Land-use webinar series to kick off Jan. 21 with 'official map' session

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A series of Web-based Penn State Extension seminars covering various land-use topics will kick off with a session about using an "official map" to aid in proactively planning for future growth.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar at noon Jan. 21will be Steve Deck, planning consultant with Parson Brinkerhoff, and Matt Neeb, planning director for Chestnuthill Township in Monroe County, Pennsylvania.

An official map is a combined map and ordinance designed to help a municipality implement the elements of an adopted comprehensive plan. The webinar will focus on the relationship between an official map and a community's transportation improvements, recreational facilities, open space protection, stormwater infrastructure, and other public services and resources. Participants will hear about lessons learned from a community that currently has an official map.

"An official map is a planning tool that municipalities can use to implement public improvements and manage growth as identified through a comprehensive plan," said Deck. "In addition, the official map shows the locations of planned future public lands and facilities, such as transportation, recreational parks and trails, and open space."

Neeb emphasized that Chestnuthill Township has adopted an official map that reflects the township's interest in improving its municipal transportation network, protecting important natural areas and providing more open space in the township.

"An official map focuses limited financial resources on projects that meet and advance community goals," he said. "It's an effective negotiation tool for municipalities and supports other land-use management tools, such as zoning, by helping to ensure that development is compatible with and supportive of public goals."

The "Using the Official Map for Your Community's Infrastructure" webinar is part of Penn State Extension's winter/spring 2015 Land-Use Webinar Series. Other topics and dates in the series include the following:

-- Feb.18: "Understanding the Relationship between Municipal Budgets and Comprehensive Plans."

-- March 18: "Planning to Protect Your Water Supply."

- -April 15: "All About Open Space -- Owning and Managing Natural Lands."

-- May 20: "Agri-Tourism Issues for Pennsylvania Communities."

All webinars will be offered from noon to 1:15 p.m. either Eastern Standard Time or Eastern Daylight Time.

The cost of the webinar series is $30 for all five webinars or $60 for all five webinars for those who want to receive certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association.

To register, visit Penn State Extension's Economic and Community Development Team website.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or

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Last Updated January 13, 2015