LAWRENCE COUNTY Officials set up meetings, seek residents' input

The plan is expected to be completed later this year.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Lawrence County officials are working on a comprehensive plan and want input from residents.
Meetings planned in May and June are designed to let people talk about how they see their communities growing, said James Gagliano, county planning director.
It is all part of the comprehensive plan Lawrence County started working on last year.
A comprehensive plan is a blueprint officials will use for development in the county. Gagliano said that while it is not a legal document, a comprehensive plan is used as a guide when creating zoning or land use laws.
Those laws will help determine where housing and other things such as farms, homes, businesses and industrial facilities should be located.
Consultant hired
County commissioners have also hired a real estate consultant to help determine where they should focus their development efforts.
Stuart M. Patz, a real estate consultant from Herndon, Va., told county officials earlier this year that they should shift their plans for economic development east toward the Interstate 79 corridor and look for more housing development and less manufacturing.
Patz's suggestions, along with those garnered from residents, will be used to update the county's land and subdivision ordinances, Gagliano said.
County land use ordinances apply to all communities, except those who have passed their own zoning laws, he said.
Of Lawrence County's 27 municipalities. 15 have their own zoning laws, he said.
Strengths, weaknesses
People who attend the meetings will be asked to determine the strengths and weaknesses of their communities.
The county has been divided into eight sections by school district, he said.
Gagliano noted that opinions on strengths and weaknesses will likely vary from person to person. Some may think the rural nature of a community is a strength, while others see it as a weakness.
Gagliano said that information will be processed and put into the comprehensive plan that will be completed later this year.

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