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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 C.R.S. 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.
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).
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 judgement of the quality of each plan.)