Land Use Planning

The land use planning function within a local municipal government is an important one.  Local governments in Pennsylvania are given the power to regulate land use and development through the Pennsylvania Municipalites Planning Code, Act of 1968, P.L. 805, No. 247 as reentacted and amended through 2015.  This Code, commonly known as the MPC, sets up the rules for municipalites to use for land use planning and comprehensive plans, subdivision and land development ordinances, zoning ordinances, planning commissions, zoning hearing boards, and more.

As a Township of the First Class, Swatara Township has used the MPC to adopt a Comprehensive Plan (1986), a Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (1990), and a Zoning Ordinance (2010).  The Township has a local Planning Commission, currently made up of 9 citizen volunteers appointed by the Board of Commissioners (township governing body).  The Planning Commission does not approve – it only recommends actions for further action by the Board of Commissioners.

One member of the Township staff usually acts as the liasion to the Planning Commission and acts as their Corresponding Secretary.  This staff person must also be familiar with processing subdivision and land development applications and the time limitations that are prescribed in the MPC.  As the local planning agency the Planning Commission reviews all proposed subdivsions and land developments.  In addition, the Planning Commission has the power and is required to prepared the comprehensive plan for the development of the muncipality and present it for the consideration of the governing body.  At the request of the governing body the Planning Commission may: 1) make recommendations concerning the adoption or amendment of a official map; 2) prepare & present a zoning ordiance, and make recommendations on proposed amendments; 3) prepare, recommend and administer subdivsion and land development regulations; 4) prepare & present a building code and a housing code: 5) prepare and present an environmental study; 6) submit a recommended capital improvements program; 7) other duties as required.

For more information contact Robert Ihlein, Director of Planning and Zoning

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