Only 145 people out of 243,000 in six towns have responded so far as part of public consultation for Cheshire East's Local Plan.
The Local Plan will set out where future housing, jobs, roads, schools, access to local health services and leisure facilities are located and runs until 2030.
Despite consultation events and displays in libraries, dedicated Facebook and Twitter campaigns, the response has been poor.
The six consultation towns are Crewe, Nantwich, Macclesfield, Knutsford, Poynton and Handforth.
Cllr David Brown, deputy leader, said: "I am absolutely astonished. We are a traditional rural area and we have the chance to keep it like that, and to influence where developments can and can't go.
"But the issue is being met with an almost stony silence. This is an opportunity of a lifetime – grab it with both hands.
"145 responses at this stage is woeful and I'm just hoping that it's because people are too busy.
"I can guarantee that if you do make the time to fill out a consultation form, it will be one of the best investments you'll make for you and your family's future."
Cllr Michael Jones, Conservative leader of Cheshire East, added: "We need your opinions to defend your towns and villages.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this generation to stand up and be counted and really make their mark.
"For all residents of Cheshire East, the Local Plan consultation is your time to decide what your neighbours, your neighbourhood, your roads, schools and countryside will look like over the next 20 years. You must tell us what you want!
"Some say that Cheshire East Council does not listen, but as Leader I can give examples of where residents have spoken up for themselves and have been listened to and have enjoyed a consultation victory.
"In Wilmslow where people were consulted on the Wilmslow Vision, also part of the Local Plan consultation, the community pulled together to make sure their views were heard by submitting around 1,500 completed questionnaires. That's the sort of spirit we want."
The consultation runs until 1 October 2012.