Comprehensive Plan

The Code of Virginia requires that each locality's Planning Commission prepare and Board of Supervisors adopt a Comprehensive Plan. The Plan acts as a general, long-range guide concerning the overall growth and development of the County for local decision-makers. The County implements its Comprehensive Plan through amendments to the County Code, land use decisions, and funding local and regional projects in partnership with state agencies, regional Planning District Commissions, Economic Development Authorities, and other entities. The Commission must review this document every five years to determine what revisions or updates, if any, are necessary.

Comprehensive Planning Process

The planning process begins by analyzing the current Comprehensive Plan and assessing the current status of the County. At the same time, public input is sought to identify community issues and develop implementation strategies that will be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan. Public input can be received through various means, including hearings, citizen task forces, committees, advisory groups, and surveys. The Planning Commission, with the help of staff from the Planning Division, will then prepare the Comprehensive Plan for a Public Hearing. Once the Commission has held a Public Hearing and determined that the Plan is ready, they will forward the document to the Board of Supervisors for their review. The Board will hold an additional Public Hearing and either decide to adopt the Plan or return it to the Commission for further revisions. The adopted Comprehensive Plan will act to guide in decision-making by the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, and Planning and Zoning staff.

Local Planning History

Gloucester County has adopted three Comprehensive Plans to date, with the first Plan adopted in 1974 and updated in 1980. Following rapid growth within the County, a subsequent Plan was adopted in 1991, which was updated numerous times to include multiple Special Area Plans and other detailed information required by revisions to the state code requirements. The County adopted its current Comprehensive Plan in 2016, which included public input, guidance from the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission, and recommendations from the County's two Sub-Area Plans. Additional details on the County's Sub-Area Plans and Special Area Plans can be found on the Community Planning Initiatives & Projects page.

2016 Comprehensive Plan

The County's current Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2016 following an extensive planning process. This document includes chapters on Economic Development, Transportation, Natural Resources, and Housing, among others. Most chapters describe the current status of the County and list Goals, Objectives, and Implementation Strategies. In 2022, Appendix J to the Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in order to establish evaluation criteria for “public service corporations” and “public utilities”. These criteria were developed for the Planning Commission to use during reviews under Section 15.2-2232 of the Code of Virginia and fall under three categories: criteria for zoning district and/or future land use types, general criteria for all uses, and criteria for specific uses. The Comprehensive Plan can be downloaded from the link below or viewed within this page (this is a large file and may take long to download).

Download the 2016 Gloucester County Comprehensive Plan and Appendix J (Public Service Corporations & Public Utilities Criteria).