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Master Plan FAQ

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What is a master plan?

The master plan is a comprehensive document guiding policy and decision-making related to land use, growth and development, safety and open space conservation, and is the basis for the development of a city over a period of time. Nevada Revised Statutes requires cities and counties to “prepare and adopt a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development” of their territory (NRS 278.150).

This document provides a blueprint for growth and development using analysis of the existing conditions, strengths, opportunities and challenges that are investigated over the next year.

What topics will the master plan cover?

The State of Nevada requires the city to provide the following information within elements (here also referred to as chapters) of its master plan:

  • Conservation: The plan must include a conservation plan as well as a solid waste disposal plan.
  • Historic Preservation: The plan must include a historic neighborhood preservation plan and a historic properties preservation plan.
  • Housing: The plan must include eight components, including an inventory of housing conditions, a determination of present and prospective need for affordable housing, and a plan for maintaining and developing affordable housing to meet the housing needs of the community for at least five years.
  • Land Use: The plan must include a land use plan that includes an inventory and classification of types of natural land and of existing land cover and uses and a rural neighborhoods preservation plan.
  • Public Facilities and Services: The plan must include an economic plan to support the implementation of the element, a population plan, an above-ground utility plan, a plan for utilities, and a school facilities plan.
  • Recreation and Open Space: This element must include a recreation plan, which includes parks, trails, and open space.
  • Safety: This element must include a seismic safety plan and a safety plan which identifies natural and manmade hazards.
  • Transportation: This element must include a street and highways plan, a transit plan and a transportation plan showing a comprehensive transportation system.
Why do we need a master plan?

The city’s most current master plan is the Las Vegas 2020 Master Plan, which was adopted in 2000 and projected growth and guides policy recommendations for the city through 2020. We have both surpassed our goals within that plan and are quickly approaching its terminal year. The new master plan process will take place throughout 2019, and is intended to be adopted in early 2020.

What is the difference between the plan and zoning?

A master plan is legally required to be prepared and adopted by the planning commissions of cities in Nevada. It establishes policy and serves as a blueprint for future growth and development. A master plan designates land use designations for currently developed or future developing areas. It is adopted by ordinance and is the basis for legal policy and entitlements through zoning.

Zoning is a plan implementation tool. Zoning ordinances are required to be adopted in accordance with an adopted master plan. The city is divided into zoning districts that regulate the location, dimensions, intensity and use of buildings or land to abate or prevent nuisances and to protect the general public’s health, safety and welfare.

Who is involved with the master plan?

The master plan is a collaborative effort between the city and the public. It is spearheaded by the Department of Planning with consultation by SmithGroup. In addition there are two committees, a Citizens Advisory Committee and an Executive Steering Committee that will ensure transparency and ease of communication between those drafting the plan and representatives of community, for whom this plan is being drafted.