Lehigh Valley Planning Commission Publications and Information

The following are various publications that have been published by the LVPC staff. Because of the size of most of these reports they have been broken into several pdf files. To get the maximum size the files will open in the full window of your browser. To return to this page, you will have to either close the new window that appears or hit the back button, depending on the browser being used.


Annual Report - 2012

The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission is pleased to present our annual report. The annual report documents our activities during the past year and identifies the work we hope to complete this year.

Aerial Photo Review Information

The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has historical aerials available for viewing.

An Affordable Housing Assessment of the Lehigh Valley - adopted April 4, 2007

The Lehigh Valley is home to over 235,000 households. New housing development has
contributed to the robust economy of the region where 17,000 new residential units were
approved between 2001 and 2005. Many residents are new to the area, finding the
housing very affordable when compared to where they are relocating from – New Jersey,
New York and Philadelphia. But this scenario is developing at a cost to many in the
region who find it difficult to secure affordable housing.
 

Access Management on Arterial Roads - December 2000

Access Management on Arterial Roads explores how we can create a better transportation network through planning, coordination and design. Access management is a means of preserving capacity and improving safety on those roads that carry through traffic by regulating access points and driveways. The report illustrates that numerous best management practices are available to implement access management. They deal with access from alternate roads, lotting and site development, driveway location and design, and arterial road design. These practices can be implemented through zoning ordinance and subdivision and land development ordinance provisions. They can also implement the recommendations of plans like corridor studies and neighborhood circulation/access plans. Actions for improving access management are spelled out in a series of recommendations in the report.


Better Densities, Better Communities (June 2009)

The housing densities recommended by the Comprehensive Plan The Lehigh Valley … 2030 help reduce sprawl by using land more efficiently, save money through efficient use of infrastructure and support transit service among other benefits. Higher densities are sometimes controversial. Better Densities, Better Communities showcases recently built developments with densities consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. This report includes photographs and information about nine example developments The examples include single family detached homes, garden apartments, townhouses, condominiums and twins. They come from cities, boroughs and townships in both Lehigh and Northampton Counties (one example is from neighboring Bucks County). While none of these developments are paragons of Smart Growth, they all demonstrate that it is possible to create attractive, diverse and prosperous communities at densities higher than the usual range.

Digital Geographic Data Disc - Release 4.5 Overview (Release March 2012)

This data disc was prepared by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and is an update from the prior Data Disc Release version 4.4.

Hazard Mitigation Plan Lehigh Valley, PA - July 2006

Natural disasters can strike anywhere, anytime. A disaster can come in many forms including floods, earthquakes, winter storms and tornadoes, among others. The result of these disasters has been the loss of homes, property, communities, jobs, and in some cases, lives. According to the National Weather Service, the average annual number of fatalities in the United States due to severe weather between 1994 and 2003 was 514. Severe weather includes floods, tornadoes, lightning, hurricanes, heat, cold and winter storms. The average annual severe weather damage costs over the same time period were approximately $12 billion. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that 90% of all natural disasters in the United States involve flooding and about 100 people on average are killed each year by flooding. The focus of this report is on reducing damage from a natural disaster in the Lehigh Valley.

Hazard Mitigation Plan Lehigh Valley, PA - Annual Report 2008

The Hazard Mitigation Plan Lehigh Valley, PA provides for continuous monitoring, evaluating, and updating on annual and five year cycles to ensure the plan remains an active and relevant document. This report serves as the first annual report since FEMA approval of the plan in 2007. The purpose of the annual report is to monitor the progress of the actions and projects listed in the plan, to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan, and to update data, mapping and analyses if new information is available.

Housing in the Lehigh Valley 2008

Housing in the Lehigh Valley 2008 is the first in a new series of annual housing market studies. The report looks at the sale price of each of the 6,934 homes sold in Lehigh and Northampton Counties in 2008 and analyzes this information to draw conclusions about housing affordability. The report also includes information from the federal Housing Price Index and data on residential vacancy.

Land Use Public Opinion Survey 2010 Results and Analysis

The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) has learned that one of the best ways to find out what people are thinking about life in the area is to conduct an attitude survey of a sizeable number — 4,500 to 5,000 — of Lehigh Valley residents. This method, involving a mail-out mail-back survey, was used successfully by the Commission in 1974, 1988 and 1999. All of these public opinion surveys were conducted in conjunction with updates to the Comprehensive Plan for Lehigh and Northampton Counties. Our last opinion survey was done 11 years ago. We decided it was time to see if opinions on a number of questions relating to land use and growth had changed during the past decade. This report identifies the results of the 2010 opinion survey and provides an analysis of the findings.

 

Lehigh Valley Greenways Plan - adopted May 24, 2007

The Lehigh Valley Greenways Plan begins with the understanding that there are many valuable cultural and natural resources worthy of discovery and preservation throughout Lehigh and Northampton counties. This two-county region can be seen as an intricate fabric of interconnected threads. Each thread represents a resource that is woven together to create the composite community fabric that surrounds us. The fabric of the Lehigh Valley is made up of rivers and streams and the industry they supported, wooded ridgelines and fertile agricultural valleys, a rich historic and cultural heritage, and a diverse population that is increasing with each passing year.

Lehigh Valley Profile & Trends - 2013

This report provides a compilation of statistics and graphics which summarize existing conditions and past and projected trends in the “Lehigh Valley” (Lehigh and Northampton counties). It is designed for use by planners, public officials, private organizations and individuals interested in growth and development in the Lehigh Valley.

Lehigh Valley Regional Action Plan

In recent years the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has taken a strong interest in integrating land use, transportation, economic development and conservation policies and actions throughout the state. This interest has taken shape in the form of a number of state-level initiatives focused on identifying conflicts among planning partners involved in these areas and making recommendations for improved coordination. Most recently, the Commonwealth has initiated the "Land Use, Transportation and Economic Development" (LUTED) program as its current integration effort. As part of this program, ten regions throughout the Commonwealth are developing Regional Action Plans that outline ways for state agencies to better integrate their policies and actions to avoid conflicts, streamline procedures and make more efficient use of state resources at the regional level. The Lehigh Valley Regional Action Plan (Regional Action Plan) presented here represents the LUTED plan for the Lehigh Valley region.

Lehigh Valley Trails Inventory

This 2013 update, in addition to incorporating updated trail information, includes two new components: identifying priority trail gaps and providing guidelines to designing safe road crossings for trails. These two new components are part of a statewide effort by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to help organizations and municipalities to implement trail initiatives.  There is a lot of interest in trails in the Lehigh Valley, and hopefully this compilation of current trail efforts will provide municipalities, counties, and conservation partners a tool in advancing the development of the Lehigh Valley trail network.

For a larger version of the map and table (24 x 36), please contact our office to purchase for $10.00, plus tax and shipping.


List of Municipal Officials - 2013

This publication provides information on the municipal officials in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

Maps and Publications

This report contains a list of the most frequently requested maps and publications that are currently available from the LVPC. Some of these publications are out of print but available for review in the LVPC offices.

Municipal Profiles - updated December 2013

This report contains basic land use, assessed valuation, taxation, housing and population data about the Lehigh Valley, Lehigh and Northampton counties and each of the Valley’s 62 municipalities. There are a total of 3 cities, 27 boroughs and 32 townships.
 

Natural Areas Inventory Summary (April 1999)

This Natural Areas Inventory Summary is a synopsis of the complete report A Natural Areas Inventory of Lehigh and Northampton Counties, Pennsylvania. The Natural Areas Inventory was prepared by the staff of the Pennsylvania Science Office of The Nature Conservancy. The summary gives general information on the locations of rare, threatened, and endangered species and of the highest quality natural areas in the Lehigh Valley.

Nazareth Area Multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan - January 2006

Nazareth Area ... 2030 was prepared for the Nazareth Area Council of Governments by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. Following are the files that contain this comprehensive plan.

Northampton County 21st Century Open Space Initiative - Guidelines (February 2005 - Revised May 2012)

This report contains guidelines, project selection criteria, application forms and other information necessary for the implementation of an open space, park and agricultural preservation program in Northampton County.

Nazareth Area Multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan Intermunicipal Cooperative Implementation Agreement - 2007 Annual Report

To track implementation of the Nazareth Area ... 2030 Multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan, the implementation agreement requires the preparation of a yearly report concerning the activities carried out during the previous year pursuant to the agreement. This annual report outlines the activities carried out by the participating municipalities, NAZCOG and the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) during the year 2007. Additionally, this report includes information on 2007 development trends in the participating municipalities. Development information is presented to provide a framework from which one can evaluate the extent to which these municipalities provide for all categories of use within the region.

Nazareth Area Multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan Intermunicipal Cooperative Implementation Agreement - 2008 Annual Report

To track implementation of the Nazareth Area ... 2030 Multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan, the implementation agreement requires the preparation of a yearly report concerning the activities carried out during the previous year pursuant to the agreement. This annual report outlines the activities carried out by the participating municipalities, NAZCOG and the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) during the year 2008. Additionally, this report includes information on 2008 development trends in the participating municipalities. Development information is presented to provide a framework from which one can evaluate the extent to which these municipalities provide for all categories of use within the region.

Nazareth Area Multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan Intermunicipal Cooperative Implementation Agreement - 2009 Annual Report

To track implementation of the Nazareth Area ... 2030 Multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan, the implementation agreement requires the preparation of a yearly report concerning the activities carried out during the previous year pursuant to the agreement. This annual report outlines the activities carried out by the participating municipalities, NAZCOG and the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) during the year 2009. Additionally, this report includes information on 2008 development trends in the participating municipalities. Development information is presented to provide a framework from which one can evaluate the extent to which these municipalities provide for all categories of use within the region.

Northampton County Parks 2010

Northampton County Parks — 2010 updates the work that was included in the 1991 parks plan. The section on background data contains updated population estimates and current information on existing parks and other outdoor recreation sites in Northampton County. The sections on park and open space standards, facility standards, and recommended guidelines for the acquisition of park and open space have been updated and revised as needed.

Parks, Open Space, and Outdoor Recreation Inventory - 2008

This Parks, Open Space, and Outdoor Recreation Inventory provides information on public and private sites throughout Lehigh and Northampton counties. The report includes a bi-county map, summary tables, sites by county and municipality, sites by name, and an updates list.

Sample Regulations for the Processing of Applications for Commercial Communications Towers and Antennae

The purpose of this regulation is to provide a uniform and comprehensive set of standards for the development and installation of new commercial communications towers and antennae. The regulations contained herein are designed to protect and promote public health, safety, and the general welfare of the community while ensuring that new commercial communications towers will be safe and be placed in suitable locations and at the same time not unduly restricting the development of needed telecommunications facilities. These regulations will also help in ensuring that municipal land use regulations are in compliance with the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Saucon Creek TMDL Alternatives Report

The Saucon Creek TMDL report was prepared for the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by the LVPC with assistance from the Lehigh County Conservation District and Lehigh University. A TMDL represents the maximum amount of a specific pollutant that can be discharged to a stream and have that water body attain its designated uses. TMDLs are required for all stream segments that testing has shown to be “impaired”, or not meeting water quality standards. Of the 85.48 miles of stream within the Saucon Creek Watershed, 56.90 miles have been found to be impaired due to sediment. The intent of a Saucon Creek TMDL is to identify a numerical limit on sediment that, if achieved, would ultimately result in the stream attaining its designated uses. The 2011 report provides a discussion on potential sources of the sediment, water quality testing that was performed and sediment modeling results. Based on the data obtained, the report provides three alternatives for developing the Saucon Creek TMDL. Part 2 of the report includes additional analyses of in-stream sediment data collected by Lehigh University from June 2011 through December 2011.  The final TMDL is the responsibility of DEP.


Street Connectivity — Improving the Function and Performance of Your Local Streets

Connectivity is an analysis of the number and variety of connections serving origins such as residential neighborhoods and destinations like schools and shopping areas. Connectivity relates to the number of intersections along a segment of streets and how the entire area is connected to the system. Good street connectivity means providing a variety of ways to get from Point A to B, from using the car to walking. The recommendations in this report are geared toward improving the efficiency of mobility (i.e. ease of movement) and accessibility (i.e. the ability to go from an origin to a desired destination). The benefits of better connectivity go beyond improved mobility and accessibility and can include less traffic congestion, safer streets, municipal cost savings in the provision of services, and reduced need to improve arterial streets.

Subdivision and Building Activity - 2012 - updated May 2013

The LVPC reviews subdivision and land development plans relative to the policies of the County Comprehensive Plan Lehigh Valley … 2030. The subdivision activity report is completed annually to provide a general overview of development activity.

Comparison of Regional Unemployment Rate to Subdivision Activity

The chart compares the regional (Lehigh Valley) unemployment rate and subdivision activity between 1973 and 2012. Locally, there is a strong correlation between the unemployment rate and subdivision activity as subdivision activity is higher during periods of lower regional unemployment.

Subdivision activity locally is also affected by national economic and demographic trends. For example, subdivision activity was at its highest in 1973, the last year of the post World War II economic expansion in the United States. Subdivision activity was low and unemployment higher during the United States recessions of 1973-1975, 1980, 1981-1982, 1990-1991, 2001 and 2007-2009. Subdivision activity was strong in the mid-1980s as the middle and later years of the baby boom generation (born between 1946 and 1964) were starting families and buying homes. The strong subdivision activity in the mid-2000s is representative of Generation X (born between 1965-1982) buying homes.


The Official Map: A Handbook for Preserving and Providing Public Lands and Facilities

In 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), together with other stakeholders, published "The Official Map: A Handbook for Preserving and Providing Public Lands and Facilities." The handbook helps planners and municipalities understand how the Official Map can be used to effectively manage growth, preserve open space, and address transportation needs including highway, bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The handbook includes an inventory of all Pennsylvania municipalities with official maps along with links to their maps and ordinances. The handbook is made available on our website with the permission of PennDOT.


Traditional Neighborhood Development

Traditional Neighborhood Development is an approach to development that can be described as using the best aspects of pre World War II development patterns to create better communities today. TNDs are best known for the use of porches, alleys, gridiron street patterns and distinctive historically based architectural styles. The Planning Commission explored this approach in a 1994 report that explained the background of the TND movement, described TND objectives and characteristics, evaluated their effectiveness and considered its applicability in the Lehigh Valley.

In September 2011, the LVPC approved a new report, Traditional Neighborhood Development A Fresh Look at an Alternate Development Approach. Amply illustrated with photographs from a number of TNDs that have been built in Bucks County, the report demonstrates how the layout and design of TNDs and the design of buildings in the TND can accomplish objectives like:

  • providing a walkable community among other transportation choices,
  • establishing a sense of community,
  • providing for a variety of housing needs and
  • creating development that blends attractively with the existing community.
The report includes a description of the steps involved in the municipal creation of TND provisions.

Transit Oriented Development

Transit Oriented Development, commonly referred to as TOD, has become a much discussed development concept in recent years. Nationwide attention has been focused on TODs as a development concept that can be used to achieve multiple smart growth and sustainable development objectives. TODs have been promoted and built in numerous large metropolitan areas across the country.

The purpose of this report is to introduce the TOD concept to the Lehigh Valley and assess its potential local applicability using rigorous data based analysis. The report assesses the conditions, criteria, and design elements necessary to build TODs that establish an actual connection between transit and development, rather than developments that merely use the term for marketing purposes. The goals and policies contained in the Comprehensive Plan The Lehigh Valley ... 2030 agree with many of the smart growth outcomes that TODs seek to produce.

The report contains a critical assessment of potential Lehigh Valley sites with regard to how each site meets the identified criteria.


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