The Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Code (MPC) requires the adoption of a comprehensive plan that includes basic background information about the municipality and identifies areas where growth and development will occur, so that a full range of public infrastructure can be adequately planned and provided as needed to accommodate growth. The MPC recommends that municipalities update their comprehensive plans every ten years. The City of York last adopted a comprehensive plan a decade ago in November of 2009. The plan will soon be out-of-date by the regulatory standard in Article 3 of the MPC. The 2009 plan also uses the 2000 decennial census as a primary data source. Therefore, much of the foundational information is nearly 20 years old.
Beyond the document’s age as reason to update, current data shows that since the plan update in 2009, the city has seen significant demographic and economic changes that support an update, to name a few:
- Since 2009, median household income adjusted for inflation has dropped from $33,388 to $29,834 in 2017 dollars.
- In the same time, the Spanish, Hispanic, and Latino population has grown from one-quarter of the population to one-third.
- While the city has added 1,000 housing units in the past ten years, we have lost 700 owner-occupied units. Accordingly, owner-occupied units have decreased from 45% to 38% of all housing in the city.
Planning and policy conversations locally, regionally, and nationally have also changed. The City adopted the 2009 plan during an economic recession that loomed large in the national discourse, but the effects of that recession had not yet been borne out in data. Today the macro economy is recovering form that downturn, but many are questioning the rebound for low-and moderate-income families. On the local scale, there is significant discussion about gentrification that the 2009 plan does not highlight nor address specifically.
Sustainability illustrates another example of shifts in conversation in the past decade. Like planning documents across the country at the time, the 2009 plan has a major focus on this topic. Anecdotally, green infrastructure and a locally-driven economy – to cornerstones of sustainability – are still top issues for many York City residents but the popularity of sustainability as a label for these initiatives may have waned. More importantly, the projects, policies, and programs best suited to carry out these ambitions have evolved in the past decade.
In sum, regulation mandates and changes in our community call for this proposed update to the York City Comprehensive Plan. Without renewed efforts in research and outreach, we are making policy decisions based on dated assumptions and our planning documents and process reflect best practices of a decade ago.
The City of York is looking for ten to 20 members of the public to lead the update of the York City comprehensive plan in conjunction with members of City Council and the York City Planning Commission. We seek a group that reflects the diversity fo the city in age, gender, disability, race and ethnic background, and income. The group will include representation from the public, private businesses, and non-profit partners.
Members of the team should provide varied opinions about the future of the city and we will seek people with visions and ideas that differ from the administration and the status quo. The team will also raise awareness of the planning effort and, therefore, members of the team should already have the respect of the public as leaders in their neighborhoods or the community at large.
- Lead conversations about the future of our community by planning, spreading the word about, and taking part in community workshops.
- Direct at least one task force focused on an issue – as selected by residents – to develop goals and action steps for that issue.
- Oversee completion of the draft comprehensive plan.
- Review progress annually.
Requirements and Skills
- York City resident 15 years of age and older.
- Available to meet approximately once each month for the next year.
- Ability to think abstractly.
- Ability to make decisions based on the best interest of the community.
- Ability to compromise and work in a team.
- Be civic-minded and concerned about growth and development issues in the city.
Interested participants should provide a resume and complete the questionnaire on the CityGrows website with the link in the button below.
Paper copies are also available at City Hall, Department of Economic and Community Development. Documents can be returned in person or by mail at the address below:
Department of Economic and Community Development
York City Hall
101 South George Street, 2nd Floor
York, PA 17401