The PA Municipalities Planning Code a “County Comprehensive Plan” as “a land use and growth management plan prepared by the county planning commission and adopted by the county commissioners which establishes broad goals and criteria for municipalities to use in preparation of their comprehensive plan and land use regulation.”
All comprehensive plans are subject to the following four common criteria:
- Contain basic plan elements set forth in Section 301(a);
- Contain a plan for the reliable supply of water, considering current and future water resources availability;
- Be reviewed every 10 years, and
- “…identify those areas where growth and development will occur so that a full range of public infrastructure, including sewer, water, highways, police and fire protection, public schools, parks open space and other services can be adequately planned and provided as needed to accommodate growth.”
County comprehensive plans have an additional set of requirements. MPC Section 301 (7) requires a county plan to:
- Identify land uses as they relate to important natural resources and appropriate utilization of existing minerals.
- Identify current and proposed land use which have a regional impact and significance, such as large shopping centers, major industrial parks, mines and related activities, office parks, storage facilities, large residential developments, regional entertainment and recreational complexes, hospitals, airports and port facilities.
- Identify a plan for the preservation and enhancement of prime agricultural land and encourage the compatibility of land use regulation with existing agricultural operations.
- Identify a plan for historic preservation. In addition, counties are required to update the comprehensive plan every ten years.