A clammer works on the flats. (Knack Factory photo for Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association)

The town of Harpswell is working on a comprehensive plan. This important community document will guide future development, capital spending, programming, and most other aspects of the community for the foreseeable future. The town needs residents’ input to craft a vision that is truly representative of the whole community.

What does the comprehensive plan do?

A comprehensive plan supports community planning and guides a community’s goals, objectives, policies and strategies.

The comprehensive planning process garners broad community input to identify a vision; justify decision-making; create opportunities for funding and grants; and refine a town’s priorities, such as preservation, development, growth, conservation, etc.

Harpswell’s previous comprehensive plan was completed in 2005 and is available on the town website.

What does it mean for me?

The comprehensive plan is meant to encompass the values and input of all Harpswell residents so the town can plan appropriately for its future.

The comprehensive plan is an opportunity to ensure the things that are important to the community are prioritized when it comes time to make decisions that impact the town — whether the decisions are about planning, funding or preservation.

What has the Comprehensive Plan Task Force done so far?

The Comprehensive Plan Task Force has been meeting since November of 2021. The task force has:

  • Hired Judy Colby-George and Viewshed, an interdisciplinary team with expertise in landscape architecture, planning, geographic information systems, and community engagement.
  • Hosted a “visioning session” at Harpswell Community School on Nov. 5, 2022. During this session, more than 100 community members shared what they love about Harpswell, what they want to protect and conserve, and what they might be willing to change.
  • Worked with the Viewshed team to develop a plan to conduct outreach to the community.

The task force meets every third Thursday of the month at 2:30 p.m. While the task force initially met in person, it is meeting via Zoom for the winter months. These meetings are open to the public.

What is the goal of the Comprehensive Plan Task Force?

According to the Maine State Planning Office’s “Comprehensive Planning: A Manual for Maine Communities,” “The local planning committee is responsible for preparing the comprehensive plan, measures to implement the plan, and periodic updates.”

Most importantly, the goal of the Comprehensive Plan Task Force is to conduct outreach and engage as much of the community as possible in the process.

How can I take part?

  • Make sure you are signed up to receive email updates from the town. Comprehensive planning updates are sent out via this list. To sign up, go to harpswell.maine.gov and click on “Subscribe to Town Information.”
  • Attend the task force’s monthly meetings.
  • Visit the comprehensive plan page of the Harpswell website. There you will find a link to a portal where you can register to share feedback on the plan and participate in discussions about what you think is important as the town moves into the future.
  • If you don’t want to put your name on your opinion, feel free to send an email to the consultants that are coordinating the planning process (info@viewshed.net) or drop off a note at the Town Office.
  • Participate in meetings and sessions that are hosted by the Comprehensive Plan Task Force. The next open house will be at the end of May.