The City has learned that the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs approved Gloucester’s Municipal Harbor Plan on December 19th. The MHP represents progress following creation of the 2009 Plan. The new MHP is designed to provide a data-driven foundation for maritime economy expansion and framework for simplified permitting that will encourage new investment on the working waterfront.
State officials stated that the 2014 MHP “serves to promote and protect the core marine and water-dependent industrial composition of the DPA, while providing for the local goals of enhanced support of the commercial fishing industry, expansion of water-dependent industry, and continued allowances for flexibility in supporting DPA uses.”
The administration of Mayor Carolyn A. Kirk built the plan with the goal of providing more flexibility for waterfront growth while protecting the historic fishing industry.
The MHP was overwhelming endorsed by the Gloucester Harbor Plan Committee in July. The plan includes development tools to promote growth such as a simpler regulatory framework that will encourage a healthy blend of mixed-use and protection of the core water dependent industrial zone. It was based upon the City’s first-ever, in-depth, data-driven analysis of maritime opportunities (including detailed dockage and fishing vessel study conducted by the Fisheries Commission and Urban Harbors Institute, UMass Boston.)
The MHP seeks to leverage the data and a pending economic opportunity analysis of Gloucester’s fishery, tourism, and diversified/compatible working waterfront industries in the fishing port (opportunities such as marine genomics, robotics, and research) to spur continued investment in new businesses and job creation on the working waterfront.