*Update from January 30th public input meeting: County administrator Dennis Marshall said the consideration for Indian Land to incorporate will be removed from the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. Marshall shared that it will not be the county’s role and that they will stay neutral on the subject.
The latest version of The Lancaster 2040 Comprehensive Plan has been released with the opportunity to provide feedback in upcoming public input meetings (see below).
Included in the plan is the suggestion that Indian Land be incorporated as a way to address the Panhandle’s demand on infrastructure, public safety, and schools. The plan also suggests Indian Land create its own unique branding and identity.
The plan has been in the works since 2021 and is desperately needed in our area. It provides a long-range strategic vision and direction to guide how Lancaster County grows and develops in the future. The last Comprehensive Plan for the County was created in 2014 and runs until the end of this year.
“After two years, dozens of meetings, information sessions, and more than 2,000 survey responses, the Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan update is in the final review stage,” said Allison Hardin, Development Services Director for Lancaster County. “The Comprehensive Plan guides all aspects of growth and development within the county and is based on input from County residents and business owners.”
What is a comprehensive plan? Once approved, this master plan will be used as a foundational document to inform land use and development ordinances and regulations and will serve to guide and facilitate growth. Comprehensive plans are an essential feature of long-term planning for cities and counties all over the United States.
The Lancaster 2040 Comprehensive Plan focuses on developing recommendations for the distinct geographic regions of the county: the Panhandle, Greater Lancaster, Southern Lancaster, and the county as a whole.
What is in the plan? It recognizes the disproportionate growth in the Panhandle compared to the rest of the county. It also recognizes there are deficits in a number of areas (namely transportation, school capacity, emergency medical services, and law enforcement) that are not meeting the existing levels of demand placed on them.
The plan features a section called the Panhandle Planning Area which focuses on addressing these issues by focusing on growth management, improving mobility and connectivity, addressing service deficiencies, and adding urban amenities.
Housing Boom: As of November 2023 there are 3,200 single-family subdivision lots and 2,160 multi-family dwelling units that have been approved and are pending development. These homes are expected to bring another 13,000+ new residents.
Schools: The County has developed impact fees for schools, required transportation impact assessments, and increased bonds for schools. Yet, based on the most recent projected school capacity developed by the Lancaster County School District, almost all of the schools in the
Panhandle will be over capacity by 2030.
Of note, the school district recently purchased land specifically for future schools off Harrisburg Road and Pettus Road.
Transportation: The plan highlights the limit of cross movements from US-521 saying, “There is not a single route that connects directly east-west across the Panhandle, and there is also no parallel route to US-521.” One of the actions they suggest is to study the feasibility of extending the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) express bus service to the Panhandle.
Possible incorporation: A suggested action in the plan for the County to be proactive in its efforts to provide adequate services in the region is to “Consider developing a measured and intentional plan to help facilitate the transition of the urbanized area of the Panhandle into an incorporated municipality.”
Urban Amenities: The plan recommends developing a community-focused civic gathering space as well as developing a campaign to create branding and identity for Indian Land.
Public Input Meetings
Don’t miss your chance to provide your feedback. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the draft plan and provide comments at this final public meeting. The draft is available for review here.