What Is a Master Plan?

A Master Plan is a document that helps guide a community to achieve its long term vision and intentions. Also referred to as a comprehensive plan or strategic plan, a Master Plan identifies and promotes the community’s goals, and recommends appropriate courses of action to shape future growth and development.

Why Plan?

Just as people grow and change over time, so do cities. A Master Plan helps a community accommodate that change intentionally and efficiently by establishing a process for orderly growth and development.

Benefits of an updated Master Plan include:


  • To establish and maintain a strong “sense of place”
  • To protect community character and quality of life
  • To provide a balance between the natural and built environment
  • To maximize the benefits and minimize the negative impacts related to growth
  • To arrive at a future of our own choosing
  • To maintain high quality services
  • To focus financial resources and obtain grant funding for community-identified projects and needs
  • To keep our community attractive to citizens, businesses and visitors

What Issues Does the Master Plan Address?

A Master Plan provides the framework for regulatory tools like zoning, as well as projects and organizational structures.  Elements addressed in the Sterling Master Plan include:

  • Economic development
  • Land use
  • Transportation
  • Recreation and tourism
  • Housing
  • Environment
  • Parks and open space
  • Historic and cultural preservation
  • Capital improvements and public infrastructure
  • Efficiency in government
  • Sustainability
  • Energy
  • Urban design

Click Here to access the full adopted Master Plan document and appendix.