There is a common misconception among municipal officials and planners in Pennsylvania, something similar to the following: “The State told us we have to update our comprehensive plan.”
While the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (“MPC”), the Commonwealth’s enabling legislation, certainly permits municipalities to plan and regulate land use and development, the MPC does not require municipalities to either: (i) adopt local comprehensive plans or ordinances; or (ii) revise such plans or ordinances.
But when municipalities choose to prepare and adopt local land use or development plans or ordinances, the MPC sets forth certain procedures, timeframes and contents to which municipalities must adhere or incorporate.
While Section 301(c) of the MPC states “[t]he municipal … comprehensive plan shall be reviewed at least every ten years,” nowhere does the MPC require municipalities to revise local comprehensive plans. [Emphasis added].
Interestingly, while the MPC does not require municipalities to adopt or revise local comprehensive plans, counties on the other hand, are required by the MPC to not only prepare and adopt county comprehensive plans, but also revise such plans.