The goal of the comprehensive plan is to help the town make decisions on everything from recreational space to housing, so it’s important for the plan to capture the needs of residents. The comprehensive plan will be most effective if as many people as possible participate in its development.

There are a variety of ways to have your voice heard and discuss the plan with your fellow community members, whether you have time during the week or weekend, are passionate about a particular topic or want to talk about the big picture, want to chat with people face to face or prefer the convenience of online participation. One of the easiest ways to engage with the development of the plan is to go to the comprehensive plan website at All information related to the plan will be shared on this website.

The planning process involves inventories on a variety of topics that will bring together data and trends to answer the question “Where are we now?” The data, combined with public input, will highlight Harpswell’s needs and inform the creation of goals and actions to address those needs. As each inventory is completed, it will be posted on the comprehensive plan website as both a printable version and an interactive online version.

Inventory topics are population, housing, economy, marine economy, marine resources, natural resources, freshwater resources, historic/archaeological resources, agriculture/forestry, land use patterns, transportation/utilities, recreation and open space, public facilities and services, government/fiscal capacity, regional cooperation, climate change, and working waterfront.

You can share your opinion through the community discussion forums or by responding to individual surveys that will be posted on the website. A discussion board for each inventory will be posted so you can discuss how this topic impacts you and share ideas for the future with other community members.

To post on the discussion forum, you must create an account and join the Harpswell Comprehensive Plan group. This registration process protects against spam posts. To sign up, go to the website and click on “join the discussion.” Once you are at the forum, click on “join group” to create a login.

Once you are approved as a member of the group, which we do as quickly as we can, you can click on a discussion board and start commenting. New topics will be posted throughout the spring, so check back every few weeks. If you are struggling to participate online, you can email your comments directly to the consultants at or fill out a paper survey at the Town Office.

If you prefer to discuss topics in person, join us on May 24 from 4-6 p.m. at Harpswell Community School for a chapter open house. At this meeting, you can stop in when it is convenient for you, hear about what we’ve learned through the inventory process, and discuss what that means for the town of Harpswell.

The comprehensive plan is important to Harpswell’s future, and the Comprehensive Plan Task Force wants to ensure that everyone is able to participate in creating a plan that represents the whole community.