Worcester County Comprehensive Plan Updates

Comprehensive Plan Logo

Worcester County is in the process of updating the 2006 Comprehensive Plan. The Plan provides a framework for jurisdictions to protect and enhance their community character and natural and cultural heritage, preserve environmental resources, and foster economic development by planning for their long-term land use, transportation, housing, water resources, and other public infrastructure needs and identify the actions the County will need to take to meet these needs and achieve the planning goals that relate to them.

Public participation is an important part of the comprehensive planning process, as it helps to ensure that the plan accurately reflects the vision of the community. In 2023, the Worcester County Planning Commission initiated a Community Engagement Program in order to communicate with and gain valuable insight from a broad cross-section of County residents and other stakeholders to shape a collective vision for the upcoming Comprehensive Plan update.

 

Vision Statement

Worcester County is committed to our diverse rural and coastal heritage and historical roots, as we strive to create an inclusive and secure community that offers ample opportunities for residents and visitors alike. We seek sustainable economic growth by supporting and recognizing the important role of agriculture and tourism in our local economy, while we work to preserve and protect our vital natural resources.
 

Key Issues Cited in Public Feedback
  • Preserving Community Character – Focus on enhancing what already exists within Towns (infill) as well as building community through the support for small businesses.
  • Loss of Natural Features – Encourage the preservation of farmland, waterways, and open space, benefitting residents as well as the environment overall.
  • Retention of Local Businesses – There is a need for pedestrian walkways and bikeways for accessibility – encouraging walkable communities and downtown areas would allow for smaller businesses to successfully remain open. More businesses would encourage more full-time residents.
  • Season Traffic/Congestion – Adequate infrastructure would allow for the potential for more full time residents, as well, as current infrastructure was not designed to handle the current loads.
  • Too Much Growth/Growth Pressure – The pressure to allow for sprawl is something that residents would like to see handled responsibly and with an organized plan.
  • School Facilities/Education – Communication between local governments and the schools is a concern. Necessary funding for materials and support staff will need to be supported at a government level.
  • Loss of Farmland – There is a need for a focused approach to sprawl and development through a Comprehensive Plan.
  • Affordability of Housing – Concern is growing for those who may not be able to afford to continue to stay within the County after graduation, etc. because of the lack of housing available to them.
  • Sea Level Rise – Concern for the next 10-20 years and the significant issues this could cause if it is not addressed now.
  • Comprehensive Plan Development Schedule
  • April 2024: Planning Commission Meeting
    - Worcester County Vision Work Session
  • May 2024: Planning Commission Meeting
    - Finalize Vision Statement and Project Schedule
  • June 2024: Planning Commission Meeting
    - Draft Chapters 1 and 2 (Introduction and County Profile)
  • Summer 2024: Planning Commission Meetings
    - Draft Goals and Objectives.
    - Land Use Map Review
  • Fall 2024: Planning Commission Meetings
    - Draft Chapters 3 and 5 (Community Facilities and Housing)
    - Address any comments from previous chapters/submittals.
  • Winter 2025: Planning Commission Meetings
    - Draft Chapters 6 and 7 (Economic Development and Tourism and Natural Resources and Sensitive Areas)
    - Address any comments from previous chapters/submittals
    - Draft Chapters 8 and 9 (Transportation and Water Resources)
    - Address any comments from previous chapters/submittals.
  • Spring 2025: Planning Commission Meetings
    - Draft Chapter 10 and 4 (Implementation and Land Use)
    - Address any comments from previous chapters/submittals.
    - Draft Review of Complete Document
  • Summer 2025: Planning Commission Meeting
    - Adopt Comprehensive Plan