But in dynamic development areas such as the Jersey Shore - where economics, commercialism, and the weather often drives drastic and sometimes very quick changes in the landscape - the documents may need retooling more often, said Michael Busler, a planning expert and professor of finance at Stockton University in Galloway Township.
"Generally, Master Plans drive just about everything, in terms of development, in a town," Busler
"So that means that in a place where something has been happening - whether that is economically or even because of a storm - those changes can have a dramatic effect on the future.
Often a town needs firm guidelines on what to do next."
said that since every municipality is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all plan.
"We can especially see that uniqueness at the Shore, where each of the towns along the coast seems to have a character all its own," Busler
"Clearly, what might work in neighboring Avalon wouldn't necessarily work for Sea Isle
"For example, Avalon and Stone Harbor seem to have had a strong push in recent years to turning multifamily dwelling units - like duplexes - into single-family properties.
But that hasn't been the strategy for Sea Isle
said that along the Shore, Master Plans are the "ultimate balancing act" between the needs of year-round residents and those who live elsewhere but own second homes in beach towns.
"The Master Plans must find a balance between these two groups, and that isn't necessarily an easy thing to do," Busler