Carbondale Comprehensive Plan

A detailed breakdown of the Comprehensive Plan by Chapters is available for downloading.

The City of Carbondale's Comprehensive Plan adopted on June 22, 2010 is availble here. (pdf format) 

A Vision for Our Community's Future

Good planning helps create communities that offer better choices for where and how people live. Planning helps community members envision the direction in which their community grows and find the right balance of new development and essential services, protection of the environment, and innovative change.

In November 2008, the City of Carbondale began the process of drafting a new Comprehensive Plan that will guide the growth and development of the community through the next decade. The Comprehensive Plan is organized into six chapters: Community Overview, Land Use and Community Development, Community Mobility, Housing and Neighborhoods, Economic Development, and Implementation. In order to assist in the planning process, the City contracted with Kendig Keast Collaborative, a professional planning consultant firm, to help lead the effort. The consultant was selected from 18 firms that submitted proposals for consideration. Important criteria used in the selection of a consulting firm included experience of the firm with working on comprehensive plans in communities of comparable size and character, related experience in working with university communities, overall knowledge of the area, and local development issues, as well as their approach to completing the project.

A fifteen member Comprehensive Plan Review Committee (PRC) was appointed by the Mayor, with the approval of the City Council. to serve as the voice of the community throughout the process. The PRC was comprised of residents from different segments of the community with diverse backgrounds, interests and expertise. Community involvement was essential in the drafting of this plan and the PRC helped funnel the community’s wishes to the City. Throughout the course of this planning process, each segment of the community was tasked with providing feedback on issues relevant to them. This feedback was used to help draft each chapter. A public hearing was held before the Planning Commission on May 19, 2010 and the Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the City Council on June 22, 2010.

The Comprehensive Plan identifies the forces that have and will influence the City’s land use pattern, social structure and economy and sets forth a planned response to the changes that they will likely bring. This plan will build on the relevant policies of the previous plans, by focusing on the current strengths of the community and recognizing future trends. Because of its nature, taking into account all facets of the community, it is rightly described as a comprehensive plan. It will be in place in Carbondale for much of the next decade, and used as a template to guide community decision-making at many levels.

There are many functions of a Comprehensive Plan. Among them are to forge a collective vision as to the intentions and will of the City to decide its future, to proactively prepare for the future by creating a framework to guide development in a fiscally responsible manner, and to coordinate public infrastructure investments to ensure adequate provision of public facilities and services. The decisions that Carbondale makes today will have a significant impact on the physical character, livability, and economic attractiveness of the community in the coming years. A comprehensive plan should be not only for future use of land, but also, more importantly, for the future character of growth and development in order to ensure that the City’s goals are achieved in a focused and effective manner.

Comprehensive plans contain factual information, establishes goals, and outlines objectives about land use and related issues. By consulting an adopted comprehensive plan, the City can make informed decisions in a timely manner. Regardless of the specific application, planning typically involves preparation for future events. Comprehensive planning is a specific type of planning that attempts to guide the physical development of a community.

It is important to understand that the Comprehensive Plan is an advisory document. The Planning Services staff and City Planning Commission will consult the completed document in making recommendations to the City Council. Due to the advisory nature of the document, the plan will not lay out a definite end result. The intent is to guide informed decision making through well organized goals and objectives. As the name indicates, what makes comprehensive planning unique is the broad scope of the process and the resulting document. The plan is considered "comprehensive" because it covers all land within the jurisdiction of the City, it covers a wide range of topics related to physical development, and it covers a long range of time.

Elements of the Comprehensive Plan

Tabel of Contents

Chapter 1 - Community Overview and Vision

Chapter 1 - Study Area Map

An overview of Carbondale including a community demographic and socio-economic profile and the overall vision for the community as the foundation of the Comprehensive Plan. 

Chapter 2 - Land Use Character and Community Growth

Chapter 2.1 - Existing Land Use Map
Chapter 2.2 - Park Services Area Map
Chapter 2.3 - Growth Trends Map
Chapter 2.4 - Current Zoning
Chapter 2.5 - Future Growth Re-Investment Areas
Chapter 2.6 - Future Land Use Map

This chapter will serve as the City’s policy for directing ongoing development and managing future growth, preserving valued areas and lands, and protecting the integrity of neighborhoods. This section will address water, wastewater, storm drainage, and provision of services such as fire and police protection. The focus will be on gaining consensus regarding how growth and new development will coordinate with public amenities and services, consistent with other fiscal and community considerations.

Chapter 3 - Community Mobility

Chapter 3.1 - Existing Sidewalk System
Chapter 3.2 - Conceptual Trail Opportunities
Chapter 3.3 - Saluki Express Route
Chapter 3.4 - Thoroughfare Plan

A multi-modal transportation strategy is a vital component of a comprehensive plan to ensure adequate preservation of rights-of-way and other coordination needs and opportunities concurrent with new development. It is also an opportunity to assess the role of transportation in creating community character and streetscape improvements as a means of redevelopment in struggling areas. This chapter will address ways to enhance community mobility to ensure orderly development of the transportation system, considering not only facilities for automobiles, but also other modes of transportation such as pedestrian and bicycle circulation (and safety), freight movement facilities, public transportation, the local airport, and associated needs. 

Chapter 4 - Housing and Neighborhoods

Chapter 4.1 - Vacancy Map
Chapter 4.2 - Housing Tenure Map
Chapter 4.3 - Medium Year Structure Built Map
Chapter 4.4 - Conceptual Neighborhood Map
Chapter 4.5 - Medium Household Income Map

Beyond simply assessing the local housing market, this chapter will include an evaluation of the design of neighborhoods within the context of the City’s current development regulations and the impact this has on housing development, community character, overall urban form, and community connectivity. The underlying premise of this element is to ensure that there is an adequate supply of housing with the level of quality and affordability needed to promote "livability."

Since a parallel focus is to create livable neighborhood environments, design issues such as how to deal with infill development will be addressed. This task will be directly tied to the City’s subdivision regulations and other development standards to ensure that there are provisions that allow development to occur in a manner that meets the City’s expectations, is feasible and profitable, and is compatible with adjacent development. Mechanisms such as development clustering, bufferyards, and other performance measures will be evaluated.

Chapter 5 - Economic Development

This chapter will address the present economic structure of the community in relation to region and identify potential opportunities that should be pursued to strengthen the economic vitality of the area. This task will utilize the analysis, findings, and strategy recommendations of the "Opportunity Analysis for Jackson County" as well as other reports and study findings available from the City to strengthen and diversify Carbondale’s economy. This task will utilize the existing reports to recommend policies for growing the economy in a way that is both feasible and compatible with the character of the community.

Of particular importance will be the physical planning components that contribute to the City’s readiness to accommodate new development and reinvestment. Key considerations will include the provision of sufficient space in appropriate locations for commercial business parks and industrial development; ensuring provision of adequate public facilities and services; providing available, affordable, adequate, accessible, and quality housing; and creating a sustainable living environment for all residents of the community.

Chapter 6 - Implementation and Action Plan

The implementation strategy will incorporate the recommendations of the individual plan elements to identify an overall strategy for executing the plan. Specifically, there will be a summary-level review of the City’s zoning and subdivision ordinances – as the plan’s implementing regulations - to identify the areas for which amendment will be necessary to achieve the vision. The review will assess whether (or not) the codes include provisions that will allow them to achieve the desired development outcomes.

The structure of the implementation program outlines specific tasks that must be accomplished. Through a facilitated "first-and-next-steps" implementation workshop conducted jointly with the Planning Commission and City Council, priorities will be determined together with an action timeframe and assignment of responsibility. A reporting function is also embedded in the program to provide a system of accountability.

Comprehensive Plan Appendix A









Helpful Website Links

Following are several websites that provide additional background and useful information on community planning, new urbanism and "smart growth" development.

American Planning Association
Complete the Streets
Congress for New Urbanism
National Association of Realtors - Smart Growth
National Main Street Center
New Urban News
New Urbanism
Smart Communities Network
Smart Growth America Coalition
Urban Land Institute
Vital Communities
Walkable Communities


Show Menu
Hide Menu