Jim Pashek was an instructor for the Local Government Academy for a course offered this fall titled “The Role of the Planning Commission in Assuring Community Vitality.” His presentation included a discussion about short-term planning like development reviews and the updating of ordinances. Emerging issues Planning Commissions face include urban farming, mini communication towers, medical marijuana/Seboxone clinics and shale extraction. A representative of the Wilkinsburg Planning Commission added concerns about people renting out rooms in their homes for short duration which may have a negative impact on a residential neighborhood.
Pashek also discussed long term planning responsibilities of the Planning Commission including the importance of comprehensive planning. He recommended that Planning Commissions seriously consider a new model for long term planning recently developed called the Implementable Comprehensive Plan. This process:
- Focuses on real, relevant topics
- Organized the way citizens and elected officials think
- Devises practical and workable recommendations
- Recruits partners and creates capacity
- Gets local ownership and commitment to implement
A new trend in developing ordinances is the desire to address sustainability throughout the zoning and SALDO ordinances. Pashek, in collaboration with planner Richard Grossman, developed a section of a new ordinance for Edgewood Borough called “Urban Sustainability.” This ordinance provides credits for permeable paving, bike racks, buildings designed with sustainability in mind, charging stations for electric cars and other green initiatives.
New illustrations for the Edgewood Borough Zoning Ordinance