Ligonier Township planning commission learns more about comprehensive plans
Ligonier Township planning commission learned more about comprehensive development plans last week.
The township's comprehensive plan — a vision for community development — was last updated in 1989.
It should be updated every 10 years, according to zoning officer Shelly Kaltenbaugh.
Estimates to update the plan and the township zoning ordinance range between $100,000 and $150,000.
Funding and assistance are available through county and state agencies, two experts told the board at a Feb. 18 meeting.
Dennis Puko, planning program manager for the state Department of Community and Economic Development, and Brian Lawrence, assistant deputy director of the Westmoreland County planning department, detailed issues to be considered.
Puko explained that there is not a standard comprehensive plan because municipalities have different issues and goals.
“A comprehensive plan is about helping you find information, answers and intelligence that will help the township make the best possible decisions going into the future,” he said.
During the creation process, he said, municipalities should address the character of the community, the desired growth, areas where growth should occur, and changes and trends seen in the community.
Each year, the state Center for Local Government Services awards several planning grants that cover up to half of eligible costs for municipalities' planning initiatives, Puko said.
He said the center typically favors applicants creating a regionalized comprehensive plan to cover neighboring municipalities, but single-municipality applicants are considered.
“It makes the most sense in the world to look at things from a bigger perspective,” he said. “What happens in Ligonier Borough and what happens in Latrobe or some other areas around (Ligonier Township) is going to affect what happens to you. It pays to be smart about what is going on in those places, and it really makes a lot of sense, whether you are equal partners in funding with them or not, to communicate with them and understand what they are doing to help you better understand what is best for you.”
Municipalities are not required by law to have a comprehensive plan in order to have a zoning ordinance, but the plan can inform the zoning by providing development goals.
“Your rules are there to accomplish a good and useful purpose, and the comprehensive plan helps you define what that good and useful purpose is,” Puko said.
The county planning department provides services to municipalities that are revising comprehensive plans, Lawrence explained, such as assistance with conducting community surveys and analyzing zoning to determine how it will affect the layout of a municipality.
Both Puko and Lawrence agreed residents' input is beneficial, after Kaltenbaugh suggested creating a vision statement or asking residents what they like or dislike about the township.
Lawrence said the county wants to work “hand-in-hand” with the state and local municipalities to help communities accomplish planning goals.
“For every community, the question of the comprehensive plan will have a different answer,” he said.
In other business, the board voted 2-1 to recommend to supervisors the approval of a final subdivision of the Good Fellows Sportsman Club off Nature Run Road.
Joe Davis of Ross Surveying explained that several dwellings had been built on the property over the years, and the club owners requested the subdivision to make the property easier to sell.
The application included requests for several modifications of the comprehensive development ordinance for some of the lots, such as decreasing the requirements for right of way measurements, reducing the required radius of the property's cul- de-sac and allowing existing residential structures to extend over the required building line.
Ben Faas and Mark Spitzer cast favorable votes. Robert Angelo dissented, stating he was not sure he liked the modifications.
Board members Robert Smithley and R. Eric Schrieber were not present.
The next meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 18.
Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.