Links by state or province
Land Use Planning in the Great Lakes Region
Planning is a process whereby citizens and their locally-elected representatives
form and document a vision for how, when and why their communities should or
should not grow and develop. That vision is most clearly expressed in a document
called a comprehensive plan (U.S.) or an official plan (Canada).
U.S. states have their
own planning and zoning laws. In turn, states authorize local governments
to develop and adopt comprehensive plans and/or zoning ordinances.
No Great Lakes states require local governments to plan or zone,
and only New York, Pennsylvania and Minnesota (and effective January
2010, also Wisconsin) require zoning to be consistent with a comprehensive
plan. All Great Lakes states are "home rule" states, whereby
planning authority is delegated to local municipalities (e.g., cities,
Lakes regional and metropolitan planning organizations (RPOs
and MPOs) help local governments coordinate their planning efforts.
Although they have no land use planning authority, RPOs and MPOS
do have transportation planning authority which has a direct impact
on other planning efforts and land development patterns.
is a tool for implementing comprehensive plans. However, because
zoning and subdivision ordinances carry the force of law and comprehensive
plans do not, much "land use planning" is based on zoning
and subdivision regulations that favor sprawl.
Ontario municipalities have official plans
which lay out long-term frameworks for urban growth. Official plans
are implemented through secondary plans and zoning. By law, secondary
plans, zoning and public works must be consistent with the official
plan. However, official plans are not required to be consistent
with the Provincial Planning Act rules for land use planning.
Great Lakes Planning Organizations
(listed by state/province)