DCED Releases Land Use and Growth Report to Aid State, Local Planning

HARRISBURG – The Department of Community and Economic Development has issued a report that shows how Pennsylvania will look, demographically, in the next 10 years and how it has changed in the past five years.

The 2010 State Land Use and Growth Management Report, prepared by DCED’s Governor’s Center for Local Government Services (GCLGS) and PB Americas Inc., was presented during the State Planning Board meeting in Harrisburg.

“This report takes an in-depth look at statewide and regional growth and development patterns,” GCLGS Executive Director Fred Reddig said.

“It will be a vital tool in assessing trends and barriers related to land use, population and development and will be a tremendous resource in mapping out future growth opportunities for Pennsylvania.”

Reddig said the report is intended to promote a policy approach to land use and growth management. The hope is that the recommendations detailed within the report will be used as guidelines and best practices.

The report is statutorily authorized to be updated every five years and is available at www.newpa.com/center. The 2010 report builds on the inaugural 2005 report and includes an evaluation of the primary land use issues, significant historic and projected trends, and statewide and regional development patterns.

Major findings in the report include:

– Between 2000 and 2010, Pennsylvania’s population grew three times slower than the national average.

– Between 1990 and 2007, population increased by 4.6 percent, yet the state experienced a 10.9 percent increase in the number of housing units and double the amount of developed land during that same time frame.

– Due to the recession, residential building permits in 2008 and 2009 reached 50-year lows.

– Pennsylvania is ranked 47th in the nation for natural population increase (the addition of births and subtraction of deaths) between 2000 and 2009.

Pennsylvania’s population increased by 323,696, and 55 percent of those new residents arrived from other countries.

– Today, one out of every five Pennsylvanians is over age 60. By 2020, this age group will make up one-quarter of the population.

– In 2008, 44.5 percent of the state’s municipalities were operating with a deficit. Compounding this is a backlog of infrastructure repair needs. Annual unmet transportation needs are estimated to total $2.3 billion, rising to $5 billion by 2020. Water and wastewater systems have combined capital needs of $36.5 billion in the next 20 years.

According to the report, changing demographics suggest there is an emerging market for development that is green (energy and environmentally conscious) and walkable (compact, affordable, mixed-use, and favoring pedestrians) to reduce unnecessary sprawl and consume less land and infrastructure.

The report also recommends providing financial and technical assistance to help local governments address the impacts of Marcellus Shale and the natural gas industry; initiating a state effort to integrate natural resource and farmland protection programs; and strengthening infrastructure financing programs.

For more information or other resources and publications available for local governments, visit www.newpa.com or call 1-866-466-3972.

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