Section 303 of the Coastal Zone Management Act cites comprehensive planning as one of 11 specific policy objectives of state coastal management programs. Comprehensive planning allows for coordinated decision-making, reducing conflict among various waterfront users. Plans may result in waterfront access protection, preservation of cultural or maritime heritage, and even enhanced economic development. Engagement of community members and various user groups when crafting these plans may lead to more successful plans as has been the experience of Gloucester, Massachusetts and many other communities. A number of these locales have produced resource materials (accessible from the Community & Stakeholder Engagement section of the Resources page) that provide guidance on this important practice. To be effective, however, the plans must be coupled with enforceable land use policies, such as zoning ordinances, building codes, and permits and licenses.
Planning to Protect Working Waterfronts
Local governments can use comprehensive plans, including waterfront master plans, harbor management plans, and special area management plans, to incorporate provisions to preserve and plan for the needs of working waterfronts.