Aside from the need for a plan to guide growth and development, the requirement of a plan by the Georgia General Assembly to be eligible for certain state grants and loans provides the major impetus for local governments to embark on the comprehensive planning process. Once plans are completed and adopted by the local governing body, they must be maintained and updated periodically to continue eligibility for grants and loans. Oakwood’s Comprehensive Plan was updated June, 2017.
 
The Comprehensive Plan has several characteristics. It is intended to guide the physical development of a community by describing how, why, when and where to build or preserve the community. The plan is also long range, in that it considers a horizon of 20 years. It is utopian in the sense that it is a picture of what the community desires to become, but it is also realistic with regard to anticipated social, economic, physical and political constraints. It is comprehensive because it covers the entire city geographically, encompasses all the functions that make a community work, and considers the interrelationships of the functions. A comprehensive plan is a statement of policy, covering future direction desired by the community in each plan element, and it is a guide to decision making for the elected and appointed local government officials and other citizens.
 
The plan is based on the foundation that if a community knows where it wants to go, it has a better opportunity of getting there.