Plan by Subject

Planning Tools – Plan by Subject

Planning is a diverse field and covers a range of subjects, time, and scale. The tools, resources, and best practices highlighted here provide an overview and insight on plans by subject matter.

For information on tools related to plan development or plan implementation visit our other planning tool pages.

Comprehensive Plan

The comprehensive plan guides the future actions of a community. It establishes a vision for the future and guides public policy through its goals, objectives, and strategies.

Balanced Growth Ohio provides a primer on best local practices for Comprehensive Planning.

The Balanced Growth Ohio Comprehensive Plan Checklist can be used to evaluate existing plans and aid in the development of new plans.

A comprehensive plan can be prepared following these ten steps.

A community’s comprehensive plan is the ideal vehicle for addressing sustainability challenges locally. The American Planning Association’s Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places defines principles, processes, and attributes to address sustainability.

Miami Valley Comprehensive Plan Inventory provides a reference for local Comprehensive and Future Land Use plans across the Miami Valley.

Land Use Plan

A land use plan provides guidance on where and how land should be used based on a community’s needs and goals. It seeks to balance the need for development while conserving natural resources.

Ohio has developed a toolkit to help support local decisions about the location of growth, and guidance on best local land use practices for protecting clean water wherever the expansion of developed areas occurs.

The Land Based Classification Standards (LBCS) model goes beyond land use type into multiple dimensions, such as activities, functions, building types, site development character, and ownership constraints.

Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) helps create vibrant and walkable cities, towns, and neighborhoods where people have diverse choices for how they live, work, shop, and get around.

APA Policy Guide on Smart Growth defines smart growth and outlines strategies to achieve it, including economic benefits, social equity, and planning structures.

Smart Growth America works with elected officials, real estate developers, chambers of commerce, transportation and urban planning professionals, governors, and leaders in Washington to improve everyday life for people across the country through better development.

The purpose of Jefferson Township Future Land Use Strategic Planning project was to develop a place-based future land use vision and strategic action steps that reflect Jefferson Township’s values and priorities with community goals, future land use vision, and implementation strategies as outcomes.

Housing Plan

Housing is a fundamental part of any community, and planning for future housing takes many shapes and forms. These plans can be used to identify demand, issues, policies, and solutions for future housing needs in the community.

Housing is an expansive topic and issues related to housing are present in communities across the country. The American Planning Association developed a Housing Policy Guide to identify emerging trends and establish policy positions related to this topic.

This Housing Needs Assessment Manual provides a step-by-step guide aimed at helping small communities conduct their own studies.

Windshield and Walking Surveys provide an opportunity to systematically observe a community’s conditions and characteristics.

The Ohio Housing Needs Assessment provides a snapshot of the status of housing across the state, and includes a number of data points for benchmarking and analysis purposes.

MVRPC developed a series of Regional Profiles to provide insight on where the Miami Valley stands on important topics. Visit the Housing Regional Profile and Vacancy Regional Profile for data, information, and maps on these topics for the Region.

Community Development Plan

A community development plan determines how resources in a community will be utilized and allocated. A community development plan often contains issues such as housing, economic development, land use, sustainability, and growth management.

The Community Planning Process outlines six key steps for successful community planning, from data gathering to plan implementation.

This Community Planning Toolkit provides comprehensive resources for community planning, revolving around four themes: community engagement, working together, taking an outcomes approach, and achieving alignment.

Neighborhood Planning is done for a discreet subarea of a city. This research brief explains how to define this subarea and what kinds of elements are present in a neighborhood plan.

The National League of Cities has developed resources for specific topics in community and housing, such as aging, immigration, mixed-use, and zoning, among others.

Site Plan

Site planning refers to creating a plan for a specific parcel or set of parcels built on consideration of what its best potential land use is. A site plan takes into account the physical landscape, the surrounding urban form, zoning and other statutory requirements, and how the proposed use will impact existing conditions.

Cluster Development refers to clustering buildings in smaller lot spaces to preserve larger sections of open space in rural and suburban settings. This page explains the details and benefits of this type of development.

This white paper explains the concept of Compact Development, which is utilizing smaller lots for intensive land use.

Conservation Development refers to a technique which prioritizes conservation of land and resources. This resource explains how to implement conservation development practices and identifies potential issues and concerns for this type of development.

This website offers industry best practices and resources for successful Design Charrettes.


For additional information, please contact Martin Kim, Director of Community & Regional Planning at

Note: This site contains links to external websites that are not provided or maintained by or affiliated with MVRPC. MVRPC does not guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of any information on these external websites. A range of subject matter is covered under the planning tools resources. As such, MVRPC may not have individual expertise on each topic. The links provided on this page are for informational and educational purposes only.