What is a Master Plan?

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The Master Plan (also known as the Comprehensive Plan) establishes a vision for the growth of the City and outlines place-based policy recommendations to guide its physical development. The City Planning Commission uses this document as a guide for decision making. The primary tools for implementing the vision set forth in the Master Plan are the capital improvement budget, public projects, and the zoning ordinance.

Capital Improvement Budget

Public funds used for purchase, construction, enhancement, or replacement of physical infrastructure/assets. Projects may include government services that address poverty mitigation, public education, public safety, economic development, etc. 

Public Projects

These consist of any improvements made in the city that may use local, state, or federal tax dollars. Projects may include aspects of public transportation, roadway improvements, or renovations to public spaces.


A map of rules and regulations that ensure properties are utilized, maintained, and developed in a way that does not endanger public health. This determines the size, shape, and location of things such as breweries, apartment buildings, and restaurants.

Why Richmond 300?

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Richmond was founded in 1737. As we look forward to the city's 300th anniversary in 2037, how do we want Richmond to look and work? How do we want our city to feel and grow over the next 20 years so that when we hit our 300th anniversary we are proud of where we are? Richmond 300: A Guide for Growth is the plan that articulates our vision for Richmond at our 300th anniversary and outlines place-based recommendations to get us that vision. 

Why update the Master Plan?

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Richmond is growing. Since the 2001 Master Plan was developed, Richmond has added over 30,000 residents. Between 2010 and 2015, Richmond grew by 7.9 percent and was one of the fastest growing cities in Virginia during that time period. It is anticipated that current trends will continue and Richmond will continue to add population. Part of being prepared for this growth includes updating the city’s Master Plan. Furthermore, the Code of Virginia (§ 15.2-2223) requires local planning commissions to establish a comprehensive plan and review said plan every five years.

Who develops the Master Plan?

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YOU! The process to update the plan is a City-wide conversation about change, focusing on where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we want to be in 20 years. Because every Richmonder should have a say in how the city grows, Richmond 300 will be developed with extensive community input.

The Department of Planning and Development Review and other City Departments will develop the graphics and text included in the final Richmond 300 document. 

The Advisory Council, a sub-committee of the City Planning Commission, comprised of regular citizens will help Planning staff and the City Planning Commission in engaging the general public in the process and shaping the content of the plan. 

Advisory Council Committees will be established during the process to shape the content of specific topic areas in the plan. The City Planning Commission and the City Council will adopt the final Master Plan. 

How is the Master Plan used?

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The Master Plan is referenced by city elected officials (the Mayor, City Council), city staff, developers, architects, business-owners, community organizations, and residents to understand what the city's priorities are as it relates to land, neighborhoods, and communities. Different groups may use the plan for different purposes:
City Administration & City Staff
  • Identify areas well-positioned for growth and reinvestment
  • Protect constituents from unacceptable growth
  • Strengthen/grow neighborhood centers 
  • Determine how to maximize return on public investment 
  • Manage capital funds projects
  • Develop budgets
  • Pursue federal, state, and other grants 
  • Advance priorities for community wealth building
Developers, Architects & Builders
  • Purchase real estate
  • Decide whether it is most appropriate to reuse or construct new buildings in a given location
  • Identify likely hot spots for development
  • Understand the City’s development priorities
  • Align design/development ideas with City goals
Residents, Non-profits & Business Owners
  • Expand, start, or relocate a business 
  • Purchase real estate
  • Renovate an existing building
  • Improve a local park
  • Find a suitable location for a community garden
  • Attract a new business or service to a neighborhood business district
  • Verify whether a proposed development is in line with City goals

What about those other plans?

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The 2001 Master Plan has been amended over the years as the City Planning Commission has adopted area plan for several parts of the city. The officially adopted plans will be the starting point for the Richmond 300 planning effort. Some of the plans that have been officially adopted into the 2001 Master Plan include the Downtown Plan (2009), the Libbie-Patterson-Grove update (2012), the Riverfront Plan (2012), the Hull Street Corridor Revitalization Plan (2013), and the Virginia Union University/Chamberlayne Avenue Plan (2016).  

The Downtown Plan

The plan for the future of Downtown Richmond is both a physical plan to guide appropriate growth and development and a policy document to serve as a blueprint for action for City leaders, residents, and Downtown investors. The physical design details of the plan are constantly evolving, but the “Foundations of the Plan” are intended to remain constant throughout implementation. The Foundations embody both the citizenry’s vision for the future of their Downtown and the basics of planning for a highly livable city. 

Riverfront Plan

The Richmond Riverfront Plan is a transformative and comprehensive vision for the future of the downtown Richmond Riverfront on both the north and south sides of the James River. As a continuation of the 2009 Downtown Plan, the Riverfront Plan provides a bold strategy to revitalize this 2.25 mile long stretch of the James River, from the Lee Bridge to Rocketts Landing, extending at least 200’ inland from both banks.

Hull Street Corridor Revitalization Plan

The Hull Street Corridor Revitalization Plan provides a comprehensive, implementation-oriented strategy for creating sound, economically sustainable quality of life enhancements along a 4.7 mile stretch of the Hull Street Road corridor extending through both the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County, Virginia. These improvements include strong and safe multi-modal connections, transportation infrastructure upgrades, visual and physical enhancements, improved housing options, expanded job opportunities and critical recreational and environmental investments.