Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code

Article XI - Intergovernmental Cooperative Planning and Implementation Agreements

Section 1101. Purposes. It is the purpose of this article:

(1) To provide for development that is compatible with surrounding land uses and that will complement existing land development with a balance of commercial, industrial and residential uses.

(2) To protect and maintain the separate identity of Pennsylvania’s communities and to prevent the unnecessary conversion of valuable and limited agricultural land.

(3) To encourage cooperation and coordinated planning among adjoining municipalities so that each municipality accommodates its share of the multimunicipal growth burden and does not induce unnecessary or premature development of rural lands.

(4) To minimize disruption of the economy and environment of existing communities.

(5) To complement the economic and transportation needs of the region and this Commonwealth.

(6) To provide for the continuation of historic community patterns.

(7) To provide for coordinated highways, public services and development.

(8) To ensure that new public water and wastewater treatment systems are constructed in areas that will result in the efficient utilization of existing systems, prior to the development and construction of new systems.

(9) To ensure that new or major extension of existing public water and wastewater treatment systems are constructed only in those areas within which anticipated growth and development can adequately be sustained within the financial and environmental resources of the area.

(10) To identify those areas where growth and development will occur so that a full range of public infrastructure services including sewer, water, highways, police and fire protection, public schools, parks, open space and other services can be adequately planned and provided as needed to accommodate the growth that occurs.

(11) To encourage innovations in residential, commercial and industrial development to meet growing population demands by an increased variety in type, design and layout of structures and by the conservation and more efficient use of open space ancillary to such structures.

(12) To facilitate the development of affordable and other types of housing in numbers consistent with the need for such housing as shown by existing and projected population and employment data for the region.

Section 1102. Intergovernmental Cooperation Planning and Implementation Agreements. For the purpose of developing, adopting and implementing a comprehensive plan for the entire county or for any area within the county, the governing bodies of municipalities located within the county or counties may enter into intergovernmental cooperative agreements, as provided by 53 Pa C.S. Ch. 23 Such. A (relating to intergovernmental cooperation), except for any provisions permitting initiative and referendum. Such agreements may also be entered into between and among counties and municipalities for areas that include municipalities in more than one county, and between and among counties, municipalities, authorities and special districts providing water and sewer facilities, transportation planning or other services within the area of a plan and with the opportunity for the active participation of State agencies and school districts. Implementation of the comprehensive plan and subdivision and zoning ordinances shall be accomplished in accordance with articles of this act.

Section 1103. Finances, Staff and Program. County or Multimunicipal Comprehensive Plans.

(a) The comprehensive plan that is the subject of an agreement may be developed by the municipalities or at the request of the municipalities, by the county planning agency, or agencies in the case of a plan covering municipalities in more than one county, in cooperation with municipalities within the area and shall include all the elements required or authorized in section 301 for the region of the plan, including a plan to meet the housing needs of present residents and those individuals and families anticipated to reside in the area of the plan, which may include conservation of presently sound housing, rehabilitation of housing in declining neighborhoods and the accommodations of expected new housing in different dwelling types and of appropriate densities for households of all income levels. The plan may:

(1) Designate growth areas where:

(i) Orderly and efficient development to accommodate the projected growth of the area within the next 20 years is planned for residential and mixed use densities of one unit or more per acre.

(ii) Commercial, industrial and institutional uses to provide for the economic and employment needs of the area and to insure that the area has an adequate tax base are planned for.

(iii) Services to serve such development are provided or planned for.

(2) Designate potential future growth areas where future development is planned for densities to accompany the orderly extension and provision of services.

(3) Designate rural resource areas, if applicable, where:

(i) Rural resource uses are planned for.

(ii) Development at densities that are compatible with rural resource uses are or may be permitted.

(iii) Infrastructure extensions or improvements are not intended to be publicly financed by municipalities except in villages, unless the participating or affected municipalities agree that such service should be provided to an area for health or safety reasons or to accomplish one or more of the purposes set forth in section 1101.

(4) Plan for the accommodation of all categories of uses within the area of the plan, provided, however, that all uses need not be provided in every municipality, but shall be planned and provided for within a reasonable geographic area of the plan.

(5) Plan for developments of area wide significance and impact, particularly those identified in section 301(3) and (4).

(6) Plan for the conservation and enhancement of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic resources within the area of the plan,

(b) The county may facilitate a multimunicipal process and may enter into cooperative planning agreements with participating municipalities governing particular planning subjects and responsibilities. The planning process shall include a public participation process to assure that all governing bodies, municipal authorities, school districts and agencies, whether public or private, having jurisdiction or operating within the area of the plan and landowners and citizens affected by the plan have an opportunity to be heard prior to the public hearings required for the adoption of the plan under section 302(a).

(c) Adoption of the plan and plan amendments shall conform to the requirements of section 302, and may be reflected on the official map of each participating municipality pursuant to section 401. Where a county and municipality have developed and adopted a comprehensive county or multimunicipal plan that conforms to the requirements of this article within five years prior to the date of adoption of this article, the plan may be implemented by agreements as provided for in this article.

Section 1104. Implementation Agreements.

(a) In order to implement multimunicipal comprehensive plans, under section 1103 counties and municipalities shall have authority to enter into intergovernmental cooperative agreements.

(b) Cooperative implementation agreements shall:

(1) Establish the process that the participating municipalities will use to achieve general consistency between the county or multimunicipal comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances, subdivision and land development and capital improvement plans within participating municipalities, including adoption of conforming ordinances by participating municipalities within two years and a mechanism for resolving disputes over the interpretation of the multimunicipal comprehensive plan and the consistency of implementing plans and ordinances.

(2) Establish a process for review and approval of developments of regional significance and impact that are proposed within any participating municipality. Subdivision and land development approval powers under this act shall only be exercised by the municipality in which the property where the approval is sought. Under no circumstances shall a subdivision or land development applicant be required to undergo more than one approval process.

(3) Establish the role and responsibilities of participating municipalities with respect to implementation of the plan, including the provision of public infrastructure services within participating municipalities as described in subsection (d), the provision of affordable housing, and purchase of real property, including rights-of-way and easements.

(4) Require a yearly report by participating municipalities to the county planning agency and by the county planning agency to the participating municipalities concerning activities carried out pursuant to the agreement during the previous year. Such reports shall include summaries of public infrastructure needs in growth areas and progress toward meeting those needs through capital improvement plans and implementing actions, and reports on development applications and dispositions for residential, commercial, and industrial development in each participating municipality for the purpose of evaluating the extent of provision for all categories of use and housing for all income levels within the region of the plan.

(5) Describe any other duties and responsibilities as may be agreed upon by the parties.

(c) Cooperative implementation agreements may designate growth areas, future growth areas and rural resource areas within the plan. The agreement shall also provide a process for amending the multimunicipal comprehensive plan and redefining the designated growth area, future growth area and rural resource area within the plan.

(d) The county may facilitate convening representatives of municipalities, municipal authorities, special districts, public utilities, whether public or private, or other agencies that provide or declare an interest in providing a public infrastructure service in a public infrastructure service area or a portion of a public infrastructure service area within a growth area, as established in a county or multimunicipal comprehensive plan, for the purpose of negotiating agreements for the provision of such services. The county may provide or contract with others to provide technical assistance, mediation or dispute resolution services in order to assist the parties in negotiating such agreements.

Section 1105. Legal Effect.

(a) Where municipalities have adopted a county plan or a multimunicipal plan is adopted under this article and the participating municipalities have conformed their local plans and ordinances to the county or multimunicipal plan by implementing cooperative agreements and adopting appropriate resolutions and ordinances, the following shall apply:

(1) Sections 916.1 and 1006-A.

(2) State agencies shall consider and may rely upon comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances when reviewing applications for the funding or permitting of infrastructure or facilities.

(3) State agencies shall consider and may give priority consideration to applications for financial or technical assistance for projects consistent with the county or multimunicipal plan.

(b) Participating municipalities that have entered into implementation agreements to carry out a county or multimunicipal plan as described in this article shall have the following additional powers:

(1) To provide by cooperative agreement for the sharing of tax revenues and fees by municipalities within the region of the plan.

(2) To adopt a transfer of development rights program by adoption of an ordinance applicable to the region of the plan so as to enable development rights to be transferred from rural resource areas in any municipality within the plan to designated growth areas in any municipality within the plan.

(c) Nothing in this article shall be construed to authorize a municipality to regulate the allocation or withdrawal of water resources by a municipal authority or water company that is otherwise regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission or other Federal or State agencies or statutes.

(d) Except as provided in section 619.2, nothing in this article shall be construed as limiting the authority of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission over the implementation, location, construction and maintenance of public utility facilities and the rendering of public utility services to the public.

Section 1106. Specific Plans.

(a) Participating municipalities shall have authority to adopt a specific plan for the systematic implementation of a county or multimunicipal comprehensive plan for any nonresidential part of the area covered by the plan. Such specific plan shall include a text and a diagram or diagrams and implementing ordinances which specify all of the following in detail:

(1) The distribution, location, extent of area and standards for land uses and facilities, including design of sewage, water, drainage and other essential facilities needed to support the land uses.

(2) The location, classification and design of all transportation facilities, including, but not limited to, streets and roads needed to serve the land uses described in the specific plan.

(3) Standards for population density, land coverage, building intensity and supporting services, including utilities.

(4) Standards for the preservation, conservation, development and use of natural resources, including the protection of significant open spaces, resource lands and agricultural lands within or adjacent to the area covered by the specific plan.

(5) A program of implementation including regulations, financing of the capital improvements and provisions for repealing or amending the specific plan. Regulations may include zoning, storm water, subdivision and land development, highway access and any other provisions for which municipalities are authorized by law to enact. The regulations may be amended into the county or municipal ordinances or adopted as separate ordinances. If enacted as separate ordinances for the area covered by the specific plan, the ordinances shall repeal and replace any county or municipal ordinances in effect within the area covered by the specific plan and ordinances shall conform to the provisions of the specific plan.

(b) (1) No specific plan may be adopted or amended unless the proposed plan or amendment is consistent with an adopted county or multi-municipal comprehensive plan.

(2) No capital project by any municipal authority or municipality shall be approved or undertaken, and no final plan, development plan or plat for any subdivision or development of land shall be approved unless such projects, plans or plats are consistent with the adopted specific plan.

(c) In adopting or amending a specific plan, a county and participating municipalities shall use the same procedures as provided in this article for adopting comprehensive plans and ordinances.

(d) Whenever a specific plan has been adopted, applicants for subdivision or land development approval shall be required to submit only a final plan as provided in Article V, provided that such final plan is consistent with and implements the adopted specific plan.

(e) A county or counties and participating municipalities are prohibited from assessing subdivision and land development applicants for the cost of the specific plan.

Section 1107. Saving Clause.

(a) The passage of this act and the repeal by it of any prior enabling laws relating to regional planning shall not invalidate any regional planning commission created under such other laws. This act, in such respect, shall be deemed a continuation and codification of such prior enabling laws.

(b) The amendment of this article shall not invalidate any joint municipal planning commission established under the former provisions of this article. A joint municipal planning commission shall continue to function under the amended provisions of this article.

Table of Contents

  • Article I General Provisions (click here)
  • Article II Planning Agencies (click here)
  • Article III Comprehensive Plan (click here)
  • Article IV Official Map (click here)
  • Article V Subdivision and Land Development (click here)
  • Article V-A Municipal Capital Improvement (click here)
  • Article VI Zoning (click here)
  • Article VII Planned Residential Development (click here)
  • Article VII-A Traditional Neighborhood Development (click here)
  • Article VIII Zoning Challenges; General Provisions (click here)
  • Article VIII-A Joint Municipal Zoning (click here)
  • Article IX Zoning Hearing Board and other Administrative Proceedings (click here)
  • Article X Appeals (click here)
  • Article X-A Appeals to Court (click here)
  • Article XI Intergovernmental Cooperative Planning and Implementation Agreements (click here)
  • Article XI-A Joint Municipal Zoning (click here)
  • Article XII Repeals (click here)


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