Progress Report

Meetings, Water, and Our Future
by Elizabeth Brown – October 25, 2018

Part of the Local Comprehensive Plan updating process as prescribed by the Cape Cod Commission, requires that we meet with Planning officials in neighboring municipalities to identify shared opportunities and concerns. Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit in on one of these meetings, with Ken Buckland, the Director of Planning and Community Development for the town of Wareham.

The discussions included conversation about our shared interest in transportation, traffic mitigation, mass transportation, and of course water – specifically, wastewater treatment.

I expect some of Bourne’s citizenry tire of the eternal discussions of wastewater treatment and its impact on development and water quality, but it is hard to overstate the importance of this critical resource. Continued efforts to revitalize downtown Buzzards Bay, often hinge on wastewater allocation. And many in our community share concerns about Nitrogen loading, pollution and how the degradation of the beautiful waters that surround our community can impact our health, economy and quality of life.

An exciting initiative driven by the Buzzards Bay Coalition would bring together the towns of Wareham, Plymouth, Bourne, and possibly Marion, as well as the Mass Maritime Academy, in a project to both improve and expand available water treatment for the entire drainage basin. Funding to explore this exciting effort has been secured from the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. I expect it is something that may come up as we touch on the impact of wastewater in our Local Comprehensive Plan public input workshops.

The first public input workshop was held October 27th in the Bourne High School Library from 10 am 12 pm. We expect to post a summary of the meeting here later this week. A good crowd participated despite the nasty weather and it was a great success.

OCTOBER 27, 2018
10:00 AM – NOON

Welcome – Elmer Clegg
Bourne Planning Board Chairman

Opening Remarks – Steve Strojny
Local Comprehensive Plan Committee Chairman

The LCP Experience
Coreen Moore, Bourne Town Planner

SWOT Workshop Recap and Draft Findings
Wesley Ewell, Planning Consultant

Coffee Break – Individual Conversations Encouraged

Open Discussion of Town Issues and Plan Elements
Facilitator: Wes Ewell

Poster Board Markup Exercise – All Participants

Closing Remarks – Steve Strojny

The Local Comprehensive Plan Update is Underway
by Elizabeth Brown – October 1, 2018

In late 2017 many people in Bourne chose to participate in SWOT workshops organized by the town in concert with the Cape Cod Commission. These sessions were well attended and had great energy. Many concerned citizens turned out to help us identify community and economic development priorities relative to the goals within our Local Comprehensive Plan. Working together they sought to identify our Town’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). Participants provided important input that was the beginning of the Local Comprehensive Plan updating process that is now getting underway in Bourne’s Planning Board.


The Local Comprehensive Plan committee is excited to continue work with SWOT participants and others in the community who choose to engage in updating the strategic vision for our town and building an action plan that will guide our town’s future community and economic development. If you are interested you can read the DRAFT SWOT results on the Bourne Local Comprehensive Plan website at

There’s been lots of work behind the scenes to get ready and we are now preparing to gather further input and ideas from our community. Everyone is invited to participate in upcoming public input sessions. The first will be held at the Bourne High School Library on Saturday, October 27th from 10:00 until Noon. Come share your concerns and vision and meet others who want to help shape our town’s future direction while enjoying some light refreshments. All are welcome.

We will also be seeking input via public surveys and website comments. If you are interested in being informed about upcoming events and progress please take a moment to register in the Contacts section of our LCP website, Stay tuned and please check in to give your input or just to check on progress.

Chasing a Moving Target
By Wesley Ewell August 21, 2018

During a meeting yesterday with Cape Cod Commission Chief Planner Sharon Rooney, we learned that the Commission is about to release a draft revision of its Regional Policy Plan, followed by revised regulations governing Local Comprehensive Plans. Both are expected to take effect by the end of June 2019, the same time we expect to have our LCP revision certified by the commission.

This puts Bourne – and several other Cape towns – in the awkward position of having to chase a moving target in our efforts to comply with the commission’s policies and mandates.

The good news is that Sharon said the commission is moving toward encouraging towns to base their plans on policies that evolve through extensive interaction with town residents and leaders. That is exactly what Bourne did when we created our first plan more than a decade ago. They also want plans to focus – as Bourne did – on clearly presented and easily understood policies and actions, without cluttering the documents with lengthy supporting information.

When we presented our first plan to the commission for certification in 2008, the commission staff criticized its brevity and lack of supporting documentation. The background information was available at Town Hall, just not printed in the plan. It seems now that the staff may have seen how successful Bourne’s plan has been and will be encouraging other towns to follow our model.

Sharon also said that the commission is likely to abandon its two-stage process for certification of Local Comprehensive Plans. Instead they want towns to work closely with commission staff throughout the plan development to ensure compliance with the Regional Policy Plan. That would assure that the plan presented to town meeting for adoption will be certified by the commission after the town meeting vote.

Development of Bourne’s Local Comprehensive Plan
By Wesley Ewell – July 23, 2018

Bourne’s first Local Comprehensive Plan was certified by the Cape Cod Commission in 2004. That first plan was unusual in several ways. It took five years to produce; it was adopted by unanimous vote of Town Meeting; and it has worked as intended. It has been frequently cited by many boards and committees in town and respected by developers.

There are several good reasons Bourne’s plan has worked so well. First, it is focused on policies, with action items derived only from those policies. Second, it was drawn from the grass roots by asking every town official, department head, and volunteer committee what issues they were facing, how they would ideally resolve those issues, and what they saw as realistic solutions to those issues. And finally, it was presented as a slim and concise document that is easy to read and understand.

More typical local plans contain extensive background data and descriptions of methodology that few people read or care about. All of that background information was documented and available in files in the Town Planner’s office when Bourne’s plan was created, but not included in the working document. The revised work will be similarly archived.

Bourne’s original plan addresses fourteen issue areas ranging from growth management to economic development. The revised plan may add a few more issue areas to address new concerns such as increasing storm frequency and intensity with resulting flooding; aging population; and the future of the Massachusetts Military Reservation and Joint Base Cape Cod. As before, the revised plan will evolve out of the concerns and visions of the people who are working most closely with each of the issue areas.

Because it has worked so well, no major changes will be made in the structure and format of the revised plan. Most of its policies have remained unchanged. Action items, however, will receive a thorough review and updating. Many of the action items in the original plan have been completed or are in process. And many new ideas and changes have arisen in the years since the original plan was adopted.

One aspect of development of the original plan was a series of listening sessions in each of the eight villages in Bourne. Since those meetings revolved largely around policy agreement which will not change significantly in the revised plan, the LCP committee decided that a new round of village meetings was not necessary. The committee will hold three public meetings, however. The first will be a workshop to review the original plan and discuss potential changes; the second will focus on policies and goals of the new plan; and the third will present the draft revised plan prior to submission to the Cape Cod Commission and Town Meeting.

Since the plan revision is being built on proven success, and not breaking new ground as the original plan did, it should not take five years to revise. The current schedule calls for submitting the final draft to the Cape Cod Commission in March of 2019 and asking the Annual Town Meeting to adopt it in May.