On April 26, David Rouse and Rob Kerns of WRT and Shawn McLaughlin, Union County, PA Planning Director, presented "The Sustainable Comprehensive Plan" at the American Planning Association's National Conference in Minneapolis. WRT's planners are developing an overall approach and specific techniques designed to integrate sustainability into plans and implementing regulations at scales ranging from cities and regions to downtowns and neighborhoods. The Union County Comprehensive Plan, which was featured in the presentation, represents an application of WRT's sustainable planning and zoning initiative. It includes sustainability principles and keys as an organizing framework, supported by specific actions and indicators to measure progress in achieving sustainability targets.
Union County is a rural county in central Pennsylvania that is rich in agricultural, natural, historic, and small town resources. The comprehensive plan, which is expected to be adopted by the county commissioners this summer, was prepared with extensive public participation using the "values-driven" planning process pioneered by WRT. Through this process county residents expressed a strong interest in energy conservation and other sustainability issues.
"Union County is remarkable in that it is a small community with limited fiscal and staff resources that has made a commitment to sustainability in its draft comprehensive plan," said David Rouse, WRT's principal-in-charge of the project. "We expect major cities such as Seattle, Portland, and New York City to lead the way in addressing issues such as climate change and peak oil. However, we need many more places like Union County to take on this challenge if we are to find our way to a sustainable future."