Having an informed public is a critical component in having an effective comprehensive plan. One of the initial steps employed by Dauphin County was the distribution of an online survey, with hard copies also distributed to the libraries throughout the County. Municipalities were also asked to spread the word through their newsletters, bulletin boards, and/or websites. This resulted in the receipt of over 600 responses that were well distributed across the County, well beyond the participation level expected through a traditional public meeting approach.
Regular updates were made to the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission website highlighting the progress of the planning effort and similar material was made part of each newsletter produced throughout the same time period.
The Comprehensive Plan’s three main areas of focus (community, environment and economic development) were identified through the review of the survey responses. Using this information, planners identified approximately 40 individuals and organizations involved in ongoing and future activities within these areas. Interviews were conducted and these individuals and organizations agreed to serve as “Implementation Partners” who will continue to participate in planning efforts relating to the implementation of the plan. The notes from the interviews and the listing of Implementation Partners are contained in the Comprehensive Plan.
The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) is somewhat specific on the outreach that must be conducted as part of the review of a draft comprehensive plan. The main tool used to announce the availability of the Comprehensive Plan was a flyer produced in Adobe format that could be electronically distributed or printed and made available via hard copy. The flyer was then used to help exceed the MPC requirements through a series of outreach activities at various levels as described below.
- Tri-County Regional Planning Commission: Notices places on web site, twitter account and Facebook page. Press release prepared and forwarded to local media.
- Dauphin County Parks & Recreation: Presented on the Department’s e-blasts and on Facebook page.
- Dauphin County Library System: Copies of the plan made available at the reference desks. Also, copies of the flyers made available and distributed at the libraries.
- Northern Dauphin Council of Governments: Received a presentation at their May 18, 2017 meeting.
- Public Display: April 12, 2017 public display at Strawberry Square, Harrisburg.
- Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee Members: All Advisory Committee members & interviewees were provided flyers and information and were asked to distribute flyer through their systems.
- Northern Dauphin Human Services: Presented flyers to their Health and Wellness providers; presented copies of flyers at their Northern Dauphin Health Initiative meeting; Provided information at the Northern Dauphin Human Services Advisory Meeting; Presented flyer at the Northern Dauphin School Director’s meeting; provided information to the tenants (14 total) located within their service center building and made flyers available at their building in Elizabethville.
- Home Builders Association of Metro Harrisburg: Provided several E-mail notifications to members.
Direct Email Transmittal of Information:
- Email notices were sent to the 208 survey respondents who asked to be informed by providing their e-mail address.
- Email notices were sent to 649 non-profit organizations located within Dauphin County with identified e-mail addresses.
Additional Municipal Activities:
- Derry Township: Place a paragraph description, flyer and link to the County Plan website in the weekly eNews edition on April 21, 2017.
- Millersburg Borough: Posted flyer on bulletin board at the Borough Office. Also shared the announcement on our Facebook page on April 12, 2017 and other times before the comment period deadline.
- Royalton Borough: Flyer on community bulletin board located at the Borough Office and at their utility payment window.
- South Hanover Township: Flyers available for the public taking within an information kiosk at the Municipal Building. Also, Planning Commission received a presentation at their May meeting.
- Susquehanna Township: Flyer posted at Municipal Building Community Bulletin Board. Also, Planning Commission received a presentation at their May meeting.
- West Hanover Township: Posted flyer on Municipal Building bulletin board and available as a double sided flyer with other pamphlets. Information also sent to their parks and recreation building to have available (as this building, along with the Municipal Building, in the Township has that has regular public interaction.)
Formal Notifications Required under the Municipalities Planning Code (Email and Hard Copy):
- All 40 Dauphin County Municipalities
- All Dauphin County School Districts (12 Districts)
- All adjoining counties: Cumberland, Perry, Juniata, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Lebanon, Lancaster, and York Counties
- All adjoining Municipalities (31 Municipalities)
- All adjacent School Districts (11 Districts)
- All Dauphin County Municipal Authorities and Utilities
- PA Governor’s Center for Local Government Services
The mandatory 45-day review period ran between April 12, 2017 and May 29, 2017. The steering committee met on May 30, 2017 and recommended that the Dauphin County Planning Commission forward the plan to the Dauphin County Commissioners with a recommendation for adoption. The Planning Commission then met on June 5, 2017 and formally recommended adoption of the Comprehensive Plan. A presentation was then made to the County Commissioners at their June 7, 2017 workshop meeting, where the Commissioners gave their approval for the scheduling of a formal public hearing in accordance with the MPC. The hearing was then held on July 12, 2017, and afterwards the Dauphin County Comprehensive Plan was formally adopted by resolution.
Copies of the flyer, public hearing notification and adoption resolution are included below with documentation of the comments and responses received throughout the public review period: