Gloucester’s historic, working waterfront has always been and continues to be the center of both civic and commercial
activity in the City. The City continues to prioritize and explore ways to support infrastructure investment, create and retain jobs, and diversify our fisheries-based maritime economy. We believe our evolving economy, which continues to respond to such pressures as commercial fishing regulation and climate change, is poised to capitalize on new opportunities in marine research and product development to move Gloucester’s fishing and waterfront economy forward. The future of our harbor economy will be built upon strengthening its existing industry and infrastructure with compatible businesses while allowing a variety of scaled supporting uses. The city is identifying compatible industries for the commercial fishery, such as the professional maritime trades, renewable energy, and marine and climate change research. These economies provide additional work for the existing commercial fleet, increase demand for shoreside property, and may create synergy between the existing knowledge base of the community and the emerging blue economy industries.

Since the Dorchester Company of Puritans landed in Gloucester in 1623, the City’s historic, working waterfront has continued to be a center of both civic and commercial activity. Gloucester Harbor is the city’s most valuable asset, making planning for its future central to all economic and community development activity.

What topics will be addressed in this Plan?

A Municipal Harbor Plan is a state-approved document establishing community goals, standards and policies to guide public and private land use along harbors.

Goals of this MHP update:

  • Strengthen and support traditional industries
  • Align the MHP and DPA plan with the City’s goals of diversifying and modernizing its maritime economy;
  • Incorporate long term planning to adapt to risks associated with rising sea levels and climate change; and
  • Renew the 2014 Gloucester MHP and the provisions of the DPA Master Plan for an additional ten years.

The City’s new MHP/DPA MP will be foremost a strategic document to support the existing economic base and expand economic development opportunities, including both marine water-dependent and supporting uses of harbor properties. The economic strategy will take into account the city’s overall economic position in order to most effectively position the economic revitalization of its maritime assets.

The City and consultant team will work closely with
concurrent work being undertaken by the Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and develop coastal resilience strategies to protect infrastructure needed to secure harbor assets and inform the economic strategy.

In addition to serving as a strategic document for harbor economic development, the MHP/DPA MP will include a subsection that defines with analysis how the updated MHP/DPA MP meets the State’s requirements per 301 CMR 23.00

The City and Consultant team will evaluate the state regulatory environment and determine whether the regulations are tailored to Gloucester’s unique DPA and ensure regulations provide the city with the ability to attract both the water-dependent and supporting uses it desires for its diversified and economically healthy maritime economy.

Why plan now?

While Gloucester’s current Municipal Harbor Plan/Designated Port Area Master Plan (MHP/DPA MP) was approved on December 14, 2014 with a ten year expiration, we believe our evolving harbor economy faces continued pressures (1) to its commercial fishing operations from changes in fisheries management and global competition, and (2) to its existing and aging infrastructure from the risks associated with climate change and rising tides. We also believe that our harbor economy is poised to capitalize on new “blue economy” opportunities in fisheries, marine research and biotechnology, and ocean and seafood product development.

What is the study area?

Hover over the black circles to learn more:

Who is involved?

  • Mayor Greg Verga
  • Christopher Sicuranza – Assistant to CAO
  • Gregg Cademartori – Planning Director
  • Jill Cahill – Community Development Director
  • Gemma Wilkens – Planner
  • Thomas Ciarametaro – Harbormaster
  • Al Cottone – Fisheries Commission Director
  • Michael Hale – Director of Public Works

  • Rick Noonan – Planning Board Chair
  • John McCarthy – City Council Liaison
  • Tony Gross – Waterways Board Chair
  • Mark Ring – Fisheries Commission Chair
  • Tom Balf – Economic Development & Industrial Corporation Member
  • Katie Kahl – Citizen / Research Representative, Extension Assistant Professor of Sustainable Fisheries & Coastal Resilience at UMass Amherst
  • Vito Giacalone – Citizen / Industry Representative, Fisherman, Former Policy Director for the Northeast Seafood Coalition, and President of the Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund.
  • Tessa Browne – Citizen / Industry Representative, Co-owner Cape Ann Lobstermen
  • Utile – Urban Planning and Design
  • Tetra Tech & Fort Point Associates, Inc. – Chapter 91, Waterfront Infrastructure and Operations Specialists
  • Ninigret Partners – Economic Analysis
  • Woods Hole Group – Resiliency Advisory
  • Brown Richardson + Rowe – Landscape Advisory

What is the timeline?

Jun – Oct 2021
Public Workshop #1:
Kick-Off & Visioning

Baseline Assessment and Economic Strategy

  • Economic Baseline Inventory
  • Coastal Resilience Strategy
  • Shoreside Infrastructure Evaluation
  • Analyze Existing MHP/DPA MP Accomplishments
  • Define Goals, Objectives, and Strategies
  • Identify and Prioritize Projects and Programs

Jun – Oct 2021
Public Workshop #1:
Kick-Off & Visioning

Aug 2021 – Jan 2022
Public Workshop #2:
Economic Strategy

Evaluate the State Regulatory Environment

  • Examine Maritime Industrial Market
  • Assess Supporting Use Interpretations
  • Identify Inconsistencies with Current Regulations
  • Review Existing and Recommend New Chapter 91 Substitutions/Amplifications

Aug 2021 – Jan 2022
Public Workshop #2:
Economic Strategy

Jan 2022 – Jan 2023
Public Workshop #3:
Plan Framework

Public Workshop #4:
Draft Plan Validation

Public Workshop #5:
Final Public Hearing

Update the MHP and DPA Master Plan

  • Update Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Land Use Regulatory Changes
  • Produce Plan and Ensure Compliance with MHP Regulations
    • Draft Plan Outline – March 2022 TBD
    • Draft Plan 1 – May 2022 TBD
    • Revised Draft Plan 2 – Aug 2022 TBD
  • Implementation Action Plan
  • Review and Comment Period
  • Plan Approval

Jan 2022 – Jan 2023
Public Workshop #3:
Plan Framework

Public Workshop #4:
Draft Plan Validation

Public Workshop #5:
Final Public Hearing