Waterfront Master Plans


A waterfront master plan is a comprehensive long-range plan for the waterfront intended to guide growth and development (Source: NOAA Smart Growth for Coastal & Waterfront Communities).

Recommended Resource:

Tacoma, WA provides a case study of planning that guided the transformation of downtown waterfront from “Superfund” status to mixed-use community.

Summary: The Thea Foss Waterway project is an example of one city’s successful efforts to preserve historic and traditional uses while creating new opportunities for education, recreation, and economic development. The City of Tacoma, the Tacoma Planning Commission, and the Community and Economic Development Department led the evolution of the Thea Foss Waterway from a Superfund site to one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier mixed-use waterfront communities. The project complies with the Washington State Growth Management Act and it was drafted into Tacoma’s Shoreline Master Program update, which is a part of the State’s interpretation of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act. Renovating the Thea Foss Waterway realizes Tacoma’s long standing goal to implement a compelling adaptation of its waterfront for educational, economic, and recreational use by the community.