One of the most important responsibilities assigned to the Merced County Planning and Community Development Department by the Board of Supervisors is to prepare and update Community Plans for the unincorporated towns. Starting in 2001, the Planning Department has prepared new plans for the communities of Planada, Delhi and Hilmar. The Hilmar Community Plan was adopted in 2008 and won an award from the California Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA).
In late 2010, the Board of Supervisors directed the Planning and Community Development Department to begin preparation of a new series of Community Plans. The first new plans to be produced are for the communities of Le Grand and Winton.