What is a Comprehensive Land Use Plan?

A Comprehensive Land Use Plan (The Plan) is a statement of the local government’s goals, objectives, and policies to guide public and private development.  The Comprehensive Land Use Plan is the overarching policy document that guides the development and implementation of zoning and subdivision regulations, location and classification of streets, public facilities, parks and open space, and housing and economic development programs. 


The key characteristics of a Comprehensive Land Use Plan are:

  1. They are comprehensive.  The Plan covers the entire jurisdiction, as opposed to certain limited areas or sections of a community.

  2. They are general. A Comprehensive Land Use Plan summarizes high-level policies, goals and objectives, as opposed to a zoning ordinance which regulates the design and use of individual parcels.

  3. They are long range.  A Comprehensive Land Use Plan looks forward 10 to 20 years. 


A Comprehensive Land Use Plan’s purpose is generally to:


  1. Identify the needs of a community.

  2. Develop goals and policies that directly address those needs.

  3. Direct the operations and investments in the long-term development of land, including uses, parks, streets, open space, public utilities and infrastructure.

  4. Serve as the legal framework for zoning and subdivision decisions.   


The Comprehensive Land Use Plan influences nearly all essential community services.


Sustainable Yellow Springs

The theme of this Comprehensive Land Use Plan recognizes the Village's past and future commitment to sustainability.  For the purpose of this Plan, sustainability refers to the ability to support the needs of the present, without compromising future generations in the areas of: economic, environmental, and human sustainability.

Economic Sustainability refers to the ability of the Village and its residents to economically thrive and financially support critical systems such as its infrastructure, businesses, education and cultural institutions.  Future development and investment should be measured in a manner that seeks to positively enhance economic sustainability of the Village and its residents.  For example, new developments should be measured with an eye toward whether or not they enhance the economic well being of the Village such as creating living wage jobs, or adding additional rate payers to support existing public infrastructure.

Environmental Sustainability refers to the current and long term health of our natural and ecological systems.  Natural and cultural features should be protected and preserved for future generations.  New development should be measured with an eye toward enhancing the environment such as ensuring that infill development is encouraged, and at the very least new development only occurs within the Urban Service Boundary.  Programs and policies designed to protect valuable farmland, open space and parks are supported, and efforts continue to reduce our overall impact on the natural environment.  


Human Sustainability refers to the ability of current and future residents to survive and flourish within the Village, by satisfying their physical and emotional needs.  This includes the ability to find adequate and affordable housing, living in an safe environment, and fulfill their recreational, educational, cultural and spiritual needs.  Future policies and investments should be evaluated with an eye toward human sustainability.  Examples include ensuring affordable housing is encouraged, parks and playgrounds are accessible, and all persons feel welcome as residents of Yellow Springs. 

The recommendations contained in this plan have been crafted through the lens of sustainability.  That is not to say there are no conflicts between the recommendations, but overall, the goal is for the Village to continue to evolve in a deliberately sustainable manner. 


The Village should periodically review the growth assumptions, goals, and policies outlined in this Plan (every 10 to 15 years) to maintain the Plan’s relevance, or whenever significant changes to the development pattern of the Village, such as when large annexations occur.