County planning is the continual process of meeting and exceeding future goals and objectives for the development of a specific geographic location defined as a "county" within a US state. Through the study of a community's social and economic status, county planners are able to set objectives and goals for future programs, building development, and economic stimulants. This future planning allows the county to bring together the systems of various municipalities in one coherent program, providing increased manpower, more efficient use of resources, and ultimately a lower bottom line for all of the agencies within the county borders.
Planning can come in many forms, including the development, layout, and construction of new buildings. Landscape planning can assist in the development of downtown economic districts or suburban hubs. It also helps in the layout of city streets and sewer systems to develop easily navigable municipalities. A large part of the planning process assists in organizing the development of sustainable and easily accessible city grids. These involve long-term and short-term planning commitments that, while developed separately, mold seamlessly into one over reaching program.
A county planning commission will oftentimes have programs that focus on long-term social and economic development. This involves using a comprehensive plan that, over the long-term development of the county and the municipalities within it, will continue to develop resources in such a way as to be sustainable and useful. Some of the components of long-term planning may include establishing goals, analyzing data, designing implementation programs, identifying environmental constraints, and developing work plans to meet project goals on time and within budget. Current county planning commission activities could be reviewing zoning and building permit applications, developing municipality engineering and design projects, and identifying current violations to the existing code and rectifying them. All of these activities are performed on a county-wide scale by the county planning commission in an effort to cohesively link together the various municipalities that exist within a county.
In general, the county planning commission's job duties can roughly be broken down into several basic categories. The commission prepares an over-reaching comprehensive plan, and plans all long- and medium-range facilities within the county boundary structure. It reviews certain zoning laws; assists localities in the form of demographic, environmental, and economic research; and consults various governmental agencies within the county on developmental projects. Without the intervention of a county planning commission, many counties would have incoherently designed city and road structures, and would not have a long-term viability plan.