City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday evening to approve “Our Future Lancaster,” Lancaster’s new comprehensive plan, providing the first complete overhaul of the city’s overarching vision and development strategy in three decades.
The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at City Hall, 120 N. Duke St. It includes a public hearing on the plan, an element of the adoption process required by state law. A vote on a resolution adopting the plan is the third and final item on council’s legislative agenda.
(One hour earlier, at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, City Council’s finance committee is holding a special meeting to review the city’s 2022 audit report.)
Development of the comprehensive plan has been under way for two years. Among other things, city officials have emphasized the extensive efforts made to incorporate public input, which yielded over 14,000 responses online, in person and by phone.
For more information
One United Lancaster has covered the comprehensive plan process from the start. Here, for background and reference, is a selection of our previous articles:
- July 28, 2021: Citizens can shape the comprehensive plan that will shape Lancaster
- July 28, 2021: The 1993 comprehensive plan: How it changed Lancaster
- Oct. 27, 2022: Comprehensive plan update: Lancaster starting to draft document, aims for adoption next summer
- May 25, 2023: City officials unveil Lancaster’s draft comprehensive plan
- May 25, 2023: Comprehensive plan calls for revitalizing Conestoga River corridor
- Aug. 3, 2023: Planning Commission digs in on comp plan review
- Aug. 18, 2023: Planning Commission formally recommends new comprehensive plan
The full plan is available on the website OurFutureLancaster.com, along with various supporting documentation. In an introduction, Mayor Danene Sorace describes it as “a vision for a stronger, more equitable Lancaster.”
It calls for adjusting city regulations to increase the variety and affordability of housing stock and to foster small business development in commercial corridors and increase environmental resiliency.
It calls for a fresh approach to the Conestoga River that respects its ecological integrity while taking advantage of its recreational potential.
The city’s Planning Commission formally recommended the plan in August. Its vote included a provision for commission members and city staff to conduct one more look at the “urban center” boundary in the plan’s future land use map.
That review took place, and the boundary’s southern edge was adjusted slightly “to include some redevelopment opportunities,” Chief Planner Douglas Smith said. The commission subsequently reviewed and approved the amended map. There have been no other substantive changes.
The city’s existing comprehensive plan dates to 1993. Paula Jackson, the now-retired chief planner who supervised its development, has spoken strongly in favor of its successor.
At City Council’s Oct. 2 committee meeting, several community advocates quizzed Chris Delfs, director of Community Planning & Economic Development, about the plan’s potential to advance the welfare of marginalized communities and redress the inequality stemming from past plans and policies.
“Even if we have a great desire and a great intent today, it doesn’t repair past harms,” Dr. Cherise Hamblin, founder of Patients R Waiting, said.
Delfs said his team was acutely aware of those issues, and sincerely tried to put equity at the forefront of the public input process and the plan that resulted.
“I do hope we succeeded,” he said.