Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



A harbor plan is a waterfront land and water use plan intended to establish the community’s objectives, standards, and policies for guiding public and private utilization of land and of water within and adjacent to the commonwealth’s jurisdiction. The 1999 Gloucester Harbor Plan was chiefly focused on infrastructure improvements for both maritime and visitor oriented industries along the waterfront as a central means of recharging the harbor’s economic engine. Many of the improvements have been completed in the wake of this plan. However, it largely ignored the confusing web of land use regulations that has since emerged as the central force stagnating much of the waterfront’s revitalization.

Gloucester Harbor is the center of one of the country’s most important commercial fishing communities; its docks lined with vessels of various types and its waterfront dominated by facilities and services associated with seafood industry. In recent decades, as the groundfish stocks have declined and management measures designed to rebuild the stocks have reduced the size and effort of the fleet, the infrastructure has deteriorated and businesses that depend on groundfish have struggled.


Prepared by Sarah Buck, 2008 Harbor Plan Coordinator & Community Development Director, City of Gloucester; Greg Ketchen, 2006 Harbor Plan Coordinator City of Gloucester; and the Urban Harbors Institute of the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Includes the decision on the City of Gloucester’s Request for Approval of the Gloucester Municipal Harbor Plan Renewal and Designated Port Area Master Plan, signed by Ian A. Bowles from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.



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