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A “Comprehensive Plan” is a long – range plan that provides a policy framework in which to guide municipal decisions. Portland has a strong history of comprehensive planning. In addition to Portland’s Comprehensive Plan, there are seven on-going long-range planning efforts focused on the waterfront, housing, neighborhood planning and transportation.
Portland’s Comprehensive Plan
Portland has conducted numerous long-range planning activities that have produced a variety of components of the Comprehensive Plan, which include functional elements, such as Housing: Sustaining Portland's Future,, and strategic or geographic area plans, such as the A New Vision for Bayside or the Eastern Waterfront Master Plan. The Peninsula Traffic Study is a pending plan under consideration as a new component of the Comprehensive Plan. The City's planning process has developed overall goals and policies, while at the same time creating specific actions, investments, initiatives, and other implementation measures to address issues and achieve community goals. Extensive public participation is incorporated into each planning process.
In 1991, Maine’s Growth Management Act was enacted, which seeks to promote comprehensive planning in all municipalities, to encourage land use regulations in accordance with local comprehensive plan and to incorporate regional considerations. The State has established ten goals that communities are expected to address in their local planning efforts. Under a grant, the City compiled the separate long range planning efforts into one document and updated information with recent data. The consolidated plan improves both access and understanding of the plan’s content. Portland’s Comprehensive Plan was found to be in compliance with the Growth Management Act by the State Planning Office in 2003.
A Future Land Use Plan is a required element of a comprehensive plan under Maine’s Growth Management Act. The objectives of Portland’s Future Land Use Plan are to support existing land use and zoning patterns of the city, encourage redevelopment and infill where appropriate, and preserve historic, natural, and scenic resources. This element of the plan is currently being considered by the Planning Board and City Council as a new element of the City’s Comprehensive Plan.