The Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board was created in March 1976, through an interlocal agreement between the Manhattan City Commission and the Riley County Commission, to provide for coordinated planning within a jurisdictional area called the Manhattan Urban Area, which includes the Manhattan city limits and the surrounding urbanizing area. The focus of the board is to develop, adopt and update the comprehensive plan and other policy documents for the board's jurisdictional area, and formulation of Subdivision and Zoning Regulations for the area. These policy and implementation documents address a range of community issues such as growth and development, land use, natural resources and open space, flood plains, housing, neighborhoods, the downtown, highway corridors and transportation. The board also reviews development applications and planning and zoning proposals, and forwards recommendations to the City or County Commission for final action.
The Board is comprised of seven members, with the City and County Commissions each appointing three members, and the seventh member being an alternating appointment.
The Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board meets on the first and third Mondays of each month. The first meeting of the month is a legislative meeting, during which the board conducts public hearings to consider and make recommendations on applications involving the annexation, zoning and subdivision of land, and proposed amendments to regulations and land use plans. The second meeting of the month is a work session, during which the board works with the community and planning division on various studies and planning initiatives, to address both the strategic and long-range planning needs of the community.