Torridge District Council (TDC) and North Devon Council (NDC) have joined together to release a joint local plan which will shape the landscape of both districts for the next 20 years.
The local plan outlines areas suitable for 16,000 new and affordable homes to be built and an additional 157 hectares of employment land for businesses to build on.
At a joint meeting this afternoon councillors on TDC's Community and Resources Committee and NDC's Executive Committee agreed the local plan should go out to public consultation.
The consultation will begin on January 31 and last for six weeks.
The 300 page document has built on the previous draft core strategy which was published in 2010.
The plan looks at each town within Northern Devon separately and in coming weeks local planners will be visiting rural communities to start compiling the third and final section of plan which will just deal with the rural areas.
The first two parts of the plan address strategies such as the local housing market and the environment while the second part outlines the development management.
Within the strategies plans for extra housing include 4,000 homes for Barnstaple, 3,790 for Bideford and 1,100 for South Molton.
Employment land has been allocated across the districts with Barnstaple having the most at a total of 45 hectares while Bideford and South Molton have the equal second highest with 30 hectares allocated to each of them.
Once the consultation on the document has been completed in March planners then hope to have a final version compiled by July with amendments added which have been proven necessary during the consultation.
The amended local plan will then go through a second consultation before being submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in September for it to be approved and then be adopted until 203
Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor Brian Greenslade has urged the public to comment on the plan.
He said: "The local plan is an opportunity for local people, communities and businesses to help shape the future of Northern Devon.
I urge everyone in the area who cares about its future to come forward and let us know what they think about it.
If you have a different idea, then please let us know - this is your chance to make a difference to where you live and work."
Deputy Leader of Torridge District Council, Councillor Roger Johnson, said: "I echo the words of Councillor Greenslade - the plan is committed to the sustainable development of our area and it's important that local people use the opportunity of the public consultation to have their say."
Paper copies of the plan can also be viewed at the council offices, libraries and parish council offices.
For more detailed information on the how the plan affects specific areas see this week's Journal on Thursday.