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Master Plan: Comprehensive Plan - An Overview of Goals and Policies

The Master Plan For Parks, Trails and Open Space emerged from the County's solid efforts displayed when developing the 1999 County Comprehensive Plan Update. This policy document established an overall vision for Benton County and is used as an important planning tool to guide other County planning and implementation projects. One of the proposed outcomes included in the Plan Implementation Section recommends that the County develop a Master Plan for Parks and Open Space that identifies areas appropriate for recreation or for preservation as open space. This recommendation serves as the foundation for the current master parks plan.

The Comprehensive Plan was created through a one-year planning effort by County Staff, elected and appointed officials and community volunteers. The process included research and analysis, and encouraged public participation throughout the plan development, refinement and adoption phases. Concerns were identified, and goals and policies were established to address them. According to the document, "A County's Goals and Policies are a detailed expression of its aspirations for the future and can be considered the heart of the Comprehensive Plan."

The goals and policies outlined in the Comprehensive Plan identify several issues that served as the backbone for the master park plan. Some of these goals are general; others are more specific. Below is a list of the goals considered pertinent to the Open Space, Parks and Trails Master Plan development process:

General Goals

General goals are over-arching statements of community aspirations that indicate a broad social, economic, or physical state of conditions the community officially agrees to strive to achieve in a variety of ways. The following general goals apply to all planning and implementation work performed in Benton County:

  • Maximize the potential of Benton County as a thriving center for agriculture, business, and recreation, while maintaining and enhancing its livability.
  • Provide, maintain, and enforce standards for development that will enhance public health and the maintenance of a high quality standard of living.
  • Maximize public service efficiencies at the local level both through effective planning and management practices, and by exercising strong fiscal responsibility.

Specific Goals

Specific goals identify functional areas of the planning process that are supported by the community to achieve specific actions that pertain to the Open Space, Parks and Trails Master Plan development process. These are as follows:

Land Use

  • Support the long-term protection of agriculture in the County.
  • Plan for the orderly and efficient growth of commercial and industrial development in the County.
  • Plan for the orderly and efficient growth of residential development in the County.
  • Identify, protect, and preserve the County's high quality natural areas and open space.

Public Facilities

  • Continue to maintain and improve all community facilities.
  • Work to achieve an equitable distribution of the cost of providing County services.
  • Maintain adequate active and passive open space to meet the needs of the community.


  • Promote environmental stewardship for the County's long-term environmental benefit.


These goals guided the Bonestroo Team in the development of Benton County's Master Plan for Parks, Trails and Open Space.