Character Zones

Lancaster County Character Zones

Lancaster County Character Zones

What are character zones?

Character zones are broad categories reflecting different land-use patterns in a community.

Places2040 identifies seven character zones in Lancaster County. These include six zones that classify land from rural to urban, and one “special district” zone for industrial, institutional, and airport uses in urban areas. The seven zones are Natural, Agriculture, Rural Community, Suburban, Urban, Urban Core, and Special District. Many of these zones also have sub-zones.

When mapped, these character zones show us which areas of the county have similar characteristics. These zones have the potential to simplify the way we make land-use decisions in Lancaster County, including the way we implement zoning.

How to use the map

The tabs above the map allow you to toggle between different character zones.

On the left-side panel, click the title box to see a larger version of the character zone drawing and photo within that box. Click one of the blue “hotlinks” in the text to see a bird’s-eye view of a typical place within that zone – a place in Lancaster County.

On the map, use the white buttons – plus, minus, and home – to zoom in, zoom out, or return to the “home view” (countywide view). These buttons are located in the upper left corner of the map, next to the left-side panel.

If you have a 3-button mouse, pan around the map (slide it back and forth) by clicking and holding the left mouse button. Return to the home view (county-wide view) by clicking the home button.


Character zones are just one way of looking at the land-use patterns in our community – and this Story Map is just one tool that helps us understand these patterns. It’s not a precise analysis of how individual properties are being used today, or how they might be used in the future. It’s not a legally recorded plan or survey. Instead, it’s an educational tool for planning at a countywide or regional level.