Developers of a draft plan that will shape Harcourt's future believe the town's population could quadruple in size.
Mount Alexander Shire Council has spent 12 months developing the Plan Harcourt draft. It is now on public exhibition.
The shire's acting director of infrastructure and development Shannon Meadows said population growth between 1500 and 3000 people is achievable meaning the town would double or quadruple in size.
"The way we approached Plan Harcourt was with a low, medium and high population projection," Mr Meadows said. "We noted previous plans predicted high growth, which hasn't occurred.
"We intend to rezone land to residential zones in the short term for 2020, which would see another public process and panel hearing.
"Critical to this plan is (that Harcourt) was identified as a small town that can accommodate growth.
"The project for council has been ensuring the planning system and scheme provides a careful and managed level of growth that is respectful of the character of Harcourt."
To grow the town without losing its character, the Plan Harcourt draft proposed rezoning to parts of the town.
The town boundary would be revised and made smaller to reflect existing farming zones and protect biodiversity and farming activities on the south-western and western sides of the town.
On the eastern side, the town boundary would be expanded to the Midland Highway where general residential zones are places.
Mr Meadows said the plan would see development occur from the town centre, outwards.
Two residential expansion zones are earmarked in the north of the town.
"We (hope to) create a vibrant town centre that attracts new investment," Mr Meadows said. "We are looking for residential growth that respects the existing character and natural views.
"It's about making sure new residents coming to town can enjoy the bush and the small town setting.
"(Residential growth) would head north through the valley. As space is taken up we will work with land owners and developers to release more land. The aim is to designate the next area and when that reach its threshold, release the next bit after that."
Mr Meadows said council's strategic planning and economy and culture teams had done 12 months of engagement and research while preparing the plan.
More than 200 people and 15 community groups had their say on the plan. With the Plan Harcourt draft on public exhibition, residents can provide feedback until January 6.
"We put a lot of work into consultation," Mr Meadows said. "We did about 10 sessions with the community at end of 2018 including with school children, the progress association, the historical society, residents and businesses to understand their expectations around the growth.
"There was a huge amount of input in the economical and development components. We hosted an ideas lab with more than 100 people from the population of about 700, or 1000 if you count the wider localities.
"Since then we have gone back out and (the draft) has been very well received."
The next public consultation will be on Wednesday, December 11, at ANA Hall in Harcourt from 4pm.
"We are encouraging the community to send feedback - positive or negative - now is the time to do that," Mr Meadows said. "You can view the plan online or, if you want a meeting, can contact the team to learn more.
"The opportunity to comment it until January 6. Then it will go to council and we will prepare the planning scheme amendments and another public process.
"Any major revision that is required could be a time delay but we expect to make minor changes and do some tightening up of the plan.
"If the community calls out any major changes, then we will absolutely revisit it and do further work."
For more information on the Plan Harcourt draft visit www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/PlanHarcourt