Virginia State law requires that all local governments have an adopted Comprehensive Plan, which spells out policies for future development in order to ensure orderly growth and the protection of the public health and welfare. The Comprehensive Plan may consist of a number of components, such as local area plans, service plans, and specific land-use related resolutions of the Board of Supervisors. Section 15.2-2223 of the Code of Virginia states:
The comprehensive plan shall be made with the purpose of guiding and accomplishing a coordinated, adjusted, and harmonious development of the territory which will, in accordance with present and probable future needs and resources, best promote the health, safety, morals, order, convenience, prosperity, and general welfare of the inhabitants.
By requiring local governments to adopt comprehensive plans, the legislature implied that local government issues are best handled at the local level of government. This Comprehensive Plan, therefore, is the vehicle by which the local government officials and citizens of Middlesex County express their goals for the future of their community.