What is a Comprehensive Plan?

A comprehensive plan is an official, long range planning document that provides policy guidance for future growth, development, land use, infrastructure, and services. According to New York State’s zoning enabling statutes, zoning laws must be adopted in accordance with a “well considered plan” or a “comprehensive plan.”

“The comprehensive plan results from an extensive public planning process that establishes the official land use policy of a community and presents goals and a vision for the future that guides official decision making. The comprehensive plan invariably includes a thorough analysis of current data showing land development trends and issues, community resources, and public needs for transportation, recreation, and housing. Zoning is merely one method—albeit an important one—for implementing the goals of the plan. Having a comprehensive or well-considered plan ensures that forethought and planning precede zoning and zoning amendments” (Zoning and the Comprehensive Plan, James A. Coon Local Government Technical Series, Revised 2015).

Why is the Village updating its Comprehensive Plan?

The benefits of adopting a comprehensive plan are to:

  • Provide a process for identifying community resources, long range community needs, and commonly held goals.

  • Provide a process for developing community consensus.

  • Provide a blueprint for future government actions.

Ossining’s existing Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2009. Although some conditions and planning goals may still be the same, it is critical to make sure that the Comprehensive Plan recommendations are based on current local and regional trends, are responsive to changing economic and demographic data, and are inclusive of emerging planning goals, such as incorporating principles of sustainability and preparing for the impacts of climate change.

Why update Ossining’s Comprehensive Plan now?

The COVID-19 crisis creates challenges for all aspects of work, and developing a comprehensive plan is no different. So, why is the Village proceeding with this planning process now? In fact, this is exactly the time to set a plan in place. The emergence of COVID-19 in the United States has brought issues to the forefront that may not have been included in the plan before. As we all do our best to keep our families safe, the Ossining Comprehensive Plan Update can proceed to lay the groundwork for how the Village can emerge from this crisis.


We may emerge to a new normal when we are able to begin relaxing social distancing measures, and now is the time to begin planning for those days. Federal funds have already been approved to assist state and local governments, with more assistance potentially on the way. Once again, now is the time to lay the groundwork for how Ossining can secure its fair share of those funds—and how money should be spent to ensure that Ossining’s main street downtown, emerging waterfront, and historic housing market can bounce back.


Social distancing measures are forcing us all to learn new ways to work. They will also allow us to learn new ways to hear from the community. This is no easy task, but together we are up to the challenge. We are developing exciting, interactive online tools to make sure that members of the community can provide input to guide the plan while we are sheltering at home. We are also preparing to coordinate with a wide range of community organizations to find out the best ways to make sure that online tools do not exclude any members of the community. When we are all able to meet in person, these online tools will make our overall outreach even stronger because of all of the input that we are able to generate from people who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to attend traditional public workshops.

How will the Village use the Comprehensive Plan once it is adopted?

The Comprehensive Plan is used as a guide for making official decisions regarding growth and development. Specifically, the Plan will be used to provide concrete goals and action plans to ensure strategic growth and the preservation of the village’s character, while improving quality of life for all.

The Ossining Comprehensive Plan Update will provide guidance to elected officials, Village staff, developers, neighborhood groups and other community stakeholders to ensure progress toward a common vision.

How can I get involved?

Members of the community are encouraged to participate in the Comprehensive Plan update process. In fact, public input is absolutely critical to a successful planning process. The planning team and village staff need to hear from the public to ensure that the Comprehensive Plan update is reflective of a shared vision for Ossining’s future.

The process will include public workshops, stakeholder meetings, pop-ups at community events, meetings with the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, a public survey and other online engagement tools.

Read more about upcoming events and summaries and past events here.

Who is involved in the planning process?

  • Village Board of Trustees

  • Village of Ossining Planning Department

  • Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee

  • Local residents, community-based organizations, business owners, and property owners.

  • Village Staff


  • BFJ Planning

  • Urbanomics

  • Kellard Sessions

  • Derck & Edson