Why a new plan?


The previous Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan, Envision Lancaster County, laid a strong foundation of policies and actions that directed growth to appropriate areas, protected agricultural and natural resources, and encouraged intermunicipal cooperation. So why are we updating this plan?

  1. It’s been over 15 years since we adopted the first component of the plan.
  2. We still have a lot of work to do. Growth areas are still seeing a sprawling, disconnected development pattern, housing is less affordable, infrastructure is aging, and we’re still losing treasured resources.
  3. Changing conditions require us to think differently about where people live and work, how we move around, and how we protect our heritage.
  4. Our existing structure of municipalities and school districts makes it difficult to achieve some of our goals. We need to strengthen our collaboration.


but it's not all bad news.

We’re seeing new opportunities — more investment in the city and boroughs, greater interest in walking and bicycling, and new technologies. While the existing plan has served the county well, we now need a different kind of plan — a more concise document that clearly states the kind of place we want Lancaster County to be.  Ensuring that the county remains a place where people want to live, work, and play requires a more holistic and integrated approach. This new framework is places2040: a plan for Lancaster County, PA.  

Guiding Principles:

  • Reinvent our growth management strategy to focus on places, not land uses;
  • Provide a framework for local and regional comprehensive plans;
  • Consider our role in the region, state, and nation;
  • Articulate a 25-year vision that is realistic and evolutionary;
  • Include an action plan for implementation and indicators to measure success.
  • Involve the public, private, and nonprofit sectors;
  • Promote best practices in planning and placemaking;
  • Build on past planning efforts and principles;
  • Integrate previously adopted plans into a single visually-oriented document;
  • Focus on countywide issues and opportunities;