The ability of municipalities to regulate Subdivision & Land Development and Zoning in the State of Pennsylvania is authorized by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (PMPC) or (MPC), Act 247 of 1968. By virtue of this Act, municipal governments may adopt regulations to govern Subdivision & Land Development and Zoning in their jurisdictions.
Subdivision & Land Development
A Subdivision is the land use management process by which an applicant creates new lot lines or proposes changes to existing lot lines. This can involve the creation of a new lot from a larger existing lot or it can involve the rearrangement of existing lot lines to achieve a new configuration.
The MPC defines a Subdivision as:
“[T]he division or redivision of a lot, tract or parcel of land by any means into two or more lots, tracts, parcels or other divisions of land including changes in existing lot lines for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of lease, partition by the court for distribution to heirs or devisees, transfer of ownership or building or lot development: Provided however, That the subdivision by lease of land for agricultural purposes into parcels of more than ten acres, not involving any new street or easement of access or any residential dwelling shall be exempted.”
Another type of land use management mechanism is the Land Development. These type of applications involve the construction of public or private improvements on a parcel of land. They can involve both residential and commercial projects.
The MPC defines a Land Development as:
“(1) The improvement of one lot or two or more contiguous lots, tracts or parcels of land for any purpose involving:
(i) a group of two or more residential or nonresidential buildings, whether proposed initially or cumulatively, or a single nonresidential building on a lot or lots regardless of the number of occupants or tenure; or
(ii) the division or allocation of land or space, whether initially or cumulatively, between or among two or more existing or prospective occupants by means of, or for the purpose of streets, common areas, leaseholds, condominiums, building groups or other features.
(2) A subdivision of land.
(3) Development in accordance with Section 503 (1.1).”
For more information see the Subdivision & Land Development page of this website.
For information on yearly statistics of subdivision and land development activity in Wayne County see the Subdivision Activity & Administration section of the Wayne County Planning Commission Annual Report.
Another land use management option that is available to municipalities is zoning. Zoning is a land use management tool that regulates the use of land and structures. A municipality can utilize this tool through the adoption of a zoning ordinance. A zoning ordinance is comprised of two main parts, which are the zoning map and the text of the corresponding regulations. For more information on this topic see the Zoning page of this website.