In February 2006, upon Mayor Carolyn Peterson's initiative, the City of Ithaca Common Council adopted a resolution authorizing the preparation of a vision statement for Collegetown and the establishment of a task force. The work of the task force took place over a 10-month period, between May 2006 and March 2007. The development of the vision statement included an extensive public process in which the comments of individuals, members of civic groups, and elected officials were incorporated into the vision. On June 6, 2007, the Common Council endorsed the Collegetown Vision Statement as a guide for shaping the growth and form of Collegetown. The resolution also authorized the establishment of the Collegetown Vision Implementation Committee (CVIC) to develop a strategy for implementing the ideas of the vision statement. Preparation of an urban plan and design guidelines was a high-priority recommendation, as it served to bring together many ideas and recommendations of the vision statement.
A request for qualification for the preparation of the urban plan and design guidelines was issued in September 2007, and Goody Clancy Associates of Boston, Massachusetts, with sub-consultants W-ZHA, LLC and Nelson Nygaard, was selected to lead the planning effort. The planning process involved an extensive public participation component that included numerous focus groups, neighborhood meetings, project newsletters, and a weekend-long charrette that provided opportunities for public input during the development of the urban plan. At the end of this process, Goody Clancy presented the city with the "Collegetown Urban Plan and Design Guidelines." The city's Planning and Development Board recommended additional modifications to the plan, described in a preface to the Goody Clancy document, and the 2 documents, considered together as: "The 2009 Collegetown Urban Plan and Conceptual Design Guidelines."
The city's Common Council endorsed "The 2009 Collegetown Urban Plan and Conceptual Design Guidelines" on August 5, 2009; and the city then focused on implementing the plan's recommendations. Collegetown Area Form Districts were approved on March 5, 2014.