What is a Regional Planning Commission?

Regional 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. In Missouri, regional planning commissions are advisory in nature, and county and municipal governments hold membership on a voluntary basis.

Most of the rural regional planning commissions In Missouri were formed under Chapter 251 of the Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri. 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.