According to Wisconsin's Comprehensive Planning law (1999 Wisconsin Act 9 signed by Governor Thompson in October 1999, as amended by 1999 Wisconsin Act 148) a comprehensive plan shall contain at least all of the following nine elements.
- Issues and Opportunities - the background information on the local government unit and its overall objectives, policies, goals and programs.
- Housing - to provide an adequate housing supply to meet existing and future housing demands.
- Transportation - to guide future development of the various modes of transportation systems for persons with disabilities, bicycles, walking, railroads, air transportation, trucking and water transportation.
- Utilities and Community Facilities - to guide the future development of utilities and community facilities in the local governmental unit. Examples include: sanitary sewer, storm water management, water supply, solid waste disposal, etc.
- Agricultural, Natural and Cultural Resources - for the conservation and promotion of effective resources management. Examples include: groundwater, forests, productive agricultural areas, stream corridors, surface waters, etc.
- Economic Development to promote the stabilization, retention or expansion of the economic base, as well as quality employment opportunities in the local governmental unit.
- Intergovernmental Cooperation - for joint planning and decision making with other jurisdictions, including school districts and adjacent local governmental units, for siting and building public facilities and sharing public services.
- Land Use - to guide the future development and redevelopment of public and private property.
- Implementation - describe how each of the elements above will be integrated and made consistent with the other elements of the comprehensive plan, include a mechanism to measure progress towards achieving all aspects of the plan, and a process for updating the comprehensive plan.