Framing Our Future with Gov. Glendening

Please join us to hear former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening speak on the topic of "Shared Regional Prosperity: A Vision For Our Future" on May 10th!

Gov. Glendening will discuss how Lancaster County communities can continue to thrive for the next 25 years, if they work together to achieve their goals. Having served as a municipal official, the governor is familiar with the challenges facing local governments. He is now with Smart Growth America, a nonprofit organization that promotes strategic thinking to build better towns and cities.

The May 10th event caps off an 18-month effort to learn what is important to the county’s residents. Over 6,000 of you have contributed your ideas to places2040 – thank you! At the event, displays and interactive exercises will highlight what we've heard from you so far, and explain some of the tough choices ahead for Lancaster County.

Please register for this free event here. Hope to see you there!

Sponsored by the Lancaster County Planning Commission and the Lancaster County Association of Realtors

Lancaster Active Transportation Plan Kickoff!

Join us for the first Lancaster Active Transportation Plan Public Meeting on March 2 from 5-8pm at the Farm & Home Center! There will be activities for participants of all ages; including a presentation, bike safety and tune-up station, photo booth, and much more! Come out and tell us what you think about the current conditions of non-motorized transportation and what you would like to see in the future in Lancaster City and County.

Discover Lancaster - Featured Partner for Place

places2040 has 17 Partners for Place - community organizations that are committed to planning for a better future for Lancaster County. Why do they care about places2040? Joel Cliff from Discover Lancaster tells us how planning and tourism work together in Lancaster County.

What is the mission of your organization, and in what ways do you work towards that mission?

Discover Lancaster’s mission is to stimulate economic growth throughout Lancaster County by attracting visitors and inspiring them to discover our unique destination.  We do this through website activity, e-marketing and social media outreach, sales efforts, visitor center visitation, and PR initiatives.

Why do you care about land-use planning in Lancaster County? How is it relevant to your organization?

Lancaster’s beauty and sense of place is what draws many of our visitors here, so we want to encourage and collaborate in purposeful planning that ensures those special qualities remain.

What is your vision for Lancaster County in 2040 as it relates to your organization’s industry? What are some of the barriers and possible solutions to reaching that vision?

We hope for a destination that has continued to broaden its appeal to additional visitors, bringing people here not only for the Amish, outlets, and PA Dutch dining, but also for our vibrant downtown, wonderful family attractions, the arts & entertainment, varied culinary & brew/wine experiences, outdoor recreation, and walkable towns & villages.  Though we’ve already started, it will take more time to get both local businesses and visitors to all “row in the same direction” and get used to visualizing additional images & ideas when they think of Lancaster, but we feel very confident this expanded brand will be beneficial in the long term for tourism and the area economy as a whole.

How can people get more involved in your organization?

They can find out more about what we’re doing and great things to see & do locally at DiscoverLancaster.com, as well as learn about membership in our organization, whether they have a direct connection to tourism or not.  

In the end, we can all be “brand ambassadors” for Lancaster tourism, sharing all the area’s great offerings with family, friends, and beyond!

Hourglass Foundation - Featured Partner for Place

places2040 has 17 Partners for Place - community organizations that are committed to planning for a better future for Lancaster County. Why do they care about places2040? Jennifer Mundy from the Hourglass Foundation tells us how planning is important to preserve our community's character.

The Hourglass Foundation, founded in 1997, is a non-partisan nonprofit organization focused on making Lancaster County a better place to live.  The Hourglass works to raise awareness, facilitate discussion, and create conditions that allow residents to understand and participate in decisions that impact their quality of life.  We believe that strategic growth management is critical to protecting Lancaster County’s unique character and quality of life.  The Hourglass works with individuals, groups, organizations, and officials to enable informed decision making on issues affecting the county’s future.

Preserving Lancaster County’s identity requires managing the use of land in thoughtful and productive ways.  There are places in the county that are appropriate for growth.  Likewise, there are places in the county that should be protected from sprawl and preserved as agricultural land and natural areas.

The Hourglass wants to see county residents prosper.  It wants to see the city continue to be a dynamic blend of innovation and vitality.  We want the county’s urban places to be successful and safe places to live, work, and play.  Farmland, open lands, woodlands, and natural habitats should be preserved.  The Conestoga River and other major tributaries of the Susquehanna River should have pure, clean water.

 

 

 

 

If measures are not taken to maintain Lancaster County’s uniqueness, while also enabling appropriate economic growth, the county’s special identity and sense of place will be lost.  Pressures exist to make this place just like any other, and to bury irreplaceable farmland under asphalt, subdivisions, houses, and big box stores.  Similar pressures exist to tear down our historic fabric and replace it with automobile-oriented development.

The threats come not only from insensitive, land-consumptive development, but from banking policies and capital restrictions, a lack of investment in transportation alternatives, a fragmented government structure, an unwillingness to spend the resources required for land stewardship and water quality restoration, and a lack of resilient infrastructure.

The Hourglass logo was adopted by our founders to emphasize that time is running out to break down barriers to achieving a vision for Lancaster County’s future.  But hope for the future still remains.  We believe that solutions can be found in:
•    Encouraging multi-municipal planning, cooperative implementation, and civic engagement;
•    Renewing a county-wide commitment to directing urban growth to appropriate locations, while accelerating the preservation of both farmland and natural lands;
•    Investing in urban infrastructure to create conditions that encourage private investment;
•    Utilizing land efficiently by building at densities that create strong, beautiful, and architecturally diverse communities without sprawl;
•    Investing in streambank restoration, advanced erosion and nutrient management, innovative stormwater control, and reduction of sediment and chemical pollution;
•    Developing and promoting transportation alternatives that reduce automobile dependency, promote health and wellness, and create greater opportunities for mobility; and
•    Promoting educational solutions that offer opportunities to create an engaged citizenry and a skilled workforce.

If you support us in championing a bright future for Lancaster County through effective growth management, please consider membership in The Hourglass.  For more information, visit www.hourglasslancaster.org or contact our office at 104 West Chestnut St., 3rd floor, Lancaster, PA 17603.  Telephone (717) 295-0755 or email: hourglass@hourglasslancaster.org.

Lancaster General Health - Featured Partner for Place!

places2040 has 17 Partners for Place - community organizations that are committed to planning for a better future for Lancaster County. Why do they care about places2040? Brenda Buescher from Lancaster General Health and the Lighten Up Lancaster County Coalition tells us about how health and community design are closely connected!

Lancaster County is a special place where many individuals and organizations are working together to create an environment where people can live long, healthy lives.  Lancaster General Health strives to improve the health of the community we serve, and being part of places2040 is an excellent opportunity to plan for the future health of Lancaster County residents.   

Through the Lighten Up Lancaster County Coalition, we aim to increase the number of adults and children in Lancaster County who are at a healthy weight.  In Lancaster County, 28% of adults and 14% of children are obese and at risk for future health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.  Most Americans do not reach the recommended amount of daily physical activity, and most of us also don’t eat enough healthy fruits and vegetables. 

Healthy communities are designed to support physical activity, encourage healthy eating habits, promote mental well-being, and prevent unintentional injuries. There is strong evidence that improving access to places for physical activity increases physical activity and improves physical fitness in urban, rural, and suburban areas. Planning for parks and trails helps create safe spaces where people can be physically active, and these green spaces also improve mental well-being and quality of life.  It is important that we plan to build these resources where they are most needed, because national studies show that low-income and minority neighborhoods have limited access to safe spaces for physical activity.  

Transportation planning that supports biking, walking, and public transportation increases physical activity, in addition to improving air quality and improving access to goods, services, and job opportunities.  For elderly people and people with disabilities, transportation options are especially important for maintaining a healthy, independent lifestyle.  Traditional walkable neighborhoods also increase social connections with friends and neighbors, which supports physical and mental health.  To ensure the safety of people walking, biking, and driving, transportation planners encourage “Complete Streets” that are built for all users. 

Zoning that supports farmers markets and healthy food vendors can improve the local food environment, support business development, and encourage pedestrian foot traffic. Cities in California and Minnesota have streamlined the process to approve new farmers markets, making it easier for small farmers to open fruit and vegetable stands.  By encouraging land use that preserves farmland, creates opportunities for community gardens, and incorporates healthy food stores into neighborhoods, we can support good nutrition habits. 

At Lancaster General Health, we provide coordinated and affordable high-quality care to patients every day. However, to improve the health of this community, we cannot act alone.  We are dedicated to collaborating with partners in non-health sectors.  By becoming a partner for place with the Lancaster County Planning Commission, we are making a commitment to help build a community where every county resident can live a healthy lifestyle.  Our vision for 2040 is a Lancaster County where people live, work, and play in places that support their physical, mental, and social well-being. 

To learn more about our current efforts to increase physical activity and promote healthy eating in the community, visit the Lighten Up Lancaster County coalition webpage at www.lightenuplancaster.org.  

One Day. 100 Miles. Biking in Lancaster County!

In the spirit of National Bike Month, this post is written by our intern Laurel, who recently found out what it was like to bicycle 100 miles around Lancaster County!

Being a novice (but ambitious) bicyclist I decided I wanted to take the next step in my ‘biking career’ and do what bicyclists often refer to as an American Century - biking 100 miles. Sunday, April 17th was a long-anticipated, beautiful, sunny day with temperatures in the mid-60s, clear skies, and a light breeze. My fiancé and I took off around noon on our tandem bike heading southeast through Warwick Township, the Leacocks, Paradise, and Strasburg.  We tried to keep to back roads as much as possible to avoid the stress of cars and the pollution, noise, and safety risks associated with them. Traveling the country roads of Lancaster County is always an enjoyable ride with beautiful landscapes of seemingly endless miles of farmland, silo after silo, Amish and Mennonites families outside working or playing, horse and buggies, and the sense of peace that comes with it.  Biking through the country offers even more. You begin to feel one with the landscape as your senses are heightened with every breath and pedal you take. 

We took Route 741 into Strasburg, which didn’t have much of a shoulder and had some heavier traffic. We knew we wanted Quarryville (and the ice cream we would eat there) to be our 50 mile point, so we picked up a friend in Strasburg and took a more indirect route down May Post Office Road, around Mount Pleasant, through Georgetown, Connors Mill, and Collins until we arrived at Son’s Ice Cream for our mid-point treat. Ice cream is always good, but it tastes much better when you just biked 50 miles and the sun is beaming down on your face for the first time in months. Son’s Ice Cream definitely hit the spot that day. 

50 down, 50 to go! We headed north from Quarryville along Route 222 and then cut back over towards Strasburg to drop our friend off and made our way back to Route 741. We turned north and headed through Intercourse. As the day went on I gained more appreciation for the horse and buggies’ hard work and patience as a steady flow of cars pass. We hopped on Route 23 to get some more miles in before heading back towards Lititz. Route 23 had a good shoulder for bicyclists. Fatigue was starting to set in at this point (for me at least). Luckily Route 23 had a smorgasbord of gas stations and restaurants to stop for water and a quick bite to eat. 

The final stretch! We crossed back over the Conestoga River and Route 222 and took Creek Road back into Warwick Township. Creek Road is a quaint country road that follows the Conestoga River, connecting Warwick Township to Oregon Pike and Route 222. The old farm houses, lush greenery, curvy roads, and productive farmland make the 2 mile stretch of road one of my favorites in the county. 

A direct route home would be just short of 100 miles, so we took advantage of wheeling around more back-country roads to make up the distance. Our total distance was 100.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,327 ft., and a total moving time of 6 hours and 8 minutes (statistics from Strava).   

We didn’t have many issues sharing the road with cars on the back-roads since there is generally plenty of space for them to pass us. In more congested areas like Strasburg, cars tried to respect us (for the most part) but didn’t always have the room or patience to give us sufficient space. Congested areas also make it more difficult for cyclists because of the nature of stop-and-go traffic and the maneuverability required to avoid cars. There were times on our ride where we were not treated as another mode of transportation sharing the road, but rather as an insignificant figure that blends into the landscape. In general, I think there is a lack of awareness and attention paid to bicyclist safety and rights that needs to be addressed in Lancaster County. 

 

Where in Lancaster County do you feel the most safe to bicycle? Where do you feel the least safe? How can we make roads safer for ALL users?

Find Lancaster County bicycling resources from our partner, Discover Lancaster, here!

Spring Regional Municipal Meetings

In April, the Lancaster County Planning Commission (LCPC) hosted four meetings for Lancaster County municipal officials and staff to discuss planning for the future in Lancaster County through places2040. The meetings were held throughout the county - New Holland (North), Quarryville (South), Lancaster City (Central), and Bird-in-Hand (East). In all, 104 leaders from 47 municipalities participated! 

LCPC Planners Mike and Kip talk to municipal leaders about places2040.

LCPC Planners Mike and Kip talk to municipal leaders about places2040.

In addition to reconnecting with neighboring municipal officials, attendees learned about places2040 and the importance of thinking regionally and working beyond municipal boundaries. Attendees provided their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions on what Lancaster County should look and feel like by 2040.

munimeeting.PNG

Local municipalities are vital to creating and implementing places2040! Local officials, boards, and committees are tasked with making the tough land-use decisions that will shape how we live, work, and play in Lancaster County over the next 25 years. We thank them for their continued participation and interest in working together to make Lancaster County a better place!

Mayor Lutz of Columbia, Mayor Gray of Lancaster, and other municipal leaders mark places they love and places they want to make better in Lancaster County.

Mayor Lutz of Columbia, Mayor Gray of Lancaster, and other municipal leaders mark places they love and places they want to make better in Lancaster County.

Young Professional Network Mixer

Last week, places2040 was featured in a networking mixer hosted by the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce's Young Professional Network. This post originally appeared on the YPN blog.

Last week, YPN hosted a networking mixer that featured a new community effort called places2040. Presented by the Lancaster County Planning Commission, and in partnership with numerous other organizations including The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, places2040 will be the community’s plan for the future of Lancaster County. It will focus on land use, transportation, and quality of life issues. Places2040 is different than other community development efforts because it is long-range in vision and county-wide in scope.

The fact is, Lancaster is growing, and it will continue to do so.

The question is, how will we accommodate this growth? By planning ahead, we can ensure that the landscapes that make Lancaster County unique will be protected, the corridors that we traverse on are safe and viable for all users, and the communities we live in will be healthier and more livable for future generations.

At this stage in the process, we’re making people aware of places2040, educating them about the issues in Lancaster County, and (most importantly) asking for your thoughts on how you think Lancaster County should look and feel by 2040. Eventually, all of your input will be synthesized into a plan that reflects the whole county’s views on what’s most important to us, combined with LCPC’s advice on how we might go about making plans to achieve our goals.

The YPN Mixer was an awesome opportunity for Lancaster’s young professionals to learn about places2040, start thinking about how they relate to their surroundings, and engage with fellow young professionals about the directions they see Lancaster going over the next 25 years. Additionally, participants mapped out places they love and want to make better, and also where they live, work and play. There were lots of great conversations and connections made in an effort to make Lancaster County a better place.

If you weren’t able to go to the mixer, you can still participate! Take the interactive survey at places2040.metroquest.com, and follow @places2040 on social media to get the latest news and events updates. If you’d like to volunteer your skills, knowledge, expertise or passion, please let us know by emailing info@places2040.com.

Thanks to PhotOle Photography for the great pictures!

Leadership Lancaster

Guest blog post by Mark Huber, Senior Countywide Planner at LCPC. Mark helped to facilitate discussions about land-use planning at Leadership Lancaster.

Last Friday, January 8th, several Lancaster County Planning Commission (LCPC) staff participated in the Public Policy and Economic Development session of the Leadership Lancaster program at the Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center. 

Leadership Lancaster is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to identify existing and emerging leaders and prepare them for roles in shaping the future of Lancaster County. Participants in Leadership Lancaster participate in 12 sessions covering a wide range of topics, including education, public policy, economic development, law & justice, arts and health and human services.

45C138BC-D9E2-4856-AFB2-32B2807C7ABF.JPG

This session was designed for program participants to gain insight into how the local political process works, explore ways to become more involved in local government issues, and to learn more about the current and future economic climate of Lancaster County.

LCPC Executive Director James Cowhey presented a brief overview of County Planning to the group. LCPC staff also helped conduct a Land Use Planning Exercise, in which participants created a community plan and then presented it to a mock planning commission.

During the afternoon session, Scott Standish, LCPC Countywide Division Director, provided an overview of the places2040 comprehensive plan update process and encouraged individuals to get involved in the planning process. Afterwards the group participated in a series of civic engagement exercises to provide public input for the plan. This included the “Live, Work, Play” exercise and the “Love It/Make it Better” exercise, in which participants placed stickers on maps of the county to show their top destinations, and places that they think need improvement in some way.

Tell us places you love in Lancaster County, and places that you want to make better, using our interactive online survey! Visit places2040.metroquest.com to do these map activities and more until February 2.

 

 

places2040 has officially begun!

Our kickoff event last night was a great success! Over 150 people from across the county came to learn and discuss how to create better places in Lancaster County. Thanks to all of you who came out - we appreciate your interest and support, and look forward to working with you to keep Lancaster County great!

Last night we released a video about how Lancaster County has changed over the last 15 years. It talks about how Lancaster County is a special place, and while it still has the great qualities we all recognize, it's constantly changing. Over the past 15 years, we've seen changes in people, jobs, housing, infrastructure, transportation, and treasured resources. Lancaster County: A Changing Place, 2000-2015 describes the shifting landscape of our community, and how it compares to surrounding counties, the region, state, and nation.

 In case you missed it, you can check it out here:

We hope to keep hearing from you about what your future Lancaster County looks like! Follow us online to get the latest updates on events and plan-related news. In the meantime, let us know your priorities for Lancaster's future by taking our interactive survey.

Want to know more about how Lancaster County has changed? You can find our full report (Lancaster County: A Changing Place, 2000-2015) and infographic summary by navigating to our
Resources page.

 

Lancaster County isn't like anywhere else. 
Lancaster County is here.

How will you make this special place even better?

This is places2040.

Welcome to the official home of places2040! We're really glad you're here.

 

In its final form, places2040 will eventually be a countywide comprehensive plan and vision for how we as the community want Lancaster to look and feel by the year 2040. But first, we need to hear from you about your priorities for the future in Lancaster County, and what places matter to you. Over the next year, we'll be having a series of conversations to determine these priorities. Once we do so, we can begin to figure out how to approach them, and create an action plan for the future. 

On November 4th, we'll be having an event to kickoff the start of the plan. We'll also be launching an online, interactive survey that will allow you to prioritize what issues matter to you, mark on a map the places you love and the places that need work, and choose photos of communities that look best to you. It's really important that you take this survey, because it will be one of the major contributing pieces to the final plan.  

We want this process to be very open and collaborative among everyone involved. After all, we're all in this community together, and none of us can do it alone!  To be clear, while this planning process is being lead by LCPC, this is the community's plan, and we really want it to be the most accurate representation of the county as possible. But to make that happen, we need your input! 

 

We can't wait to hear what you think.