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Regional comprehensive plan released

Richard D. L. Fulton

(3/19) The final draft of the proposed Southwest Adams Joint Comprehensive Plan has been distributed by the county to the several municipalities involved for further review by their respective planning commissions.

The plan, prepared by the Adams County Office of Planning and Development, would be intended to replace the comprehensive plans of all of the communities that became a party to the regional planning effort.

Municipalities that initially comprised those which the plan had been envisioned to encompass include Carroll Valley and Fairfield boroughs, and Hamiltonban, Highland, Liberty and Freedom townships.

Of those, Highland and Freedom townships are regarded as "undecided" as to whether or not they want to continue with the regional planning process, it was noted at the March 10 meeting of the Fairfield Borough Planning Commission.

The development of regional comprehensive plan is funded through grants from the state departments of Community & Economic Development and Conservation and Natural Resources, matching funds, and local and county staff time expenditures.

In presenting the draft to the Fairfield Borough Planning Commission, county Planner Robert Thaeler stated that the process to move the plan towards adoption would be for the planning commissions to, first, "read it and make sure you’re comfortable with it," then hold public meetings (possibly a joint public meeting) to solicit comment "from interested members of the public."

After the public meetings, the planning commissions would consider comments received, and indicate to the county any changes they would like to see implemented into the draft.

At the conclusion of that process, Thaeler stated, the municipal planning commissions would then assimilate a recommendation regarding adoption of the plan to their respective governing bodies, who would then hold a joint public hearing to consider adoption following a final county review.

The Southwest Adams Joint Comprehensive Plan is not the only effort being undertaken in the county to "regionalize" multi-municipality planning.

Other county joint regional plans in various stages of work include Central Adams (Gettysburg Borough, and Straban and Cumberland townships), and Eastern (New Oxford and Abbottstown boroughs, and Reading, Hamilton and Oxford townships).

Joint regional plans which have been adopted include Northwest (Ardentsville, Bendersville, and Biglerville Boroughs, and, Butler, Franklin, and Menallen townships); Southeastern Adams (Littlestown Borough, and Germany and Union townships); and Bonneauville-Mt. Pleasan (including the two named municipalities).

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