Comprehensive Plan

Sterling's Comprehensive Plan

The Comprehensive Strategic Plan is a blueprint for the short-range and long-range growth and development of the City of Sterling, prepared under the authority of Chapter 65, Division 12 of Illinois Statutes. It is designed to be used by City officials as a policy guide to:

  • Direct community development and land use decisions, especially on a neighborhood planning area level;
  • Consolidate and direct redevelopment efforts among the many community organizations;
  • Focus and stimulate private housing, business, and industrial investment in the community; and
  • Outline an implementation program that follows logic and contains achievable, measurable benchmarks.

In addition to providing sound public policy guidance, a Comprehensive Strategic Plan should incorporate an inclusive public participation process to ensure that its recommendations are as reflective of a broadly supported future vision. Before being adopted by the City Plan Commission and the City Council, a Plan must go through a formal hearing and review process. The City has incorporated other public participation efforts into its process, including focus group interviews and a community vision workshop. This formal, well-publicized process facilitates broad support of plan goals and activities.


Adopting a Comprehensive Strategic Plan is just the first step in directing community growth and redevelopment, and promoting economic development. Subsequent planning efforts must focus on providing direct connections between the Plan’s recommendations and actual development. The most effective ways of accomplishing this are to adopt development regulations that directly implement planning policies, and then, for the City to evaluate development related proposals (annexations, land divisions, rezonings, special uses, planned developments, and public investment and service decisions) based on their consistency with this Plan. Reconciliation of decisions to plan recommendations will help establish both their legal defensibility and their economic efficiency.

Finally, to be effective, this Plan should continue to be evaluated by community representatives and amended as needed to keep current with changes brought about by time. At a minimum a five-year evaluation cycle is recommended; however, the City may wish to evaluate the Plan recommendations and community decision-making on an annual basis.


View the Sterling Comprehensive Plan.  It is organized into four sections based on principal planning issues:

  • Part I: Background Information, gives an overview of important political, natural, socio-economic, existing development, and local planning factors.
  • Part II: Planning Policy Framework, outlines the policy desires of the community and provides the basis for the plan recommendations that follow.
  • Part III: Plan Recommendations, describes detailed recommendations for community character, land use, transportation, recreation, community facilities, and utilities.
  • Part IV: Implementation, provides recommended actions that should be taken to ensure that the plan is realized.