1. Home
  2. Docs
  3. Our Future Lancaster
  4. Comprehensive Planning in...
  5. Regional Planning Context

Regional Planning Context

This Comprehensive Plan recognizes the City’s role as a regional partner, and the importance of planning in tandem with the County and other communities and agencies. Social, economic, and environmental challenges are not bound by municipal borders. Ongoing communication, coordination, and collaboration on matters related to development, municipal services, transportation, and infrastructure are necessary. This provides the added benefit of allowing municipalities to better manage shared resources and minimize duplication of effort. 

This Plan also recognizes Lancaster’s position as the cultural, social, and economic hub of the region, a role established in 1730 when the City was designated the County seat. While this Comprehensive Plan focuses on the elements of policy under Lancaster City control, it carries forward a longstanding and enduring relationship between the City and Lancaster County. The County’s Comprehensive Plan, briefly summarized below, provides the regional context for the City’s Plan. 


In 2018, the County completed its own comprehensive plan update—Places 2040. The County Plan identifies five “Big Ideas,” representing its future priorities:

  • Creating Great Places 
  • Connecting People, Place and Opportunity
  • Taking Care of What We Have 
  • Growing Responsibly
  • Thinking Beyond Boundaries

For each of these Big Ideas, Places 2040 includes a summary of what must be done differently in the future to achieve the countywide vision, including metrics to measure success. The Countywide Plan calls for a direct and sustained effort by all community partners—including Lancaster City. It identifies tools and strategies to move the entire community forward. These tools include simplified zoning, complete streets, strategic investment in infrastructure and public services, alignment of resources with policies, and regional partnerships. Lancaster City’s Comprehensive Plan incorporates these strategies.

The County’s Plan also includes a Future Land Use and Transportation Map, identifying the communities, corridors, and landscapes that County residents said were most important to them. The Map uses a planning tool called “transects” to organize land into zones that reflect the intensity and character of use–from rural to urban. Seven character zones are identified, providing a framework for future zoning. 

Lancaster City’s Future Land Use Plan and Map support implementation of Places2040 at the local level. In particular, the Map aligns with the character zones in the Countywide Plan. It identifies Downtown Lancaster as an urban center (the most intense transect), surrounded by residential and mixed use neighborhoods (suburban and urban transects), park and open space areas (natural preservation and conservation transects), and general commercial/industrial and institutional areas (special districts). The City’s Plan also shares the County Plan’s commitment to create great places, grow more compactly and efficiently, and provide a greater supply and diversity of housing.