Comprehensive Plan


City and County Comprehensive Planning Process

In February 2023, the City of Paducah and McCracken County approved a 20-year interlocal cooperation agreement to establish a City/County Comprehensive Plan. Currently, each government agency has its own Comprehensive Plan which is required by the State to be updated every five years. A joint City/County plan would help guide the physical and economic development of the area, preserve the City and County’s local character, and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors.

This Comp Plan will include extensive community engagement and address topics including future land use, zoning regulations, transportation, economic development, housing, and parks. The process to create the joint plan will take approximately 12 to 14 months. The expectation is for the final plan to be adopted by both government agencies in mid-2024.

Project Partner

Kendig Keast Collaborative LogoThe City and County selected Kendig Keast Collaborative (KKC) to lead the Comprehensive Master Plan effort with the City and County equally splitting the project costs. KKC specializes in assisting local governments with their community planning needs, with experience in 40 states to date since the firm’s founding in 1982. KKC is based in Sugar Land, Texas, and also has offices in Greenville, South Carolina; Louisville, Kentucky; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

KKC focuses on long-range planning and new and updated development regulations for jurisdictions of all types and sizes, as well as shorter-term strategic, special area and targeted plans (parks/trails, downtowns, corridors, etc.) intended to translate goals and concepts into specific action agendas. The firm’s principals and senior associates bring their own public sector experience to their consulting assignments.

Participation and Engagement

Joint Meetings, Public Forums, Surveys, and Listening SessionsComprehensive Plan joint workshop 2

  • Joint Workshop No. 1 (April 27, 2023) – Meeting with City and County elected officials and City and County Planning Commissions
    Issues and Needs Joint Workshop No. 1 Slide Presentation
  • Listening Session No. 1 (April 28, 2023) – Tourism, Arts, and Culture
  • Forum on the Future (June 20, 2023) – Approximately 80 community members provided input on the future of Paducah and McCracken County.
    Forum on the Future Slide Presentation 
  • Listening Sessions No. 2-4 (June 21-22, 2023)
  • Master Plan Online Community Survey (August 10 - September 8, 2023) - Through an online survey, the community provided input for the joint comprehensive plan that will guide area development, redevelopment, and enhancement efforts over the next 10 to 20 years. The 21-question survey was designed to gauge general sentiments and preferences. Receiving feedback across Paducah and McCracken County helps develop a meaningful and long-lasting plan. Thank you to all who participated - 1154 responses were received.

Online Community Survey Results

  • Joint Workshop No. 2 (January 25, 2024) - Meeting with City and County elected officials (pictured) with the Kendig Keast Collaborative providing a briefing on highlights from the Paducah-McCracken Today phase of the Comprehensive Plan update process, including highlights of the community survey conducted in August-September 2023 and proposed focus areas for the Paducah-McCracken Tomorrow phase.
    City/County Joint Workshop #2 Slide Presentation

Comprehensive Planning Themes

After reviewing in-person feedback and online survey results, six planning themes have emerged that will be addressed in the plan as the City and County look toward the future. The themes are as follows:

1. Make the area more attractive to retain, or regain, youth who grew up here, and to attract younger individuals and families.

a. Continuing efforts to diversity the area’s economic and employment base, for long-term economic sustainability and also to offer a wider range of job options to current and prospective residents.

b. Increasing the quantity and variety of housing options.

2. Safe community.

3. Infrastructure condition particularly for stormwater management.

4. Neighborhood and corridor revitalization.

5. Taking great economic advantage of area’s location and transportation assets.

6. Building on area’s tourism success, including through sustained commitment to arts, crafts, and culture.


The process for developing the new City/County Comprehensive Master Plan began in early spring of 2023 and will conclude in the summer/fall of 2024. The illustrative timeline below illustrates the key project phases and the anticipated month for each.

Comprehensive Plan Process Timeline

Resources and Current City of Paducah Comprehensive Plan

The City of Paducah's Comprehensive Plan serves as a blueprint to guide the individual and joint future planning decisions of Paducah and McCracken County. It is both purposeful in its direction and deliberate in its recommendations to forge a future that is well planned, highly coordinated, and responsibly managed.  Its focus is on the resolution of issues relating to the physical and economic development of the area, while establishing an overall vision and the policies to achieve it.  

State law mandates that any city or county that has Zoning Regulations, first adopt a Comprehensive Plan.  Once adopted, the plan must be updated a minimum of at least once every five years. The City of Paducah's Comprehensive Plan was approved by the City Commission on July 16, 2007.  The goals and objectives were amended in June 2012 with the plan readopted as a whole in June 2017. 

Comprehensive Plan  City of Paducah Comprehensive Plan (June 2017) 

Sidewalk Plan  The Sidewalk Plan that addresses existing and future sidewalk and pedestrian corridors was presented at the October 20, 2009, Commission Meeting.  


Countywide Existing Land Use
Growth Area Future Land Use
Thoroughfare Plan

Comprehensive Plan - General Definition and Elements

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

Definition and Function  There are many functions of a comprehensive plan; among them are to forge a collective vision as to intentions and will of the community to decide its future, to proactively prepare for the future by creating a plan to guide development in a fiscally responsible manner, and to coordinate public infrastructure investments to ensure adequate provision of public facilities and services.

The Comprehensive Plan contains many components and serves numerous functions such as providing information, identifying existing conditions and characteristics, and establishing local governmental policies and strategies. The plan is a definitive source of information regarding the existing and future conditions and characteristics of the community. It contains elements addressing those generally described below and provides a wealth of information to serve as a solid foundation for future decision-making relating to community growth and development. A thorough understanding of the community's past, present, and future will be needed to formulate realistic goals, viable objectives, workable policies, and effective action plans.

The Comprehensive Plan addresses both the physical aspects of community planning, such as land use, community facilities and transportation, as well as the long-term policy guidance that provides a framework for shorter-term decisions regarding development review and approval, budgeting and fiscal management, and capital improvements planning. The Plan also sets the stage for more focused strategic planning efforts on a variety of topics, providing long-term perspective and highlighting how actions in one area, such as future land use, can have implications in other areas, such as parks and open space or infrastructure and public facilities planning.

The emphasis of the plan is to provide the guidance necessary for the community leaders to make informed, rational decisions. While many plans are general (and often times too general to serve their purpose) so as to accommodate the uncertainty of a changing future, the Comprehensive Plan is sufficiently general yet firm in direction and deliberate in action.

Implementation is emphasized throughout the plan development process. The plan moves beyond the typical goals and objectives to include specific recommendations to address community issues. Plan concepts and proposals will be tested along the way to make sure they are acceptable and that there is a public acceptance and political will to implement and administer them.

Plan Elements  The many elements of the comprehensive plan have been divided into basic categories of Community Vision & Goals, Land Use Plan, Transportation Plan, Community Appearance, Growth Analysis, Economic Development, and Implementation Plan. 

Community Vision & Goals

Goals and objectives help to define the community’s vision by expressing the targets that the community will like to achieve within the respective elements of the plan, such as the pattern and scale of future development, timing and sequencing of annexation, acquisition and development of community parks and open space, preservation of valued lands and natural amenities, and adequate provision of public facilities and services. Goals and objectives also help to establish a basis for the plan’s proposals and recommendations, which form a sound framework for implementation. For each related series of issues that are identified through the discovery and reconnaissance phase, there will be one or more goals written, which are supported by numerous objectives, statements of community policy, and recommended actions. A set of community goals will follow with supportive objectives, policies and actions to form the implementation framework and provide direction for the future growth and development of the community and its extraterritorial jurisdiction. Each element of the plan will have a vision statement that is specific to the element and consistent with the overall vision of the community.

Land Use Plan

The purpose of this element is to establish the necessary policy guidance that will be used in making decisions about the compatibility and appropriateness of individual developments within the context of the larger community. The land use plan will serve as the policies for directing ongoing development and managing future growth, preserving valued areas and lands, and protecting neighborhoods. The future land use plan map will be supplemented by goals and objectives for the future development pattern, plus more specific policy statements and land use planning criteria that can later be cited as the basis for development review recommendations and decisions for potential zoning or other ordinance revisions.

It is important to acknowledge that the adopted land use plan will largely form the communities’ character. Land uses will be related to community character types allowing citizens to understand, in simple terms, the qualities that form neighborhood character and therefore merit protection. This system also provides standards that can be incorporated into zoning and other development regulations to ensure that a desired community character is achieved or preserved.

Spatial requirements for future land use will be analyzed in relation to available developable areas within urban areas, existing rural communities, and the anticipated extent of future development by Year 2025. The holding capacities of vacant lands, based upon similar development patterns and densities, will be utilized to determine the percent of developed land in the area and specifically to determine when development incentives or annexation may be necessary to meet market demands for new development.

Transportation Plan

For the existing Comprehensive Plan, the The Paducah-McCracken County Transportation Study (March 2002) was used as the basis of this study. The comprehensive plan evaluated the transportation plan based upon its relevance to the countywide land use and future growth patterns. Recommended modifications, as necessary, were identified.

The purpose of this task is to ensure orderly development of the community transportation network considering not only facilities for automobiles but other modes of transportation as well, such as pedestrian and bicycle improvements, freight movement facilities, water transportation, and other mobility issues applicable to the community. Other common problems experienced in developing areas that will be addressed in this element are access management and neighborhood traffic calming.

The Thoroughfare Plan will address not only the foreseeable transportation improvement needs over the 20-year planning period but also includes consideration of requirements for preservation of rights-of-way over a longer term. This right-of-way preservation function of the thoroughfare plan is an important consideration in subdivision platting in order to avoid short sighted development decisions which overlook the opportunity to preserve future rights-of-way needed to accommodate the longer-term development of the area’s arterial and collector thoroughfare system.

Community Appearance

The Community Appearance Element would look first to development form and secondly, to the aesthetic treatments that improve the appearance of the visual environment. The form of development (including the scale and bulk of buildings, their three-dimensional form, site placement, location of parking and service areas, amount of imperviousness/landscape surface, and the amount of open space) is first and foremost in the consideration of creating an environment that is both functional and attractive. Once development form is addressed, recommendations would be made for the aesthetic treatments that serve to enhance the built environment, such as landscaping, signage, design treatments, building materials, and other amenities. Community framework areas would be utilized to organize the community according to functional areas, such as gateways and portals, districts, and corridors. The recommendations and provisions would be organized to acknowledge the uniqueness of the framework areas as well as the individuality of each area.

Growth Analysis

The purpose of this task is to summarize the findings of the prior plan elements and place them within the context of sensible, responsible growth. At the same time, this element seeks to compare the amount of growth anticipated against the space and infrastructure available. The result is a discussion of development practices for both the private and public sectors that can aid in enhancing the physical, social, environmental, and financial conditions of the community, particular over the long-term.

Analysis will be performed for the existing infrastructure system and programmed future improvements to determine the current and forecasted future capacity and its ability to support and sustain the future growth and development of the community. The outcome of this task will be the identification of existing and forecasted future system deficiencies and the necessary system upgrades and future improvements that will be needed to support planned future land use and the desired economic development potential of Paducah, Lone Oak, and McCracken County. Development of projected utility infrastructure needs will be based on the projected future population and the Future Land Use Plan.

This task will also determine whether the public facilities and services managed by Paducah, McCracken County and other public and private entities will be sufficient to serve projected future development, to identify future facility needs, and to develop recommendations for the generalized location of future facilities.

Economic Development

Strategies within the Comprehensive Plan should support regional efforts to strengthen and diversify the economy. Throughout the diagnostic and policy analysis process associated with developing each Comprehensive Plan element, the team will analyze how current conditions, including strengths and weaknesses, and planning objectives affect the region’s ability to grow the economy in ways that are both feasible and compatible with the character of the community. The information context required for this work will come from current economic development studies and market assessments, interviews with knowledgeable individuals and other relevant information provided by local economic development practitioners.

We anticipate devoting particular attention to: the current inventory of industrial space, the airport, downtown, the regional tourism market, and emerging industry clusters that show promise for the region, as well as physical planning components that contribute to the City’s and County’s readiness to accommodate new development. Key considerations will include the provision of sufficient space in appropriate locations on the future land use plan for commercial business parks and industrial districts; ensuring provision of adequate public facilities and services; providing available, affordable, adequate, accessible and quality housing to meet future demands; and creating a sustainable living environment for all residents of the community.

Implementation Plan

The success of a comprehensive plan in providing the necessary guidance for future growth and development lies in its implementation plan. A successful plan includes an overall vision statement, goals and objectives to articulate the community’s intentions, statements of policy to guide decision making, and specific recommendations. The implementation plan divides the recommended actions into programmatic initiatives; regulations, standards and policies; capital improvements; future plans and studies; and intergovernmental relations, coordination and management. A five-year action plan is assembled and organized into the above categories. An implementation workshop involving the Citizens’ Delegation, local planning and zoning bodies, elected officials and key City staff members is then facilitated for the purpose of determining action priorities; the responsibilities of individual departments, boards or committees; and the timeframe for implementation. The program is prepared in tabular format to serve as an ongoing implementation management tool to account for the status of each action. A reporting function is also embedded in the program to provide a system of accountability.