What is a Regional Planning Commission?
planning commissions across the United States, and in Missouri as
well, are known by a variety of names, including councils of government,
regional planning commissions, areawide planning organizations,
economic development districts, and area development districts.
Regardless of their name, there are several basic and fundamental
similarities among the organizations. All have been formed by local
government in one manner or another. All must have operating budgets
in order to be able to function. All must have staff in order to
provide for the work that is directed to them by their member governments,
collectively or individually, and by various state and federal agencies
with which the agency contracts under authority of the board of
directors and their membership. In Missouri, regional planning commissions
are advisory In nature, and county and municipal governments hold
membership on a voluntary basis.
Typically, regional planning commissions address a
broad cross-section of issues, including comprehensive planning;
economic development, including marketing, industrial park development,
operation of revolving loan funds, and coordination with industrial
prospects and various agencies and organizations involved In economic
development. Most regional planning commissions deal with infrastructural
issues, such as public water supply; sanitary sewage collection
and treatment; planning for various modes of transportation, including
local streets and roads, highways, airports, port development, as
appropriate, mass transit, and in some instances, rail. Regional
planning commissions are also, from time to time, involved in park,
recreational and open space planning and issues; development of
various ordinances, such as subdivision regulations, zoning ordinances,
mobile home park ordinances and the like; coordination of programs
on behalf of county and municipal members with state and federal
agencies; solid waste planning; hazardous waste planning; stormwater
damage and flood control, including the National Flood Insurance
Program; working for Improved educational and training facilities;
manpower planning and job training issues; health and health facilities
needs; and planning for compatible land usage. Most regional planning
commissions also prepare grant applications for implementation of
various capital improvements and initiation of various programs.
Numerous regional planning commissions also assist county and municipal
government in administration of grants-in-aid. Some regional planning
commissions are also involved in agricultural issues, housing development,
and provision of a variety of direct services under an agreed upon
basis with member units of government. A number of regional councils
provide mapping and drafting services for their memberships.
role of the regional planning commission or council of government
varies in each region, depending upon the desires of the member
counties and municipalities and their representatives. Nonetheless,
the prime role of the regional planning commission is to provide
a technical staff I capable to providing sound advice to its membership
and to work for coordination of various planning and infrastructural
needs among the various counties and municipalities, as appropriate.
Many regional planning commissions/councils of government conduct
a considerable amount of research as a matter of course in their
day-to-day operations and often have a considerable amount of data
and information available for use by their members and citizens
of the region. A number of the regional planning commissions in
Missouri serve as repositories for census data under an agreement
with the Missouri State Library and its Data Affiliate Program.
Most of the regional planning commissions have a small technical
and planning library which also houses a wealth of data and information
about their respective regions and, perhaps, a broader area.
Most of the rural regional planning commissions In
Missouri were formed under Chapter 251 of the Revised Statutes Of
the State of Missouri. Some are incorporated separately as not-for-proflt
corporations, and yet others, particularly in the metropolitan areas,
were formed by interstate compact or other incorporating methods.
Several of the regional planning commissions, notably East-West
Gateway Coordination Council, Mid-America Regional Council and Mo-Kan
Regional Council, serve as bi-state regional planning groups for
their respective areas. All regional councils in Missouri operate
on a not-for-profit basis.
The regional planning commissions across the State
of Missouri provide an effective way for local governments to work
together to address common problems and to share technical staff
for problems that cross border lines or boundaries and need an areawide
approach. They also can effectively deliver programs which cannot
be afforded on an individualized basis by county and municipal governments,
but can be afforded on a collective basis where all share staff
and/or resources. The intent of the regional planning commissions
in Missouri is to be of service to their member counties and municipalities
and to bring an organized approach to addressing a broad cross-section
of areawide problems. They also are available to assist their member
entities in coordinating the needs of the area with state and federal
agencies or with private companies or other public bodies.
Also see: About
MACOG | Services Provided
by Missouri RPCs