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Planning Division
101-A Mounts Bay Rd.
Williamsburg, VA 23185

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Overview of the Comprehensive Plan

What is a Comprehensive Plan and why is it important?


Since 1980, every Virginia locality has been required by State law to have a Comprehensive Plan.  The purpose of the Comprehensive Plan is to guide and accomplish a coordinated, adjusted and harmonious development of an area which will, in accordance with present and probable future needs and resources, best promote the health, safety, morals, order, convenience, prosperity and general welfare of the inhabitants.What is the Comprehensive Plan Video Link

The Comprehensive Plan is general in nature, and with its accompanying maps, plats, charts and descriptive information, shows the locality’s long-range recommendations for the general development of the territory. Virginia Code § 15.2-2223.

The Comprehensive Plan is James City County’s Master Plan for guiding the physical development of our community.  Once adopted, citizens, developers, County staff, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Supervisors use it to develop and implement a course of growth in the County.  Essentially, the plan depicts where our community has been, where it is presently, where it wants to go and how it plans to get there.

Another important aspect of the Comprehensive Plan is its Land Use Map.  Land Use designations shown on the map assist in interpreting the intent of the Comprehensive Plan and are used with land development standards specific to that designation when the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors consider certain development proposals, such as rezonings and special use permits.  Learn more about Land Use designation

Topic areas that James City County’s Comprehensive Plan has addressed in the past include:


Click here to see the plan in its entirety



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