City council passes first reading of 10-year comprehensive plan

Kara Drane, a senior planner at Catawba Regional Council of Governments (COG), shared an overview of the 10-year Comprehensive Plan for Lancaster County with the Lancaster City Council at its Tuesday, Feb. 10, meeting.

A public hearing was held by Lancaster County Council on Feb. 3 after which, that council adopted the plan and recommended a similar action by the city council.

First reading of the ordinance to adopt the county’s 2014-2024 Comprehensive Plan was on Tuesday’s meeting agenda.

“A comprehensive plan is a legal mandate for zoning,” Drane said. “It’s not a zoning ordinance.”

She said the plan is a policy of what residents would like to see for community development.

Elements of the comprehensive plan include population, the environment and the economy.

“With the population element you look to see who’s in the community,” Drane said. “Twenty-five percent of Lancaster’s growth is in the Panhandle. This element shows where people will live, work and shop.”

She told city council to think about the natural resources element including bodies of water that surround the county.

She also told them to consider the transportation element (roads, rail, transit and even bicycles), which is key to moving both economic goods and people.

“The Land Use element is about where you want to have land development,” Drane said. “It’s the one we look to a lot.”

She told council plan implementation deals with the planning principle of where to allow cluster development.

“Lancaster County is undergoing an update on its rural growth area and new area growth,” Drane said. “You have to have growth where it makes sense.”

Councilman John Howard said the best case scenario of growth around the city is along the U.S. 521 corridor, which is a good thing.

“It’s good to see the city and county working together,” Drane said as she concluded her presentation.

Council voted unanimously to pass first reading of the ordinance to adopt the updated Comprehensive Plan 2014-2024.

By Denyse Clark, Staff Reporter with The Lancaster News