Master Plans

What is a Master Plan?

A Master Plan is a comprehensive long range plan intended to guide growth and development of a community or region.  It includes analysis, recommendations, and proposals for the community’s population, economy, housing, transportation, community facilities, recreation and land use.   It is based on public input, surveys, planning initiatives, existing development, physical characteristics, and social and economic conditions.  A Master Plan is a policy based document, it does not nor can it regulate land use.

A Master Plan is not a zoning document; therefore the recommendations in the plan are only for guidance, not to regulate properties or land use.  A Master Plan is a product of land use planning.  Planning is an orderly, open approach to determining a community’s needs and goals and developing strategies to address those needs and meet those goals.

Does your Master Plan need to be revised?

The Michigan Legislature adopted P.A. 33 of 2008, the Michigan Planning Enabling Act (MPEA).  The statute took effect September 1, 2008.  The MPEA replaces the three existing planning enabling acts in Michigan:  the Municipal Planning Act, County Planning Act and Township Planning Act.  Any master plan adopted after September 1, 2008 must be adopted in a manner consistent with the MPEA.

Michigan Planning Enabling Act

It is recommended that a new master plan be prepared and adopted if 10 or more years have elapsed since the adoption of your existing plan.  A new master plan should also be adopted if there have been changes in the way your community is developing or if there is a change in the basic strategy for using the plan for future land use and development in the community.  The MPEA requires master plans to be reviewed at least every five years to determine if they need to be amended, replaced by a new master plan or if no change is needed.

The benefits for having an updated plan include:

  • Consistency in decision making;
  • Ability to make informed decisions;
  • Wise use of resources;
  • Preserving community character; and
  • Produce positive economic development.


CUPPAD staff can help your community develop a new plan or update your existing plan at a reasonable cost. For more information, please contact Richard Smith.

Questions? Phone: 906-786-9234 or toll free at 1-800-562-9828

The CUPPAD Region

Click the map below to pull up county-specific information and resources.