Land-use webinar offered by Penn State Extension on Feb. 20

February 18, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK -- A Web-based seminar focusing on limitations in municipal land-use authority will be offered by Penn State Extension at noon and 7 p.m. Feb. 20.

"How Pre-emption of Zoning and Other Local Controls Impacts Planning" will provide participants with an appreciation of how state laws can impact local land use.

In the one-hour session, attorney Charles Courtney, of McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC, will explain why planners, elected officials and other interested parties should understand how certain statutes can limit municipal land-use authority.

"Although municipalities have broad land-use authority under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, various commonwealth statutes limit that authority in specific areas -- for example the Oil and Gas Act and the Nutrient Management Act," he said.

"Under many of these statutes, the municipality is forbidden to impose any requirement that is inconsistent with the state statute. This pre-emption can be expressly written in the statute, or it can be implied."

Understanding the limitations in local land-use authority will help municipal officials to be better planners, Courtney noted. The webinar, which will be moderated by Neal Fogle, Penn State Extension educator based in Northumberland County, will provide that insight.

The Feb. 20 presentation is part of Extension's Land Use Decision-Making Monthly Webinar Series, which provides information about current planning issues, land use planning tools and techniques, local regulation and community engagement. The sessions are designed to help planners, elected officials and citizens better engage in land use decision-making processes.

Upcoming webinars will cover the following topics:

--March 20: "Renewable Energy Implementation and Land Use Regulations -- Is There Conflict?"

--April 17: "Developing More Effective Citizen Engagement: A How-To Guide for Community Leaders"

--May 15: "Low Impact Development and Smart Growth: How Are They Best Integrated and Utilized in Our Communities?"

A webinar held Jan. 16, "Planning in Pennsylvania: Land Use, Communities and Beyond," was recorded and is available to registered participants for viewing.

Registration cost for the entire webinar series is $25, and registrants can watch as few or as many webinars as they like. For more information, contact Jeff Himes, extension educator based in Tioga County, at 570-724-9120 or, or visit

  • Gas well site

    Commonwealth statutes such as the Oil and Gas Act limit municipal land-use authority.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated February 25, 2013