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.

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.

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.

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 a robust resource library that features a range of articles, guides, and toolkits to aid cities of all sizes in their community development efforts.

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.

Economic Development

An economic development plan provides a comprehensive overview of the economy, outlines policy direction for economic growth, and identifies strategies to improve an area’s economy. 

The Ohio Economic Development Manual helps local governments and economic development practitioners better understand the legal landscape of economic development in Ohio.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s mission is to prepare American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. They provide tools, programs and funding opportunities to communities and local governments.

The Dayton Development Coalition is a non-profit economic development organization and regional network partner for JobsOhio that works to attract and retain jobs in the Dayton region. They offer data, events, and targeted financial support to entrepreneurs and industry.

Ohio Department of Development is committed to creating jobs and building strong communities throughout the state.

The International Economic Development Council is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. The IEDC provides educational opportunities, analysis, and can improve decision-makers' responsiveness to economic development needs.

Ohio’s professional association for economic developers, OEDA is a source of state economic development information for members, legislators, and policy makers.

Farmland Preservation

Farmland Preservation is an important element to consider in local planning efforts. This type of planning helps farmers and local governments preserve farmland, protect soil and water, and minimize land use conflicts. 

Ohio’s Department of Agriculture Office of Farmland Preservation offers resources for landowners and local governments aimed at strengthen the state’s agricultural industry.

The American Farmland Trust is a national organization that works to conserve and preserve farmland. The American Farmland Trust works to save farmland, promote sound farming practices, and to keep farmers on the land.

Associated with the American Farmland Trust, the Farmland Information Center is a clearinghouse for information about farmland preservation and stewardship. The Farmland Information Center allows users to search for resources by state, providing information about laws, publications, and other resources that are locally applicable. is a resource hosted by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Alliance that features a range of tools for land conservation. Tools featured on this website include model documents, a resource library, access to experts, and GIS and mapping resources.

The Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that provides policy support to its member network and tries to advance land conservation initiatives at the national level.  Through this site, users can access a learning center with a range of documents to help advance land conservation efforts.

American Planning Association Farmland Protection Knowledgebase includes a wide range of resources, including reports, fact sheets, clearing houses, and example plans for farmland protection.  The APA Farmland Protection Knowledgebase is a robust tool featuring best-in-practice and state-of-practice resources.


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

If you are using an e-reader and encounter problems with this page, please contact Martin Kim, Director of Community and Regional Planning at (937) 531-6533 for assistance.

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. Last updated August 2024.