The PA Municipal Planning Code and Zoning
Since RenewLV’s brown-bag is approaching quickly (tomorrow, in fact), I thought it might be a good idea to provide a brief primer on the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Code (MPC). The MPC is the Commonwealth’s guiding document on land-use planning and resource preservation (among its many roles). It provides guidelines for comprehensive plans, municipalities’ official maps, zoning ordinances, and other useful tools.
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s Comprehensive Plan is based on the guidelines set forth by the MPC, and includes provisions for how to meet housing needs, how to preserve natural and historic resources, and how to maintain a reliable water supply. Specifically, the LVPC identifies the major planning issues within the Valley, some of which include:
- redevelopment of old industrial sites including brownfields
- renewal and revitalization of the cities
- development of more parks and recreational facilities
I imagine that a good part of the brown-bag discussion tomorrow will center on the MPC, both its strengths and its drawbacks. On that latter point, in discussions about land-use planning in Pennsylvania, often, the point is brought up that the MPC allows the comprehensive plans to only be advisory (at this time), and does not mandate the individual municipalities to develop according to the comp plan. Yes, this is often frustrating for smart growth advocates. And it is likely to be brought up at the brown-bag.
The PA Local Government Traning Partnership has put together a web tool called PA MPC Made Easy! It provides in depth information, as well a Quick Guide, to the document. Check it out if you have some spare time.