as strategies for keeping them engaged.
  • Workshop and Forum Facilitation
    ARC has guided and facilitated planning projects around the region, from re-envisioning a downtown area, to installing a piece of public art. Sometimes it is effective to have an ‘outsider’ lead public meetings – especially when the process is likely to be controversial. Meetings can be designed to cover a couple of hours or a couple of days.
  • Plan Completion
    ARC is also responsible for ensuring that each community’s comprehensive plan is complete and valid, and identifying any potential opportunities for regional solutions.

Search Plan Reviews

Community Planning Resources

Georgia Minimum Standards and Procedures for Local Comprehensive Planning (PDF)
Georgia Department of Community Affairs – Local Comprehensive Planning
ARC Plan Reviews – Search the Database
List of local government websites 
The Atlanta Region’s Plan

For additional information on Local Comprehensive Planning, please contact Andrew Smith at asmith@atlantaregional.org.