Comprehensive Plans


Municipalities and counties are authorized to prepare comprehensive plans as a long-range guiding document for a community to achieve its vision and goals. The comprehensive plan(or master plan) provides the policy framework for regulatory tools like zoning, subdivision regulations, annexations, and other policies. A comprehensive plan promotes the community's vision, goals, objectives, and policies, establishes a process for orderly growth and development, addresses both current and long-term needs, and provides for a balance between the natural and built environment.(See Colorado Revised Statute 30-28-106 and 31-23-206.) Elements addressed in a comprehensive plan may include: recreation and tourism (required by state statutes), transportation, land use, economic development, affordable housing, environment, parks and open space, natural and cultural resources, hazards, capital improvements, water supply and conservation, efficiency in government, sustainability, energy, and urban design.

More on Comprehensive or Master Planning

Master Plan Primer

Comprehensive Plan: A Road Map to Community Development

APA Comprehensive Plan Standards

Many local governments hire a consultant to update their comprehensive plan. This American Planning Association link provide guidance to local governments on the process for selecting a consultant, including writing a Request for Proposal (RFP).

For more information on water conservation-related land use policies, see CDO’s Water and Land Use Integration Page.

Incorporating Water into Comprehensive Planning Guidance from the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy

Sample Comprehensive Plans

Below are links and short descriptions of sample comprehensive plans from a variety of county and municipalities in Colorado. (Note: These descriptions are not meant to be comprehensive or a judgment of the quality of each plan.)

County Plan Samples

  • Adams County - Note: Adams County integrated the consideration of hazards throughout the plan and included the county’s hazard mitigation plan in the appendices (one of just a few communities in Colorado who have taken this step).
  • Logan County - Note: Developed in-house by staff and planning commission members.
  • Prowers County
  • Rio Grande County - Note: Rio Grande County Joint Master Plan is an example of a joint plan between the county and its municipalities.

Municipal Plan Samples


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