Community Development can best be described as the means by which the strategic goals and resources of the Town are realized in terms of policies and projects. Town planning provides a long-term vision for the development of the Town by determining how and where changes in the built environment will occur. Visioning policy documents, primarily the Municipal Planning Strategy, provide a framework for the Town's future land use needs taking into account a range of factors including changes in demographics and economics. The Land Use and Subdivision By-Laws then articulate the specific regulations and requirements in order to achieve the vision of the Municipal Planning Strategy.

The built environment includes buildings, transport networks, infrastructure, public spaces, parks, natural systems, and all other spaces that collectively determine the form, pattern, and function of a community.

The vision for a 'Complete Shelburne' includes fostering opportunities for active daily living through a network of walkable, bikable streets and trails.  It means providing a mix of complementary land uses, making best use of existing infrastructure, and maintaining a strong commercial core and main street.