Scituate Harbor Sustainability and Resiliency Master Plan

Scituate Harbor

Sustainability & Resiliency Master Plan


Scituate Harbor Master Plan Cover

Plan Complete

The Scituate Harbor Sustainability and Resilience Master Plan was completed in August 2020. The report includes:

  • Vision Statement and Objectives
  • Context and Overview
  • Analysis of Coastal Flood Risks and Potential Solutions
  • Resilience Recommendations by Objective and Area
  • Sustainability Recommendations
  • Implementation Action Plan

Questions? Contact:

Josh Fiala, Principal Planner

About the Project

The Town of Scituate and MAPC developed the Scituate Harbor Sustainability and Resiliency Master Plan to guide future growth, conservation, and infrastructure enhancements over the next 25 years.

Scituate Harbor is a vital business district in Scituate that, in many ways, is the most active heart of commerce, services, and community in the Town. As with other coastal locations in Scituate, Scituate Harbor has seen firsthand the impacts of coastal flooding and storm-related damage. The Town’s Municipal Vulnerability Plan identified improving resilience in Scituate Harbor as one of the top three priorities for the Town. The coastal business district is centered on Front Street and is focused on the area from First Parish Road to the south and Beaver Dam Road to the north.

The overall goal of the project was to create a near-term and long-term village district conceptual master plan with a focus on flood resilience in the Scituate Harbor business district. The district master plan was developed through a public process engaging the community's residents, business owners, property owners, and leadership and is based on research, analysis, and community involvement.

Plan Objectives

This master planning process defined a preferred approach of incremental elevation of the coast and adaptation of the coastal edge at the perimeter of the district. In addition to increasing the resilience of the district, the improvements identified are also intended to strengthen the district according to the following objectives:

Icon shows a business district flooding

Provide immediate actions to mitigate the impact of climate change:
Provide an implementation plan for coordinated and immediate actions that can be undertaken by the Town and others to reduce risks and impacts for the district

Man imaging parks, housing, businesses

Lay out long-term strategies for the district:
Provide strategies for longer term investments in infrastructure and property that will allow the district to thrive in the coming decades


Encourage economic development:
Provide recommendations to enhance economic development, retail activity, and arts and cultural vitality to enhance livability while integrating resiliency

Multimodal transportation options: bikes, buses, car, pedestrian

Enhance transportation infrastructure:
Provide recommendations for the improvement of the everyday functionality and resilience of multi-modal circulation, walkability, and parking to enhance district access


Beautify the area:
Provide recommendations for the beautification and enhanced resilience of coastal parks, streets, streetscape, and other public realm or infrastructure systems

Plan Summary

Key elements of the plan are summarized below. Click here to read the document in full.

Incremental Implementation

The recommendations are outlined and prioritized with an implementation plan that allows for incremental investments that build to a complete district solution.

Immediate Recommendations

Immediate recommendations focus on:

  • reducing the likelihood and occurrence of nuisance tidal flooding in the district,
    particularly around Cole Parkway
  • prioritizing and defining a pilot investment for coastal resilience improvements for the district by completing the flood pathways study and using it to determine the segment of coastal perimeter where these efforts should be focused.

Near-Term Recommendations

In the near-term (1-5 years), resilience improvements are recommended as a series of incremental projects that build up coastal perimeter protection for the district and eventually combine to form a continuous flood barrier.

Other recommendations include:

  • implementing a secondary flood protection system by floodproofing the waterside of buildings to the east of Front Street.
  • improving the walkability, bikability, parking management, and business vitality of the district.
  • implementing new zoning requirements so that each new investment is required to be resilient and contribute to the broader district flood protection.

Mid-Term Recommendations

In the mid-term (5-15 years), resilience improvements continue to incrementally strengthen protection at the perimeter of the district and shift to major infrastructure investments.

Features of this phase include:

  • creating destination coastal park investment at Cole Parkway
  • green infrastructure investments and investments to enhance the district’s public realm
  • amending zoning requirements to elevate district sustainability
  • strengthening water-dependent uses

Long-Term Recommendations

In the long-term (10-25 years), a re-evaluation of the improvements completed relative to sea level rise and potential flood pathways should occur and be used to update the remaining strategies.

This phase includes:

  • final components of district perimeter protection, with a focus on Town Pier
  • other longterm resilience efforts, such as undergrounding utilities and strengthening the resilience of the sewer system
  • amending zoning to expand the business district over time and migrate non-water dependent uses to a higher elevation if still at risk from flooding
  • expanding water-dependent uses at coastal edge

Project Timeline

May - July 2019: Review existing conditions, plans, and policies; July - October 2019: resiliency assessment and action plan; October 2019 - March 2020: Vision plans/zoning amendments; April - June 2020: Implementation plan

Community Engagement Timeline

August 2019

August 2019

Focus Groups

October 2019

October 2019

Community Meeting - Tuesday, Oct. 29
Download flyer

December 2019

December 2019

February 2020

February 2020

Community Forum - Tuesday, March 3 at 7 p.m.

May 2020

May 2020

Community Meeting and Board/Committee Presentations

June 2020


Presentation to Coastal Advisory Commission: Tuesday, June 2

Task Force Meeting: Tuesday, June 9

August 2020

August 2020

Presentation to the Planning Board: Thursday, August 13

Final report published

Task Force Meetings

Tuesday, June 18

Tuesday, Sept. 24

Monday, Nov. 25

Tuesday, Feb. 4

Tuesday, June 9

Giant anchor in scituate

Upcoming Events

Past Events

Task Force Meeting

Tuesday, June 9

Community Forum

Tuesday, March 3

Task Force Meeting

Monday, November 25
6 p.m. Scituate Library

Community Forum

Tuesday, October 29

What We Learned at the First Community Meeting

As part of the Scituate Harbor Resiliency Master Plan, MAPC hosted a Community Forum on October 29 to engage in initial discussions about the study, issues, opportunities, and potential solutions for coastal resilience in the district. About 50 attendees participated.

Task Force Meeting

Tuesday, September 24
6 p.m. Scituate Library

Focus Groups

Tuesday, August 20 and Wednesday, August 21

We held 90 minute meetings with six focus groups:

  • Front Street (non-water-based) businesses
  • Cultural institutions, committees, and organizations
  • Water-based businesses
  • Municipal staff
  • Property owners
  • Residents

Task Force Meeting

Tuesday, June 18
6 p.m. Scituate Library