Agricultural Protection Zoning (APZ) preserves the availability of agricultural lands for farming and thus the agricultural base of the community by constraining non-agricultural development and land uses in designated areas.
Landowners may petition local governments to establish agricultural security areas (ASA). An ASA is an area where agriculture is the primary activity and farmers are entitled to special protection from condemnation and laws and ordinances that would unreasonably restrict farming operations.
A build-out analysis projects the amount and location of development that may ultimately occur in a specified area as permitted by current land development ordinances. It enables a community to test the reality of its development regulations against its vision for its future.
Community visioning is a planning tool that enables residents, business owners, local institutions, and other stakeholders to have a voice in the decision-making process in their community. A community visioning statement will communicate the goals and priorities of the community and ideally inform future planning documents, regulations, and future development.
CommunityViz software helps users to visualize and analyze landuse options and communicate land use decisions. The GIS-based software allows users to explore many alternative land use scenarios and see associated socioeconomic and environmental impacts.
Development Threat Analysis shows where unprotected open space lands are most likely to be developed over a specific time frame. Considering this analysis in conjunction with data on lands with high ecological or cultural value can help governments and conservation organizations in determining conservation priorities.
Growing Greener: Conservation By Design helps municipalities and developers build new housing and businesses while protecting important natural and cultural resources. With straightforward changes to municipal ordinances, new subdivisions can leave half (or more) of buildable land as open space while being fair to those seeking to develop their land.
Municipal governments can enact ordinances to promote quality outdoor lighting. Good outdoor lighting provides the right amount of light – not too little and not too much – while minimizing glare, light trespass and energy consumption.
Local municipal regulations can provide substantial protection to historic resources, preserving their contributions to cultural vitality and helping communities maintain quality of life.
A municipality may express an interest in acquiring specific land (or easements thereon) for trails, streets, parks, open space networks and other public purposes by establishing an “official map” that “reserves” this land. If a landowner seeks to develop reserved land, the municipality has a year to pursue acquisition of the land from the owner before the owner may freely build or subdivide.
This guide summarizes planning and land use tools available to municipal and county officials under Pennsylvania’s Municipalities Planning Code (MPC). This guide also provides links to more expansive and comprehensive resources for those interested in learning more.
A Pennsylvania municipality may require developers to dedicate land to the municipality for park and recreation purposes. A municipality may also give developers the options to instead pay a fee to be used for providing park facilities, construct recreation facilities, or privately reserve land for park and recreation purposes.
COMING IN MID-2013
A sign ordinance can help a municipality reduce signage visual clutter and end business “sign wars.” It also can help protect the existing character of a community, establish, or enhance community identity.
Zoning regulations for development on and disturbance of steep slopes can prevent erosion and reduce the risk of landslides that endanger lives, damage property and infrastructure, harm water quality, and degrade wildlife habitat. These regulations can also preserve the aesthetic character of visually prominent hillsides by discouraging vegetative clearing and excessive earthwork to accommodate development.
Good street and sidewalk design can foster healthier communities by improving public safety, enhancing mobility by fairly supporting all transportation choices, reducing environmental impacts and building community character.
Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) is a compact land development pattern that includes a variety of housing types and land uses in a defined area. Public spaces, civic buildings and commercial establishments are located within walking distance of homes. Community identity, civic spaces and walkability are emphasized.
Traffic-calming incorporates a variety of design and management strategies in local streetscapes to control volume and speed of traffic for the safety of both motorists and non-motorists.
Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) is a zoning technique used to permanently protect farmland and other natural and cultural resources by redirecting development that would otherwise occur on these resource lands to areas planned to accommodate growth and development.
A tree ordinance establishes authorization and standards for addressing a wide range of issues regarding a municipality’s trees. The ordinance should be developed and implemented as part of a broader effort to identify and address a community’s tree-related goals.
Urban growth boundaries are used to contain land development by delineating areas where government policy encourages high density, mixed used development from areas where policy encourages rural and agricultural uses. Urban growth boundaries can promote prosperous urban areas and protect farmland and open space.
Municipalities may adopt zoning regulations governing the installation and operation of solar and wind energy systems. This guide specifically examines zoning for non-commercial installations (for example, residential rooftop solar panels).