Planning is a multi-faceted process localities use to prepare for change. In many respects, it is like the sequencing of steps and activities people and organizations have used for centuries to prepare for the future. Accordingly, it is important to realize that planning is an activity as old as humankind itself. Indeed, the capacity of the human mind to project beyond present reality helps explain, at least in part, civilization’s steady march forward. Thus, it is appropriate to view planning as a way of thinking, as well as a process, and is used by individuals, institutions, businesses and communities alike for their various endeavors. Community planning is often associated with preparations for population expansion, but it is also needed for areas that are seeking to revitalize decaying neighborhoods and/or preserve historic areas, open space and farmland. In Virginia, community planning is primarily the responsibility of local governments. Thus, this report focuses on the tools that are legally available to localities to plan for change of all kinds.