Formulating Community Goals

Ideally, goals should be formulated with a knowledge of the essential facts of the situation, a knowledge of the limitations under which the municipality operates, and a realistic view of the options open to the community. Developing such knowledge is the ultimate purpose of the research component just described. The purpose of the goal-setting process is to formulate a limited number of goals that do not contradict each other and that have enough public and political support behind them to give them a reasonable chance of actually coming to pass.

The planning agency's role in this process might be providing a forum for discussion (organizing meetings, obtaining media coverage, setting up advisory committees), providing facts and laying out options, and synthesizing and articulating the results of the discussions and deliberations. The process of setting goals should be an open one where citizens and groups who have a stake in the outcome of the planning process are not excluded. This consideration is not just a matter of fairness or a legal requirement, but also one of practicality. Those who have had a hand in shaping a plan are more likely to support it than those who have not.

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