YORK – The York City Planning Commission has been working on the update of the comprehensive plan and RDG Planning and Design, the company assisting with the process, provided an update of the process before the city council this past week.

Barb Skaden, a member of the planning commission, said the planning commission has been doing a lot of work on updating the city’s strategic plan.

Mayor Barry Redfern explained that the planning commission will have a hearing on the recommended updates/changes and those will be brought to the council for a public hearing as well.

As explained by Amy Haase from RDG, the purpose of updating the comprehensive plan is to create a vision for the city into the future, which will be a guide through growth. It is a strategic document with the context for making key land use and public investment decisions. It is not a rigid land use plan or a capital or operating budget – it is a guide toward zoning ordinances and planning for the future.

The process began with a steering committee, which Haase said was very engaged, which then led to meetings of stakeholder groups who were also very involved. An online survey was conducted and workshops were held. And there have been the sessions with the planning commission.

Reviewed topics have regarding the efficient use of land, the encouragement for green space and redevelopment and the continued effort toward industrial space.

They have also looked at promoting the community’s character, beautification efforts in high visibility corridors and the use of signage to direct visitors to destination locations.

They have also addressed the housing shortage in York – which Haase said is a situation being experienced throughout the Midwest – and they’ve looked at increasing the availability of diverse housing options.

Another aspect that has been considered in the process is increasing traffic flow in the downtown area and identifying catalyst projects – as well as supporting the broad view of economic development, quality of life and community image.

When it comes to transportation, Haase said the goal is to have “good connections and have complete streets, which means there are adjacent sidewalks. There is also the need to look at areas where as they develop there will be a need for collector streets.”

The expansion of the park system, into areas that are new and growing, is important, she said, and there has been discussion about adding zoning for housing in the southern portion of the city to support the workforce in that area.

Once the update process is completed, Haase said it is recommended that it gets an annual review.

“We have a lot of work yet to do, we just wanted to get this information out there as we begin to move forward,” said Mayor Redfern.

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