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Countians Invited To Engage In Planning For Lancaster's Future

What matters most for the future of Lancaster County? With anticipation for a continued growth in population and more demands on open spaces in the region, the Lancaster County Planning Commission (LCPC) is inviting residents to use their voices to help craft the future they hope to see for Lancaster. Residents can participate in a brief survey at http://places2040.com through Friday, Feb. 10.

The new survey is built on the results from the commission's public survey in 2015. The survey asks residents to select and rank five categories as priorities from the following options: managing growth; housing choice; urban places; employment; transportation; parks, trails, and natural areas; agriculture and farmland; and thinking beyond boundaries. Based on the priorities selected by the individual, the survey tailors several scenarios for an individual to choose from for allocating resources to support those priorities.

"We can all agree that Lancaster is a special place, but special places don't just happen," said Scott Standish, director of countywide planning for LCPC. "If we want to make Lancaster County better, then here's your opportunity. Join the conversation and take the survey."

The survey is part of the process to develop places2040, an update to the Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan.

"Our plan is about looking at the big picture," Standish said. The places2040 effort is designed to establish a vision for the future and an action plan for implementation, as well as indicators to measure success. LCPC will prepare the plan for the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners to consider adopting as county policy. Each county in Pennsylvania is required to have a comprehensive plan in place.

LCPC has been meeting with county leaders, organizations, and communities to gather input as places2040 is developed. In the initial survey and ongoing dialogue, county residents expressed the desire to create compact, walkable communities; to ensure safe, quality housing options for everyone; and to promote reinvestment through rehabilitation and infill. "More than ever, people are saying, 'Let's build up instead of out,'" Standish remarked.

A high regard and value for Lancaster's farmland has been consistently expressed among residents for years; however, in the past few years Standish also noticed a growing concern for protecting not only the land but the farmers themselves. Input from residents revealed a strong desire to ensure that farmers remain economically viable, he said.

"There has also been an urban focus," Standish shared, noting that this is most likely a result of the success that places like downtown Lancaster and Lititz have seen in recent years.

Traffic congestion is a common complaint, but more residents are requesting the addition of bicycle lanes and transportation alternatives, which Standish said is encouraging. Additionally, Standish said that as the population grows, so do the requests for more parks and trails.

"People are telling us we're on the right path, but don't stop," Standish said.

At http://places2040.com, folks can also view two videos featuring input from individuals from the 18 county organizations that have agreed to take part in the places2040 process.

For more information, readers can visit the aforementioned website and follow places2040 on social media.

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