CHAMBERSBURG – The Franklin County Commissioners have approved the county’s 10-year comprehensive plan, Imagine Franklin 2035. The plan establishes the county’s official policy guide for short- and long-term decision making relative to growth and land management over the next decade and beyond. Imagine Franklin 2035 is available on the Franklin County website, www.franklincountypa.gov.
Pennsylvania law mandates counties update their comprehensive plans every 10 years. The Franklin County Planning Department, in conjunction with consultant Michael Baker International, led the 16-month update process, which included extensive public outreach and engagement efforts to gather feedback on a variety of topics. That public input, along with a current land use analysis and state and national data sources, helped the planning team develop a comprehensive plan that best meets the needs and desires of all Franklin County stakeholders.
Imagine Franklin 2035 outlines seven prominent focus areas with recommended action plans for each: land use and natural resources; housing; workforce and education; community facilities; strengthening our urban centers; human services; and movement of people/transportation. Each focus area creates, supports or enhances one or more of the comprehensive plan’s three themes: quality of place, quality of life and quality of growth.
“Imagine Franklin 2035 identifies and prioritizes the county’s strategic goals and objectives, creating an easy-to-follow roadmap for the county’s future,” said Franklin County Commissioner Chairman Dave Keller. “This comprehensive plan highlights opportunities for county leaders and other stakeholders to build upon existing assets while outlining a proactive approach to addressing the needs and future challenges our communities and residents could face in the years to come.”
The plan also features a Future Character Area Map, designed to help guide and promote development in areas with sufficient infrastructure while also preserving areas of significant natural resources, prime farmland and protected open space.
“Our county continues to experience tremendous growth and change, and signs indicate that trend will continue into the future,” said Commissioner John Flannery. “It’s up to all of us to preserve what we love about Franklin County while creating thoughtful strategies to accommodate and anticipate the needs of our residents and our communities in the coming decades.”
While many of Imagine Franklin 2035’s recommended actions fall to the county and its departments for implementation, other targeted goals require additional stakeholders to be involved.
“Achieving the Imagine Franklin 2035 recommendations cannot be accomplished in a vacuum,” said Commissioner Bob Ziobrowski. “These goals will require a collaborative effort by the county, local municipal officials, leaders within our economic development and human services sectors, representatives at the regional, state and federal levels, community stakeholders and our residents. By working together, we can use our strengths to achieve the vision we have for Franklin County.”
As part of Imagine Franklin 2035, the planning team also established a 3-Year Implementation Strategy to provide tangible, short-term steps the county and its strategic partners should initiate to achieve the long-range goals outlined in the 10-year plan. Staff will assess the progress of the 3-Year Implementation Strategy and will make necessary course corrections to achieve the county’s goals. As a living document, Imagine Franklin 2035 can evolve as new ideas and influences are identified.