Master Plan

A master plan is an official public document adopted by a quasi-legislative body (Planning Commission) that suggests, in a general way, how the area (county) should develop in the next 20 to 30 years. It is the duty of the county Planning Commission to make and adopt a master plan for the unincorporated territory of the county.

Technical Elements


Although the contents of master plans vary, 3 technical elements are commonly included. The first is goals, objectives, and policies. The goals provide general statements reflecting the desires of the county residents and officials regarding the use of land, and lays the groundwork for the plan map and the land use decision-making process. Objectives establish a more specific framework for the larger goal. The policies provide the official positions relating to the identified goals and establish guidelines for direction or action.

Second, master plans generally include general background information concerning population and economies reflecting current conditions at the time the plan is adopted, and to generally speculate on future trends to provide a basis for goals, objectives, and policies. Finally, nearly every plan includes a land use map. This map graphically represents the goals and policies and displays the intended land use pattern. The 2020 Master Plan includes all 3 elements and is designed to guide future land use decisions throughout Unincorporated Oklahoma County.

Master plans look beyond pressing current issues to gain a perspective on issues and opportunities in the future. This plan looks to the year 2020 in depicting future land use patterns.

What Does a Master Plan Not Include


Several other documents in local planning are often confused with the master plan. These include the zoning and subdivision regulations. These are specific and detailed documents intended to implement the goals and policies of a master plan.

Particularly confusing is the misconception of the roles of zoning regulations and the land use section of a master plan. Both deal with ways to use privately owned land. The plan, however, indicates only broad categories for future land use in a county, whereas a zoning map delineates the exact boundaries of zoning districts, and a zoning resolution specifies the detailed regulations that apply to them.

When is a Master Plan Needed


The county government has a great deal of influence on land use within its jurisdiction. The services, facilities, and improvements provided or regulated by county government effect the daily lives of citizens. They give form to the county and stimulate and direct the use of privately owned land.

In the unincorporated areas of Oklahoma County, the county government is the only body with an opportunity to coordinate the overall pattern of physical development.

Therefore, county government often needs technical guidance in making these land use decisions. The Planning Commission can provide this guidance with assistance from professional staff planners, but the form in which guidance is given is important. The county government needs an instrument that establishes long-range, general policies in a coordinated, unified manner, which can be continually referred to in decision-making. The master plan is the instrument that can help guide many development related decisions in unincorporated Oklahoma County.

Current Master Plan and Land Use Maps

Past Master Plan Documentation