CRPA Principal Planner Mark Boeckel’s response to Mike Costello’s Sept. 20 email.
Thank you for your email.
I am not aware of any one individual or agency having been tasked by the Centre Region elected officials to cumulatively assess all potential challenges related to the current rate of growth in the Region.
Longer term planning and budgeting to accommodate forecast growth is incorporated into the individual capital improvement programs and budgets of the municipalities and authorities that provide public services in the Region.
The municipalities and authorities communicate on a regular basis with each other to plan for region-wide improvements and often coordinate efforts where practicable. Specific improvements required to serve new development are assessed during the land development review process.
When a new project is proposed, Staff from the Centre Region municipalities, the COG, public service providers, and State agencies (when applicable) attempt to quantify the impacts that individual projects will have on the overall system and identify necessary improvements to address those impacts. While new development can create unforeseen challenges, those charged with reviewing new development proposals attempt to proactively quantify potential impacts and necessary mitigation based on the best information available.
I’d also like to address your comment regarding the Centre Region Comprehensive Plan, the Regional Growth Boundary (RGB), and its relation the current rate of growth in the Centre Region.
The Regional Growth Boundary was first established in the 2000 Centre Region Comprehensive Plan as a growth management tool. The 2013 Comprehensive Plan states that the majority of future growth in the Region should be directed to areas within the boundary. This allows areas outside of the boundary to retain their rural character with lower development densities while ensuring that public services are concentrated within the boundary, avoiding costly extensions to serve unplanned growth.
This boundary was not established with an urban services capacity in mind, but rather as a location where urban services to meet future development would be provided. Much of the area included in the RGB in the 2000 Centre Region Comprehensive Plan was already developed and utilizing urban services or was zoned for such development. The Centre Region elected officials have only approved several minor expansions to the RGB since it was first identified in the 2000 plan.
Other than the period just after World War II, the Centre Region’s population has generally grown at a rate of one to two percent annually. It may be fair to say that the current amount of construction in the Centre Region is unprecedented. Based on available data, the current population growth rate appears to be consistent with historic population growth rates in the Region.
If you have any further questions, please let me know.