HONESDALE – New aerial photography completed last spring helps bring Wayne County’s land uses into sharper focus, according to Planning/GIS Director Craig Rickard.
During the presentation of department’s annual report to the County Commissioners recently, Rickard said the new data will be used to update a Land Use/Land Cover Analysis last completed in 2008 as part of the Wayne County Comprehensive Plan update.
By using the previous codes for the County, each of the 28 municipalities will be analyzed to determine any changes to land cover as well as verify existing land uses based on current tax assessment data. Planning/GIS staff, he said, focused first on Hawley Borough, Palmyra and Paupack Townships, which are in the process of completing a Lake Region Comprehensive Plan update.
Next, the East Central Region of Damascus, Manchester and Oregon Townships will receive the same treatment in preparation for their joint planning effort. Rickard said the new aerial photography, featuring both angled and straight-down views, will be used to calculate land use for all 28 municipalities before being consolidated into a county-wide report.
The Geographic Information System or GIS also helps with many other projects in Wayne County. In early 2017, Rickard reports GIS mapping assisted the county in its effort to stave off the possible closing of the State Correctional Institution at Waymart by providing a comparative analysis showing the proximity of state facilities to federal prisons and other emergency resources.
Commissioner Wendell Kay said he felt the county’s GIS-supported testimony helped give more weight to their arguments, rather than just the anecdotal and emotion-driven testimony from other areas targeted by the proposed down-sizing.
Also early in the year, the Planning/GIS department lent its skills to a National Park Service project designed to create a modern, digital border for the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River, originally drawn in the 1980s. Unlike many designated river corridors, the Upper Delaware is primarily held in private ownership, making the boundary a critical part of local planning efforts.
Rickard also discussed an ambitious project update by Bloomsburg University summer intern Joseph Ciraolo, who conducted a Major Subdivision Inventory. Originally compiled in 1982 and updated in 1990, the project had not been revisited since. Ciraolo added all subdivisions of 10 lots or more filed since 1990 and upgraded the entire inventory, in excess of 400, to a GIS format.
He also created a corresponding Excel file identifying the subdivision, the number of lots, tax map number and other relevant data.
The Planning/GIS Department also provided technical support to the following projects:
- Property mapping for a citizen-advocacy group interested in the preservation and enhancement of Bingham Park in Hawley;
- Zip Code data mapping of program enrollees for the Wayne County Employment & Training Center;
- Mapping of large parcels and utility corridors for the Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO);
- An assessment of the Sterling Business & Technology Parks’ nearby community for managers of the facility.
- Mapping in support of efforts to expand the Pocono Mountains Keystone Innovation Zone to include the Sterling Business & Technology Park and the Stourbridge Project at the County’s Park Street Complex, also for WEDCO.
The Planning/GIS department also created maps in support of several grant applications including a UGI Gas Line Extension Project near Waymart, a Wayne County Agriculture Economic Development study and the county’s Community Development Block Grant infrastructure projects.
The complete 2017 Annual Reportcontains comprehensive information about all the work of the Wayne County Planning/GIS Department during the past year.