Gloucester begins its next harbor planning effort Tuesday by hosting a panel discussion on the city's harbor regulations.
The panel, made up of officials from the state's Designated Port Areas, will discuss those regulations and maritime industry Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. at Endicott College's new satellite campus on 33 Commercial St.
Sarah Garcia, Gloucester's harbor planning director, said Tuesday's session kicks off the latest planning effort toward a harbor plan that will consider whether the city's DPA regulations can allow for sufficient growth on Gloucester's waterfront.
"This harbor planning effort is very much a referendum on if the regulations are allowing the growth we need on the harbor," said Garcia.
Mayor Carolyn Kirk will sit on the panel, joined by former New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash, Ken Fiola Jr., the vice president Fall River's Office of Economic Development, and Michael Leone, port director of Massachuetts Port Authority.
The state put the city's DPA — along with similar protections in other port communities — in place around 1980. The regulations, designed to protect the fishing industry and other marine-related businesses from residential and other forms of development, limit uses on the harbor by requiring that non-marine industrial uses be limited to no more than 50 percent of a property.
The city starts its next harbor planning process in the fall, and Kirk has said this harbor plan will look at the boundaries and allowable uses in the DPA.
The city held a Maritime Summit last November. The summit looked at "21st Century" marine industries, like marine science and biotechnology. Kirk and Garcia have said they'd like to see the marine dependent industrial use broadened to marine-related industrial use — not "marine-dependent," as currently worded — on the city's waterfront.
"I want to ensure through the harbor planning process that the kind of uses we're asking to come to Gloucester will be welcome under the regulations," Garcia said.
Steven Fletcher can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3455, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.