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Existing General Plan

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What is a General Plan?

The General Plan is the principal policy and planning document to guideNovato’s future conservation, enhancement and development.  The General Plan serves as the City’s “constitution” for land use and community development.  That is, it provides the legal foundation for all zoning, subdivision and public facilities ordinances, decisions and projects—all of which must be consistent with the General Plan.  The General Plan also is a statement of the community's vision for the future. The General Plan addresses all aspects of development including land use, transportation, housing, public services, economic development and natural resources, among other topics.

California State law requires that the General Plan be comprehensive, internally consistent and long-term.  Although required to address certain issues specified in State law, the General Plan may be organized in a way that best suits the city.  The plan must be clearly written, available to all those concerned with the community's development, and easy to administer.  To be useful, the General Plan should define a realistic vision of what the City intends to be in the long-term, usually over the next 10 to 20 years.  The plan should serve as a comprehensive guide for making policy decisions yet contain a general level of information to allow for flexibility of future conditions and ideas.

The General Plan, and the process of updating and amending it, is an important tool for educating community members about opportunities and challenges in the city. In addition to policies, the General Plan includes specific actions the City will take in order to meet its goals.  City staff and elected officials are responsible for implementing these actions over the life of the General Plan.  The Plan also serves to advise neighboring cities, county government, and regional and State agencies about the City's goals and positions.

The Existing Novato General Plan:

Novato’s General Plan was last comprehensively updated in 1996.  The existing General Plan contains nine elements, including:

Click here to view the existing Novato General Plan. A link to the 2015-2023 Housing Element can be found within this document.

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