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Monthly webinar series on land-use issues to start Jan. 16

Date: 1/16/2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Balancing farmland preservation with the need for future housing development is among the issues facing land-use planners.

Balancing farmland preservation with the need for future housing development is among the issues facing land-use planners.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A new series of Web-based seminars offered by Penn State Extension will cover issues related to land use.
Kicking off Jan. 16, the hour-long, monthly webinars will be offered at noon and 7 p.m. on a Wednesday with time for questions and answers.

The workshops are intended to help planners, elected officials and concerned citizens come together to make better land-use decisions, noted John Turack, extension educator based in Westmoreland County, who is coordinating the webinars.

"Through this webinar series, you can learn more about planning and current planning issues," Turack said. "The presentations will cover local regulations and how and why they are created, as well as planning tools and resources available to decision makers in Pennsylvania.

"Participants will learn how to engage in planning to benefit their community."

The Jan. 16 session, "Planning in Pennsylvania: Land Use, Communities and Beyond," will be moderated by Peter Wulfhorst, extension educator based in Pike County. That webinar will feature Shawn McLaughlin, Union County planning director, and Neal Fogle, Penn State Extension economic and community development educator.

Planners have a wide array of issues they can address and tools with which to work, Wulfhorst explained.

"This session will provide an overview of the planning powers granted by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code," he said. "It also will provide real-world descriptions and examples of how and by what means these powers can be applied at the municipal and county levels."

Wulfhorst said one such example to be featured is the preparation and implementation of the Union County Comprehensive Plan, which was awarded the 2010 American Planning Association-Pennsylvania Chapter Daniel Burnham Award.

Other planned webinars will cover the following topics:

-- Feb. 20: "How Pre-emption of Zoning and Other Local Controls Impacts Planning"

-- March 20: "Renewable Energy Implementation and Land Use Regulations -- Is There Conflict?"

-- April 17: "Developing More Effective Citizen Engagement: A How-To Guide for Community Leaders"

-- May 15: "Low Impact Development and Smart Growth: How Are They Best Integrated and Utilized in Our Communities?"

Registration cost for the entire webinar series is $25, and registrants can watch as few or as many webinars as they like. For more information, contact Jeff Himes, extension educator based in Tioga County, at 570-724-9120 or jhimes@psu.edu, or visit http://agsci.psu.edu/land-use-webinar.


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