A Comprehensive Plan is a large, in-depth document that municipalities publish for a few different reasons. First and foremost, it is a plan for the future of a municipality, setting goals based around where residents envision their community five, ten, or twenty years in the future. It takes into account current and past trends, the history of the community, and what its residents want to see changed or preserved. The plan shows what the community wants, and Town officials need to know this information in order to do their jobs the best way possible. A Town's best work is the work that addresses real problems identified by real townspeople, and a Comprehensive Plan can provide a great reference point for that. Without it, the Town might be embarking upon projects that don't have community buy-in and serve minimal public interest.
And that's a natural segue to the other reason why Towns publish comprehensive plans: to get funding that carries large projects to fruition. Many state and federal grant programs now require an up-to-date Comprehensive Plan before a Town is even considered eligible to apply for the grant. It is these grant programs that have allowed Stonington to do the Hagan Dock project, the Moose Island Causeway, the many updates to Colwell Ramp, improvements to the Fish Pier, investigations into broadband internet, town-wide planning for sea level rise, and so on. Without a Comprehensive Plan, Stonington would no longer be able to embark upon projects of this scale. To this end, Bob Gerber was hired by the Town to aid with the writing and composition of our Comprehensive Plan. He is a native Mainer with a bachelors degree from MIT and a masters from Stanford, and helped Stonington successfully appeal the FEMA flood maps in 2014.
The Beginning with Habitat disc, replete with "habitat data layers" of water resources, plant and animal habitats, conserved lands, and many more state data sets compiled by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, is available at the Stonington Town Hall for public viewing. We recommend you bring a computer with ArcGIS software to get the most out of the disc.
Our Comprehensive Plan, approved by voters at Stonington's Annual 2018 Town Meeting, is available for your perusal here.