Comprehensive Plans

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

Every 20 years or so, City planners gather ideas and feedback from the community and develop a new Comprehensive Plan. This document helps guide policy decisions and future investments in the City. Comprehensive plans provide a broad vision for the future of the community with recommendations for implementation. This vision includes guidance for land use decisions, pressing community concerns, and economic investment.

While a comprehensive plan is necessary to ensure coordinated development and balanced investment, it is an advisory document. Comprehensive plans are not a guarantee of future development, initiatives, or funding. The implementation section of the comprehensive plan outlines the necessary tools and partners needed to bring the comprehensive plan to life. This includes participation from local government, nonprofits, investors, and community members alike.

The Last 20 Years

The most recent comprehensive plan, Vision 2020, was adopted in 2001 and it accomplished some impressive results. Vision 2020 helped reinvigorate downtown by designating it a historic district. This helped spark interest and incentives associated with the rehabilitation of historic buildings, resulting in the development of 1,000 new residential units downtown. The Greenways weave throughout our neighborhoods today, but 20 years ago the paved trails along the Roanoke River, Lick Run, Tinker Creek, and Mill Mountain were non-existent or unsubstantial. The City also adopted a Complete Streets Policy and Street Design Guidelines, and retrofitted miles of streets to make them more pedestrian and bike-friendly.

View Implementation Report

Top Accomplishments

Facilitated strategic downtown projects such as the Market Building, Market Square, and the Elmwood Park Amphitheater, Campbell parking garage, Market Garage Hotel, and the Civic Center Exhibition Hall.

Adopted new land development codes to implement policies related to land use, urban form, site design, building form, street design, and water quality.

Targeted CDBG funds into a single neighborhood to create more impact.  Between 2001 and 2018, we had five target areas:  Belmont, Gainsboro, Hurt Park, West End, and Melrose-Orange.

Constructed a network of greenways along the Roanoke River, Lick Run, and Tinker Creek and to the top of Mill Mountain.  Developed unpaved trail systems at Carvins Cove, Mill Mountain, and Fishburn/Woodlawn Park.

Expanded and designated historic districts to drive rehabilitation of historic buildings in downtown.  1,000 residential units were created in downtown.

Transformed the South Jefferson Redevelopment Area into a major economic activity center for the region.

Completed a neighborhood/area plan for every area of the city

Enabled future housing development at Countryside and Colonial Green.

Adopted a Complete Streets Policy and Street Design Guidelines and retrofitted miles of streets to make them more pedestrian and bike friendly.

Updated or reconstructed public facilities, including our network of Fire/EMS stations, our libraries, our schools, and replaced Victory Stadium with stadiums at each high school.

Legacy City Plans

View Roanoke’s full history of visionary Comprehensive Planning Projects.

1907 Plan
1928 Plan
1964 Plan
1985 Plan

While you’re here…

We are currently seeking community feedback for the following projects. Please take a minute and share your ideas!

Welcoming Roanoke

What is Welcoming Roanoke? Roanoke was among 13 communities selected by New American Economy (NAE) and Welcoming America to receive awards through the Gateways for Growth Challenge. As part of this award, Roanoke [...]

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