Parkland Press

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Meetings set to review comprehensive plan

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 by SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press in Local News

South Whitehall officials have begun the process of updating the 2009 Comprehensive Plan and have scheduled three public meetings to start the undertaking this summer.

The township team of planner Gregg Adams, Director of Community Development George Kinney and Director of Geographic Information Systems Dave Manhardt has begun preparing for the meetings and the project.

Adams explained to The Press a comprehensive plan includes goals and aspirations in terms of community development.

The plan covers land use, transportation, utilities, stormwater, recreation, housing, environmental concerns and historical matters.

“It has an impact on the entire public realm and shows the direction the community wants to go,” Adams said.

He noted the new comprehensive plan becomes the basis for zoning and subdivision and land development ordinances.

“We want to have everything in sync,” Adams said. “The community has a chance to say how they want to develop over the next 10 years.”

Consultant Thomas Comitta, who guided the township through the two-year composition of the 2009 plan, will be present at all three meetings.

The sessions are scheduled for 6 p.m. at Parkland High School.

Commissioners and members of the planning commission were expected to meet for a joint workshop on June 18.

Adams said the agenda would include a review of existing conditions, then proceed to suggest guiding principles for the new plan.

He noted the July 16 meeting will be public focused.

“This will be a large venue, workshop type meeting with lots of community involvement,” Adams said. “We want to get feedback on what the guiding principles should be.”

He stated staff will seek public input on visions for the future and look at whether preference leans toward more open space or more development.

“We will distill public input,” Adams said.

Comitta will serve as facilitator to encourage interactive exercises to elicit comments from the public.

On July 30, commissioners and the planning commission will reconvene to examine the findings from the first two meetings.

“We will continue gathering public comment to make sure we got it right,” Adams said.

He noted township representatives will be reaching out to residents at movies and concerts in the parks this summer to gather ideas for the new document.

“We want strong community involvement,” Adams said. “We feel this should be a ground-up plan.”