In 1988, the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code was amended and required counties to have a Comprehensive Plan. The initial York County Comprehensive Plan was completed by the York County Planning Commission and adopted by the County Commissioners in 1992. The three (3) primary goals of the Plan are:
● to protect and preserve important natural resources,
● to direct growth and development to appropriate locations, and
● to facilitate coordinated planning at all levels of government.
The Plan underwent a major update in 1997 which resulted in a reformatted document with added emphasis on growth management and establishment of the “Municipal Consulting Program” as a tool for achieving consistency between local comprehensive plans and the County Plan.
In 1997, the Growth Management Plan component identified interim growth and rural areas to guide growth and development, as well as the protection of natural resources in the County. Through the Municipal Consulting Program, the YCPC staff began working cooperatively with local municipalities to reach agreement on the location of growth/rural areas and change the “interim” areas to “established” growth/rural areas. In 2010, a major milestone was reached as all 72 municipalities had established growth and/or rural areas that are consistent with the County’s Growth Management Plan. This is vital to Plan implementation efforts.
Since 1997, the Plan has also continually evolved through updates to existing Plan components, as well as the addition of new components. Each change to the Plan has included a public involvement process and adoption by the County Commissioners. The three (3) overarching goals identified in 1997 remain intact and have provided guidance for Plan development and implementation.
The Comprehensive Plan currently includes both resource components and planning components. The resource components provide background and inventory data related to natural resources, natural areas, community facilities and growth trends. While the planning components also contain some background and inventory data, their primary focus is on setting forth strategies to meet the three (3) overarching Comprehensive Plan goals listed above, to meet the needs of the County, and to maintain the overall quality of life in the County. The planning components deal with growth management, transportation, housing and community development, agricultural land protection, open space and greenways, economic development, water resources and hazard mitigation.
As for the future, the YCPC staff intends to undertake development of a plan for the protection of the County’s historic resources, as well as to maintain the Comprehensive Plan through updates to existing components on an as needed basis or as required by law.