What is Comprehensive Community Planning?
Community planning provides for the exploration of all aspects of the physical, social, and economic environment and life in the community. Community planning offers an opportunity to create a holistic approach to improving quality of life while identifying and dealing appropriately with environmentally sensitive areas. It provides for the identification of issues, problems, and opportunities as well as the formulation of recommendations, proposals, and strategies to address them.
Planning attempts to identify those aspects of life which either enhance or detract from the experience of living in a community, such factors as land use, housing, traffic circulation, community facilities and services, and public utilities all impact upon life in the community.
Understanding the relationships among these elements and identifying the needs of the community can provide direction for the creation of public policies and for guiding the actions of elected and appointed officials, community groups and organizations, the private sector, families, and individual citizens. Implementation strategies can enhance and preserve what is deemed to be supportive of the community agenda and can identify remedial actions which might be taken to deal with any perceived concerns or problems.
Elements of a Comprehensive Plan
A Comprehensive Plan can be divided into major sections. These include: Background Studies, Goals and Objectives, the Comprehensive Plan Elements, and Implementation Strategies. The Background Studies provide information and statistical analysis concerning the physical, social, and economic conditions existing throughout the community. The recommendations, proposals, and strategies of the Comprehensive Plan Elements provide direction for specific future actions to address the problems and build upon the strengths and opportunities of the area. Implementation Strategies provide for translating the recommendations and proposals of the Plan Elements into action.
The Comprehensive Plan includes a series of maps which graphically depict information from the inventory of existing conditions and community resources. Maps provide a visual representation of the community’s physical features and information important to the identification of community problems, opportunities, and environmentally sensitive areas. Detailed mapping improves analysis, interpretation, and decision making.
The Comprehensive Plan provides a legally defensible basis for land use planning, land use controls, and regulations recommended by or evolving from the planning effort. The regulatory environment is of great importance in implementing growth management policies and the recommendations and proposals of the Comprehensive Plan.
The Comprehensive Plan Elements provide specific recommendations concerning land use, housing, transportation, community facilities and services, public utilities, and management of sensitive areas. The Comprehensive Plan is more viable if interjurisdictional relationships are identified and cultivated. These interjurisdictional relationships include neighboring municipalities, school districts, federal and state agencies, and linkages between local, county, regional, and state land use policies, and economic development, and community revitalization efforts.
Requirements of the Comprehensive Plan
The completed Comprehensive Plan is intended to satisfy the provisions, and requirements of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), Act 247, as amended.
The Public Participation Process
Resident participation encourages both public input and public education. The planning process offers opportunities for the elected officials, planning commission members, groups and organizations, and other stakeholders to build a consensus regarding a collective agenda concerning the future. The sense of ownership created by working closely together during the planning process provides the added dividend of creating a positive climate for the development of public policy and the implementation of the recommendations and proposals of the Comprehensive Plan.
Implementation of the Comprehensive Plan
The purpose of the Comprehensive Plan is to provide a series of interrelated strategies proposals, recommendations, and actions designed to assist in achieving the vision for the future of the Township. Cooperation, coordination, and collaboration between the Antis Township Board of Supervisors, the Antis Township Planning Commission, and the general public create a supportive environment to encourage successful implementation.
Identifying time frames for major activities is necessary to keep the overall planning implementation effort on track. Provisions should be included to make necessary adjustments and to evaluate and monitor the implementation process as it progresses.
The Capital Improvements Program
One of the major tools for the implementation of the Plan is the Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The CIP is a listing of the proposed and recommended projects or improvements presented in the Comprehensive Plan. These recommended projects are listed by type of project according to a system of priorities. The estimated cost of the recommended projects is indicated. The individual department or agency responsible for implementing the project is assigned. The source and method of financing is presented. The CIP encompasses five (5) year periods over which time the activity and cost of each project will be spread.
Through the foregoing process, a logical sequential accomplishment of the recommended projects of the Comprehensive Plan can be attained. Consideration should be given to the scheduling of projects in such a manner as to distribute their costs realistically overtime. As time progresses, the current year will be dropped from the CIP and an additional year will be added as the last year of the program.