Smart growth toolkit available to municipalities, public

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission has launched an online “planning toolkit” with the goal of providing local governments with, and educating the public about, the techniques and policies promoting up-to-date smart growth principles.

The toolkit was developed after more than a year of research and preparation by the commission, a land use and transportation planning agency serving Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties and their 103 municipalities.

It received a $37,500 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development for the project.

The toolkit includes fact sheets and reference materials on environmental, subdivision, transportation and zoning topics, along with model ordinances to guide municipalities as they create their own. Under “environmental topics,” visitors to the site can find fact sheets on such subjects as agricultural resource protection, brownfield redevelopment, conservation easements and stormwater management. And “zoning topics” includes such topics as accessory dwelling units, affordable and attainable housing, short-term rentals and warehouse zoning.

Some of the model ordinances in the toolkit cover medical marijuana, riparian forest buffer protection, solar energy systems, stormwater, and subdivision and land development.

The commission’s executive director, Steve Deck, said in a release that the toolkit will be updated regularly.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer.