Land use webinar to focus on the role of Pa. PUC in municipal planning

October 07, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The role of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in municipal land use planning will be the focus of a web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.     

Presenting the 75-minute webinar at noon on Oct.19 will be Peter Wulfhorst, Penn State Extension educator and certified planner, and Kathryn Sophy, deputy chief counsel of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. 

"Who Invited the Pa. PUC to the Planning Party?" will cover how the commission is referenced and involved in the approval of community water and wastewater treatment systems by local municipal governments in subdivisions, land developments and zoning decisions.

"The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ensures that customers of public utility water and wastewater systems receive those services in a safe manner at a reasonable rate," Sophy said. "The PUC conducts administrative hearings pertaining to community water facilities as part of zoning and subdivision/land development municipal approvals."

In addition, she noted, the commission is involved in determining whether a building approval for a PUC-regulated water system is considered an exemption to the local municipal zoning ordinance. Sophy will highlight a few PUC cases that involve this exemption and the associated administrative process.

This webinar also will address the intersection of the state Municipalities Planning Code and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission as it pertains to municipal zoning and subdivision/land development as well as the exemption process of zoning approval of a PUC-regulated water utility building by a local municipality.

This webinar is part of Penn State Extension's Summer/Fall 2016 Land-Use Webinar Series. The last webinar in the series, "Safe Streets for Everyone: Lancaster County's Complete Streets Program and Complete Streets in Southwest Pennsylvania," is slated for Nov. 16.

All of these programs are recorded and available for viewing.

Past recorded webinars in the Summer/Fall 2016 land use webinar series include:

July 20 — “Where It All Goes and Why You Need to Know: Act 537 Sewage Facilities Planning Requirements”

Aug. 17 — "Creating Cool Roof Zones: City Greening and Urban Agriculture for Heat Island Mitigations"

Sept. 19 — “Pennsylvania Demographics: Sources and Trends"

The cost of the webinar series is $40 for all five and $75 for all five for those who want to receive certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association as well as Professional Engineers needing PDH credits. In addition, Registered Landscape Architects can receive continuing education credits for a fee of $45.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at To register for the webinars, visit the website.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 07, 2016