Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of 11 projects through the Municipal Assistance Program (MAP) to assist local governments in nine counties with planning for zoning and updating of comprehensive plans.
“This funding helps municipalities and local governments update their essential plans to ensure they are more efficient and better prepared for the future,” said Gov. Wolf. “The commonwealth remains committed to ensuring our communities have the resources they need to complete important planning projects like these for the betterment of their communities and their residents.”
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) recently approved $471,248 in funding for 11 municipal projects throughout the state. Funding from MAP assists local governments to plan for and efficiently implement municipal projects available in three groups of activities: shared services, community planning, and floodplain management.
The approved projects follow.
- $37,500 to the Bridgeville Borough to update its 2005 Comprehensive Plan, which will shape development, investment, and sustainability of the community for the next ten to 15 years. Bridgeville Borough has experienced multiple flooding events in the past 30 years that has caused adverse issues and impacts to low-lying areas of the community, including the Baldwin Street neighborhood. Another issue facing the community is traffic-related congestion on major corridors. This, along with limited parking availability, is impeding redevelopment and betterment of the central business district.
- $30,000 to the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT) to provide collaborative capacity-building across the City of Pittsburgh and 37 surrounding municipalities and numerous volunteer fire departments. This project will improve the working partnerships within the region to advance the long-term sustainability of volunteer fire services in Allegheny County and act as a potential model for fire services in Pennsylvania. Declining volunteerism rates, poor member retention, and financial burdens can all impact the services provided by volunteer fire departments in their communities. As a result, CONNECT has identified an urgent need to provide collaborative capacity-building across municipalities.
- $50,000 to Crafton and Ingram Boroughs to modernize their zoning ordinances. A recent revived interest in Main Street renewal efforts, with new businesses opening and new families seeking walkable neighborhoods moving in and investing in the communities, has encouraged officials to pursue modern zoning ordinances that will preserve everything good about old Crafton and Ingram while ensuring the communities will have bright futures. In 2017, the boroughs jointly adopted the Crafton-Ingram Thrive Comprehensive Plan, establishing commercial redevelopment, connectivity, and walkability as main priorities. Their Zoning Ordinances must be updated to spur effective redevelopment strategies that will take advantage of nearby public transit and allow for modern mixed-use development in underutilized areas.
- $19,500 to Clinton County to update its Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO), which has not been updated since 1991. It covers 15 municipalities – three boroughs and 12 townships – that do not have their own SALDO. The SALDO reflects outdated statutory and case law, with land development needs and regulatory practices that are more than three decades old. Plan review and enforcement practices need to be matched to current administrative capacity and updated for users.
- $40,000 to New Cumberland Borough to build upon its 2019 Revitalization Strategy and proactively plan for the growth of the downtown district and community. The process will include community engagement, assess and explore trends, key issues and new opportunities (such as recent access to the river) that will influence the borough’s land use, transportation, housing, development and economic success, as well as an opportunity to articulate a shared, community-wide vision. The result will be a roadmap with a long-range implementation phasing plan that establishes the community identity and preserves the historic character; creates safe pedestrian and biking connections to the downtown between significant amenities, residential districts and regional connections; identifies projects and areas for redevelopment, expansion and enhancement; and strategies/obstacles for business attraction. The focus area is 5th Street to Front Street along Bridge Street, and to the River to the east and Reno Avenue to the west and opportunity properties.
- $32,500 to the City of Uniontown to update its 2002 comprehensive plan. The city’s goals are to provide a healthier environment of living, a more equitable social setting, a more stable and sustainable economic platform, a stronger infrastructure to handle growth, an area that attracts new and innovative business opportunities, and a broader integration of its tourism attractions. The city is committed to finding a diverse planning team to develop an implementable comprehensive plan that will focus on these goals, as well as renewable and sustainable energy sources and transforming blighted areas into redeveloped areas. The comprehensive plan will also outline and detail a system of Parks and Recreation, which is nearly non-existent.
- $69,837 to Franklin County to update its 2012 Comprehensive Plan and meet all requirements outlined within the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC). The county has experienced tremendous growth in the last decade and the current plan has not adequately addressed issues and opportunities. The updated plan will focus on problems faced by the county and implementable action steps and measurable indicators of progress to provide solutions. A framework will be set for municipalities to develop and adopt their own comprehensive plans with ties back to the county’s plan.
- $75,000 to the City of Lancaster to update its 1993 Comprehensive Plan. Massive social, economic, and environmental changes have occurred in the years since the plan was last revised, including the unprecedented public health and economic circumstances surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic. Recent demonstrations in Lancaster and across the country calling to increase racial equity have also shown the urgency of planning together for a more equitable future. Additionally, the Lancaster County Planning Commission’s places2040 plan has identified emergent best practices and Big Ideas for application in the City of Lancaster and surrounding region. The city aspires that its 2042 Comprehensive Plan reflect a community consensus about the direction for future growth and community development over the next 20 years. Essential to that effort is enhancing policies and strategies to enhance quality of life.
- $42,500 to help Mt. Carmel Township, Kulpmont Borough, and Marion Heights Borough create a joint comprehensive plan and develop municipal zoning ordinances. Currently, neither Kulpmont Borough or Marion Heights Borough have zoning ordinances and would like to acquire zoning ordinances. Mt. Carmel Township plans to update its outdated zoning ordinance. A comprehensive plan is needed to outline implementable opportunities for cooperation and a roadmap for these opportunities. Specifically, the municipalities’ focus is to provide the necessary data updates to their zoning ordinances and the ability to utilize shared land use provisions and apply for future grant funding.
- $55,066 to Pike County to update its 2006 Comprehensive Plan. The county is in transition and has been experiencing commercial growth in addition to infill residential development, severely impacting the county’s limited infrastructure. The county will update its plan and prepare for the future, addressing infrastructure needs and protecting the natural environment that supports their tourism economy.
- $16,845 to Potter County to revise its Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO), which has not had a thorough revision in more than a decade. Due to the adoption of the County Action Plan (CAP) and a recent Comprehensive Plan adoption, it is crucial to perform a thorough revision for SALDO. The revision will ensure compliance with the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Code, implementation of the county’s CAP Best management practices (BMP) and ensure local and regional consistency for plans and design guides like the PA Wilds design guide and Lumber Heritage region.
The Municipal Assistance Program provides technical resources and assistance for municipalities, consolidation, regional efforts as well as serving as a resource for local government officials, developers, and citizens interested in planning to improve, grow, and enhance communities. More about MAP and other initiatives can be found on the DCED website.