Planning 101

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

A comprehensive plan is a document that guides the future actions of a community and provides a cohesive framework for the ever-evolving day to day planning efforts of the town. It presents a vision for the future, with long-range goals and objectives for all activities that affect the local government. Most plans are written to provide direction for future activities over a 10- to 20-year period after plan adoption. However, given the fluid nature of community development, plans generally should be reviewed and updated every five years.

The Natick 2030+ Comprehensive Plan will include the topic areas outlined below. For each topic, the Plan will assess existing conditions and future needs, and make recommendations for meeting those needs. The topics are very much inter-related; goals and recommendations will be coordinated and implemented across multiple themes.

Statement of the goals and policies of the municipality for its future growth and development.

  • Land use: designates the proposed distribution, location and interrelationship of public and private land uses, including suitable locations for commercial, housing and mixed-use development; and locations where the city should increase density, encourage redevelopment, or intervene in other ways.
  • Housing: analyzes existing and forecasted housing needs and objectives including programs for the preservation, improvement and development of housing, and identifies policies and strategies to provide a balance of local housing opportunities for all citizens.
  • Economic development: identifies policies and strategies for the expansion or stabilization of the local economic base and the promotion of employment opportunities.
  • Natural, cultural and historic resources: provides an inventory of the significant natural, cultural and historic resource areas of the municipality; and policies and strategies for the protection and management of these resources.
  • Open space and recreation: policies and strategies for the management and protection of resources and identification of opportunities to extend and/or improve open space and recreational areas.
  • Services and facilities: identifies and analyzes existing and forecasted needs for facilities and services used by the public and opportunities to extend and/or improve civic facilities and services.
  • Transportation and circulation: identifies existing and future transportation and parking needs and recommends strategies for solving transportation needs and enhancing multimodal opportunities.
  • Implementation: defines and schedules the specific municipal actions necessary to achieve the objectives of each element of the Comprehensive Plan.

What is the role of the public in the development of a Comprehensive Plan?

A Comprehensive Plan is a reflection of the community’s vision for the future. Public input and engagement is essential to developing a Plan that accurately reflects that vision. The planning process provides citizens an opportunity to brainstorm, debate and discuss the future of your community. Learn more about the planning process and participate directly in the development of a vision for Natick’s future by clicking on the links below.

Please visit the Contact Us/Get Involved Page to share your thoughts and opinions about Natick’s future.

How can I get involved?

There are a number of great ways to get involved: (some links not yet active)