TCRPC News


 Pennsylvania keystone logo

September 18, 2018

Get ready for THE Uniform Construction Code update

For the first time since 2009, Pennsylvania is updating its Uniform Construction Code (UCC).

The changes will take effect October 1, 2018. Beginning April 1, 2019, all permit applications submitted for new buildings or major renovations must be reviewed using the new UCC.

Based on an amended edition of the International Code Council’s 2015 model code, the updated UCC covers commercial and residential construction. It includes changes to energy, fire safety, insulation and building material standards.

These changes will not only impact builders, they will affect how municipalities administer the code when issuing building permits and compliance certificates. By extension, the new codes will also affect housing costs, zoning, existing structure improvements and property maintenance.

To help prepare for these changes, several organizations are hosting seminars and webinars, including the following in the Tri-County region:

  • Pennsylvania Building Officials Conference (PENNBOC): 2018 Conference & Trade Show, September 26-28, Holiday Inn, Grantville. Click here for info & registration.

  • Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Harrisburg: 2018 Pennsylvania Alternative Residential Energy Provisions, Blower Doors and Whole House Mechanical Ventilation, November 20, 4-6 PM, 2416 Park Drive, Harrisburg. Presentation by Chris Hine and Sarah Lowe of Pennsylvania Housing Research Center. Contact: Robert J Price, Membership Services Director, Bob@HarrisburgBuilders.com, 717-232-5595, ext. 102.

  • PA Construction Codes Academy (PCCA): Building Code Official Update, February 27, 8 AM-4 PM, Radisson Hotel, 1150 Camp Hill Bypass, Camp Hill. Click here for info and registration.

  • Pennsylvania Housing Research Center (PHRC): The PHRC website lists several free, past and future webinars on topics related to the new code, including: “PA Residential Code Update Overview,” “Residential Energy Code Update,” “Residential Deck Design & Safety,” “Whole House Mechanical Ventilation,” and “Blower Doors for Builders.” Go here to view them.


 LTAP logo

September 11, 2018

LTAP Workshop: “Drainage: The Key to Roads That Last”

PennDOT’s Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) will host a workshop on roadway drainage from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mon., Sept. 24 at the Cumberland County PSATS Education Center, 4855 Woodland Dr., Enola.

“Drainage: The Key to Roads That Last” will review drainage systems, industry standards, regulations, permits, inspections, planning and federal disaster aid.

Register here


 Click to take survey

Click to take survey

August 28, 2018

Perry COUNTY Launches Hazard Mitigation Survey

The Perry County Planning Commission and Emergency Management Agency are currently updating the county's Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan (MHMP).

This countywide, multi-jurisdictional plan was created in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to comply with the federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000.

The purpose of the MHMP is to reduce or eliminate long-term risks to life and property that result from natural or man-made hazards such as severe weather, drought, flooding, transportation accidents, etc.

Because public input is paramount, we are asking county residents, landowners and business owners to fill out this short survey to determine if we should consider changes to the hazards currently listed in the plan.

The update must be authorized by the county, local municipalities, PEMA and FEMA to maintain our eligibility for federal funds that allow us to implement the hazard mitigation measures identified in the plan.


July 19, 2018

 Click to view or download

Click to view or download

TRI-COUNTY REGION SAW SLIGHT DECLINE IN RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY, INCREASE IN INDUSTRIAL PERMITS IN 2017

Tri-County Regional Planning Commission’s 2017 Building Activity Report shows that there was a slight decline in residential and commercial activity in the region since 2016, but an increase in industrial permits, both in number and value.

The annual report, released today, focuses on building permit activity for residential, commercial and industrial development in Dauphin, Perry and Cumberland counties, providing an analytical tool for the area and meeting the objectives of TCRPC’s Regional Growth Management Plan.

According to the report, the region had 1,667 new residential units in 2017, down from 1,780 units constructed in 2016. Dwelling units in Perry County, however, increased 35 percent in 2017, with a rise in single family home permits.

“As in previous years, the area’s residential growth is mostly happening in the first-ring suburbs with smaller infill development. This continues to reflect the national trend of residents preferring to live on smaller lots that are close to amenities and services,” TCRPC Executive Director Steve Deck said.

New commercial development also dropped in 2017. Across the region, 113 permits for new commercial facilities were issued in 2017, compared to 132 in 2016. However, the value of commercial sector improvements and expansions was mixed. In Dauphin County, permit value rose from $78.3 million in 2016 to $132.3 million in 2017, a 69 percent increase.

In the industrial sector, there was an increase in both new, improvement and expansion permits. There was also a corresponding increase in the value of permits in their respective categories.

“Overall, the figures in this report demonstrate a continued pattern of building the local tax-base and providing new job opportunities. If the inner-ring suburbs continue to grow out, it will be crucial to link the region’s transportation options with land use regulations to ensure our desired built environment is achieved and is accessible to all, as recommended in TCRPC’s Regional Growth Management Plan,” Deck said.

While Cumberland County is no longer affiliated with TCRPC’s regional planning program, it remains part of the transportation planning program and the Harrisburg Area Transportation Study.

“In order to include Cumberland County fully in the regional transportation planning program, it must also be considered in TCRPC’s regional land use planning efforts and included in its assessment of building permit activity in the region,” Deck said.


July 13, 2018

TCRPC Expands 2019 Sponsorships

TCPRC has expanded its sponsorship opportunities for 2019!

Our Prime Sponsorships now allow your organization to support ALL of our events and publications throughout the entire year, including:

Our ANNUAL LUNCHEON, a great opportunity for elected leaders, municipal officials, planners, developers, engineers and others to dine together, network and discuss the region’s future.Our EDUCATION & TRAINING programs, offering multiple ways to expand your knowledge and earn professional continuing education credits.Our PREMIER PROJECT AWARDS, which recognize planning excellence in Dauphin County.Our now-quarterly TCRPC NEWSLETTER, featuring news and updates about our diverse projects, education and training programs, upcoming events and much more.

Go here for details and use our new, easy-to-use sponsorship form.


July 13, 2018

HATS INVITES PUBLIC TO SHARE IDEAS, CONCERNS ABOUT REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN UPDATE

HARRISBURG, PA – The Harrisburg Area Transportation Study (HATS), the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties, is inviting the public to weigh in on its update of the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).

The RTP documents the current status of the region’s transportation projects and programs, identifies long-term needs and recommends projects to meet those needs. It also sets a framework and priorities for the expenditure of federal transportation funds.

The draft RTP can be viewed at www.hatsregionaltransportationplan.org. The website uses online mapping technology that allows users to view the area’s transportation needs at the regional scale or zoom in to examine specific neighborhoods. Visitors to the site can comment on the plan or fill out an online form to report a transportation need or problem. Hard copies can be provided upon request.

“The RTP covers 103 municipalities in three counties, which is about 1,700 square miles,” said Steve Deck, executive director of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC), lead agency for HATS. “With such a large region, public input is critical to the RTP so local transportation needs can be identified, prioritized and addressed. We look forward to hearing from folks who want to share their ideas or concerns.”

TCRPC began updating the RTP in 2017. HATS staff, with assistance from seven advisory groups comprised of local stakeholders and experts, reviewed the region’s current transportation system and developed key recommendations to address its long-term needs. Each group has a specific focus, including: safety and congestion; freight; asset management; environment; alternative modes (bicycle, pedestrian, transit); mobility and accessibility (disabled and elderly); and growth and development (land use).

HATS will continue to coordinate with these groups through the plan’s adoption in December and its implementation, Deck said.


July 12, 2018

HOME BUILDERS TO HOST TRAINING ON PA'S UPCOMING BUILDING CODE UPDATE

The Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Harrisburg will host a training session on PA's upcoming building code update on Wednesday, July 18 from 4 to 7 PM at its education facility, 2416 Park Dr., Harrisburg.

PA Housing Research Center, part of Penn State's College of Engineering, will present a code update overview at 4 PM and 2015 IRC Highlights at 5:15 PM.

Registration info can be found here.


June 1

 Susquehanna Township logo

Susquehanna Township to host open house on comp plan, encourages residents to take online survey

Susquehanna Township residents are encouraged to attend an open house at Fort Hunter Mansion and Park, 5300 N. Front St., on Wednesday, June 13 to help the township plan its future over the next decade.

The family-friendly event will seek input from residents about the township’s 10-year comprehensive plan, "Sustainable Susquehanna 2030."

The open house, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m., will feature a food truck, dessert, lawn games and more. The first 50 adult attendees will receive a $10 food truck voucher.

Residents can also make their voices heard by taking an online survey about the comprehensive plan. Respondents will have a chance to win a $50 gift card.

Help shape Susquehanna Township’s future by taking the survey and coming out to its next open house!


May 30

 Perry County Planning Coordinator Jason Finnerty, far left, and TCRPC Planner Alexa Korber attended the May 24 Return on Environment meeting

Perry County Planning Coordinator Jason Finnerty, far left, and TCRPC Planner Alexa Korber attended the May 24 Return on Environment meeting

PERRY COUNTY HOLDS RETURN ON ENVIRONMENT INFORMATIONAL MEETING

The Keystone Conservation Trust, in partnership with the Kittatinny Ridge Coalition and Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, held the first informational meeting for a Return on Environment (ROE) study in Perry County on Thur., May 24.

ROE studies seek to put a dollar value on services provided by natural features and open spaces.

Perry County will be the third county in the Harrisburg Area Metropolitan Area, and the eighth in PA, to have an ROE report.

The next ROE meeting will be held Thur., June 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (location to be determined). For info, email Alexa Korber at phone 717-234-2639.


May 25

HATS REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN WEBSITE NOW LIVE

The Harrisburg Area Transportation Study (HATS), the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties, is currently developing an update on the Regional Transportation Plan.

The RTP documents the current status of the region’s transportation projects and programs, identifies long-term needs and recommends projects to meet those needs. It also sets a framework and priorities for the expenditure of federal transportation funds over a 25-year period.

As part of the RTP’s outreach effort, we invite you to participate in the process by visiting the RTP website and telling us what you think.

Another way you can participate is to fill out the Transportation Problem Description Form and return it to us.

ABOUT RTP 2040

In addition to Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties and their 103 municipalities, HATS works with federal, state and local agencies and officials from throughout South-Central Pennsylvania, including the City of Harrisburg and Capital Area Transit, to meet the transportation needs of an area covering nearly 1,700 square miles.

In 2017, HATS’ lead staff agency, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, began updating the RTP with an all-new, dynamic approach. HATS staff, with assistance from seven advisory groups comprised of various local stakeholders and experts, reviewed the region’s current transportation system and developed key recommendations to address its long-term needs.

Each group had a specific focus, including: safety and congestion; freight; asset management; environment; alternative modes (bicycle, pedestrian, transit); mobility and accessibility (disabled and elderly); and growth and development (land use). HATS will continue to coordinate with these groups through the implementation of the plan.

HATS’ Coordinating Committee anticipates adopting the updated RTP at its December 14, 2018 meeting.

THE RTP 2040 WEBSITE

The RTP website -- currently a work in progress -- will serve as the actual planning document. It presents a wealth of information about the region’s current and future transportation efforts, including the following:

  • the RTP’s vision, goals and objectives;

  • the importance of emerging technologies;

  • safety and congestion management;

  • mobility and accessibility;

  • moving people and goods;

  • bicycling and pedestrian issues;

  • public transit, rail and air travel;

  • land use considerations;

  • multimodal transportation;

  • project funding; and

  • environmental resources and mitigation.

The site also features a section on the RTP’s performance and progress, as well as a contact page where you can reach out to us with questions or comments about the plan.

We invite your active engagement in the RTP process.


 Click for meeting flyer

Click for meeting flyer

May 25

Public Meeting SLATED FOR Routes 39/743 Corridor Study

The Dauphin County Commissioners will host a public meeting for the Routes 39/743 Corridor Study on Tuesday, June 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the S. Hanover Township municipal building, 161 Patriot Way.

Input is sought on the study, which covers existing and future land use opportunities and transportation improvements. It's being conducted by Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc.

The corridor runs from Front Street in Susquehanna Township through Lower Paxton and West Hanover townships to South Hanover.

Route 743 through E. Hanover Township will also be studied as part of the local transportation network.


 HATS logo

May 8

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD for DRAFT 2019 TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM NOW OPEN

Click here to view the draft materials.

All comments must be submitted in writing to Casey Baxendale via email or mailed to the TCRPC office by Thursday, June 7 at 4 p.m.


May 7

Food Drive AT TCRPC ANNUAL LUNCHEON a Success

 Thanks to everyone who donated to the food drive benefiting the Central PA Food Bank at our annual luncheon on May 3. You brought 168 pounds of food -- enough to put 140 meals on local families' tables!

Thanks to everyone who donated to the food drive benefiting the Central PA Food Bank at our annual luncheon on May 3. You brought 168 pounds of food -- enough to put 140 meals on local families' tables!


 Dr. Robert Bullard

Dr. Robert Bullard

February 15

"Father of Environmental Justice" to speak in Harrisburg

TCRPC is proud to serve as gold sponsor for an upcoming local appearance by Dr. Robert D. Bullard, the "father of environmental justice."

Bullard will offer a presentation called "The Quest for Environmental & Climate Justice: Why Equity Matters" at 7:30 p.m. on Wed., March 14 at Gamut Theatre, 15 N. 4th St., Harrisburg.

The event is part of Temple University Harrisburg's program "Social Justice Innovators: The Value of a Healthy Community," and is presented in partnership with the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg.

Bullard is Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University. He is the author of 18 books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth and regional equity. In 2014, the Sierra Club named its new Environmental Justice Award after him.

For tickets, visit harrisburg.temple.edu/speakers.


January 30

 Keynote speaker Matt Smith

Keynote speaker Matt Smith

SAVE THE DATE: KEYNOTE SPEAKER ANNOUNCED FOR 2018 ANNUAL LUNCHEON

Our 2018 Luncheon will take place Thursday, May 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel in Swatara Township.

As always, the 2018 luncheon will be a great opportunity for elected leaders, municipal officials, planners, developers, engineers and others to dine together, network and discuss the region’s future.

Our keynote speaker will be Matt Smith, a national expert on automated and “connected” vehicles, who will preview what local governments and communities can expect when driverless cars and trucks take to the roads in the near future, including potential impacts on infrastructure and budgets. Smith manages Michael Baker International’s connected and automated vehicle program in Detroit, working on advanced transportation technology solutions for state and local agencies across the country. A 1993 Penn State graduate, he has 23 years’ experience in traffic engineering and intelligent transportation systems, including running Michigan’s automated vehicle program.

Reservations will be accepted as the day gets closer, so watch this page as well as our social media for an announcement. Also, if you don't already subscribe to our e-newsletter, click here.


 DCNR logo

January 22

DCNR accepting applications for recreation & conservation grants through April 11

The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will accept applications through April 11 for its recreation and conservation grants program. DCNR provides technical and grant assistance to support community projects that help plan, acquire and develop parks, recreation facilities and trails, and conserve critical conservation areas and watersheds.

The grant program is administered by DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, which works to assure that connections between natural resource conservation and community revitalization -- as well as between PA citizens and the outdoors -- are realized.

Detailed program information, recorded webinars and access to the online grant application portal can be found here.


 American Planning Association logo

January 12, 2018

REGISTER NOW FOR PMPEI Course in Zoning Administration

Tri-County Regional Planning Commission will offer a Zoning Administration course in March 2018 in partnership with the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Education Institute.

The course will take place 6 to 9:30 p.m. on three consecutive Thursdays, March 15, 22 & 29, at the Swatara Township Building, 599 Eisenhower Blvd., Harrisburg, PA 17111.

In this course, zoning hearing board members, zoning officials, and elected officials—regardless of experience—learn the basic principles, procedures, and information needed to effectively carry out their functions in the administration of municipal zoning. The course covers the technical aspects of zoning and how to build effective relationships with the public. Hands-on experiences and practice exercises are built into each session. Participants learn how to conduct effective and fair zoning hearings in a mock zoning hearing session.

Course topics include the principles of zoning, key zoning terms, the zoning administration team, zoning officer duties, enforcement notices, and zoning hearing procedures, variances, special exceptions/conditional uses, and nonconformities.

COST: $35 for the entire course.

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS are available for engineers, land surveyors, geologists, attorneys, registered landscape architects and UCC officials.

NOTE: Attendance at all three sessions is required for completion of the course.


 Premier Project Award logo

January 9, 2018

DAUPHIN COUNTY PRESENTS 6TH ANNUAL PREMIER PROJECT AWARDS

The Dauphin County Commissioners and Planning Commission today presented the sixth annual Premier Project Awards during a luncheon ceremony at the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.

The awards program acknowledges and encourages planning excellence in Dauphin County, recognizing projects that meet the community, environmental and economic goals of the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

Individuals, organizations, municipalities, public authorities, developers and public/private partnerships were asked to submit projects within Dauphin County for which they were principally involved in design, development or implementation.

The 2017 award winners include the following categories and projects:

  • Growing Our Communities: Tri County Community Action, for its project “Heart of the Hill - An Action Plan to Unite South Allison Hill”;

  • Growing Our Economy: Derry Township, for its “Park Boulevard Relocation Project”;

  • Growing Within Our Environment: H. Edward Black and Associates, Ltd., for its “Dauphin County Heroes Grove” project in Lower Paxton Township;

  • Small Project Award: Derry Township, for its “2017 Zoning Ordinance”; and

  • The Timothy P. Reardon Excellence in Planning Award: RGS Associates, Inc., for Phase 1 of its “Fort Hunter Park Master Plan Implementation” project.

 At the sixth annual Dauphin County Premiere Project Awards luncheon on January 9, RGS Associates, Inc. received the first Timothy P. Reardon Excellence in Planning Award for Phase 1 of its "Fort Hunter Park Master Plan Implementation" project. From left are Chad Gladfelter, Dauphin County Parks & Recreation Director Carl Dickson, John Hershey, Matthew Bonanno, TCRPC Executive Director Steve Deck.

At the sixth annual Dauphin County Premiere Project Awards luncheon on January 9, RGS Associates, Inc. received the first Timothy P. Reardon Excellence in Planning Award for Phase 1 of its "Fort Hunter Park Master Plan Implementation" project. From left are Chad Gladfelter, Dauphin County Parks & Recreation Director Carl Dickson, John Hershey, Matthew Bonanno, TCRPC Executive Director Steve Deck.

Steve Deck, executive director of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, said this year’s categories reflect the recent adoption of the Dauphin County Comprehensive Plan. “The plan establishes an overall vision for the future of the county, setting our direction and identifying our goals. And the winners of this year’s awards demonstrate how Dauphin County’s planners, local governments and businesses are helping to make it happen,” Deck said.

This year’s program also featured the first Timothy P. Reardon Excellence in Planning Award, a “best overall project” designation named for TCRPC’s former executive director, who retired in December after 34 years with the commission.

The competition’s judges, representing a variety of planners, engineers and local governments from throughout Dauphin County, praised this year’s 12 entries for their vision, innovation, public involvement, government cooperation, and sensitivity to the area’s history and environment.

The five winners of this year’s Premier Project Awards bring to 27 the total number of awards presented since the program began in 2011.

The event was sponsored by Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc., and Smith Land & Improvement Corporation.

To see highlights from the 2017 Premier Project Awards and learn more about the program, go here.