Comprehensive Planning & Zoning/Maps


What is comprehensive planning?

A local government’s comprehensive plan is a vision document that provides guidance for growth through a set of goals, objectives, and policies. The document is regulatory, meaning that any permit, land use, or zoning decision must be consistent with the comprehensive plan. If it isn’t, then the local government cannot approve the project.


1000 Friends of Florida provides an excellent summary of Comprehensive Planning in Florida:

Comprehensive Planning in Florida

Recognizing the impacts of population growth, Florida law requires each county and municipal government to adopt and maintain a Local Comprehensive Plan consistent with state and regional plans. 

These plans are intended to:

  • Guide and control future development,
  • Overcome existing problems and deal effectively with future problems that may result from the use and development of land,
  • Preserve, promote, protect, and improve the public health, safety, comfort and good order, and
  • Protect human, environmental, social, and economic resources.


Local comprehensive plans include a series of required Elements dealing with capital improvements, future land use, transportation, sanitary sewer, solid waste, drainage, potable water and natural groundwater aquifer recharge, natural resource conservation, recreation and open space, housing, coastal management, and intergovernmental coordination.  A series of goals, objectives, and specific policies outlines how the local government will accomplish the intent of the element.  Each local comprehensive plan, in concept, becomes the local government’s “constitution” for controlling and directing the type and amount of development allowed or encouraged in that community. As part of its local comprehensive plan, each local government must adopt a Future Land Use Map (“FLUM”) that shows the “proposed distribution, location, and extent of the various categories of land” that the community has included in its local comprehensive plan. The future land use categories establish density (number of units per acre), intensity (a measurement of non-residential square footage).

For a copy of the city’s comprehensive plan, please email


What is Zoning?

Zoning is how a city implements its comprehensive plan. It establishes permitted and prohibited uses, setbacks, building height, subdivision of land, fence and sign regulations, etc. The city of Bradenton is somewhat unique in that it has parallel zoning codes: one for the central part of the city that encompasses the central business district, the Village of the Arts, the areas proximate to Manatee Memorial hospital, Point Pleasant, and 9th Street and 14th Street West. The “Euclidean” suburban code applies to the rest of the city.


Differences Between Euclidean Codes & Form-Based Codes

  •    Euclidean Codes segregate uses where Form-Based Codes stress the importance of mixed-use areas. 
  •    Because Form-Based Codes are prescriptive (they state what you want), rather than proscriptive (what you don't want), form-based codes can achieve a more predictable physical result. 
  •    Form-based codes are pro-active, rather than re-active. Form-Based codes are much shorter, more concise, and organized for visual access and readability. 
  •    This feature makes it easier for non-planners to determine whether compliance has been achieved. 
  •    FBCs work well in established communities because they effectively define and codify a neighborhood's existing structure and promote compatible infill with ease. Euclidean zoning focuses on and regulates use, ignores design and human scale. 
  •    Euclidean zoning codes regulates use and deemphasizes concerns for design and human scale. 


For copies of the Form Based Code, please email The Euclidean Land Use Regulations can be viewed online here:

Euclidean Land Use Regulations