The Planning Division of the Community Development Department is responsible for updating elements of the City’s Master Plan, conducting research on a variety of topics related to the physical development of the City, and working with developers in the community. These planning activities are undertaken for projects involving the location and reconstruction of streets, expansion of the City's Industrial Park, long-range transportation system planning, location and expansion of city parks, tax incremental financing, sewer service extensions, land use and others. The Planning Division works closely with other city departments, commissions, committees and boards to help develop the programs, policies and ordinances needed to implement the plans. Grant writing is also an important implementation tool.

A basic philosophy of the Planning Division is that city planning must involve the implementation as well as the preparation of plans. This simple philosophy is based upon an understanding that planning is a means to an end and not an end unto itself. For plans to be successful, they must be carried out. To implement the plans, the Planning Division works with appointed and elected officials, other members of the City staff, private developers, and citizens.

The Planning Division also coordinates a variety of planning activities with other communities in the Wausau Urban Area and with Marathon County and agencies of State and Federal Government such as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.