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Requirements of a Local Comprehensive Plan

Within the development of a comprehensive plan, specific elements must be included to meet the statutory requirements of S 66.1001. These elements will provide local governmental units (towns, villages, cities, and counties) with the tools (goals, objectives, maps, policies, or programs) necessary to create comprehensive plans, which in turn, will promote more informed land-use decisions. The following is a short summary of each of the required nine elements that must be included within a local comprehensive plan.

1. Issues and Opportunities Element - Background information on the local governement unit that includes such things as population, household and employment forecasts, demographic trends, age distribution, education levels, income levels, and projections where applicable. This information is used to guide the future development and redevelopment of the local government unit over the next 20 years.

2. Housing Element - A compilation of the tools to provide an adequate housing supply to meet existing and future housing demands. Included in this section would be things like age, value, housing stock, and occupancy characteristics.

3. Transportation Element - Described as a collection of tools to help guide the future development of the various modes of transportation such as highways, walking, bicycles, railroads, air, trucking, water, and transit.

4. Utilities and Community Facilities Element - A reference to help guide future development of utilities and community facilities in a local unit of government. Examples include sanitary sewer service, water supply, solid waste disposal, on-site wastewater treatment technologies, recycling facilities, parks, telecommunication facilities, power plants, transmission lines, cemeteries, and health and childcare facilities. It also would include other public facilities like police, fire, and ambulance; libraries; and schools.

5. Agricultural, Natural and Cultural Resource - Identifies programs for the conservaiton and promotion of effective resource management. Examples include groundwater, forests, productive agricultural areas, environmentally sensitive areas, threatened and endangered species, stream corridors, surface waters, floodplains, wetlands, wildlife habitat, metallic and nonmetallic mineral resources consistent with zoning limitations under s. 295.20 (2), open spaces, historical resources, recreational and other natural resources in the area.

6. Economic Development Element - Defined as a set of programs to help promote the stabilization, retention, or expansion of the overall economic base, quality of employment, and employment opportunities in the region. It will also include such things as analysis of labor force and economic base, assessment of desirable types of new business, as well as strengths and weaknesses in attracting and retaining business.

7. Intergovernmental Cooperation - Outlines programs for joint planning and decision making with other jurisdictions, including school districts and adjacent local units of government, for siting and building public facilities and sharing public services.

8. Land Use Element - Helps guide the future development and redevelopment of public and private property. Included will be such things as amount, type, intensity and net density of existing land uses; examination of trends in supply, demand, and price of land; projections based on background information for the next 20 years in five-year increments; and a series of maps that show things like current and future land uses, wetlands, soils, and the general location of future land uses by net density or other classification.

9. Implementation Element - Will describe how each of the elements of the comprehensive plan will be integrated and made consistent with other elements of the plan. It must also include a mechanism to measure progress toward achieving all aspects of the comprehensive plan and include a process for updating the plan. A comprehensive plan should be updated no less than once every ten years.