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Huntingdon County Comprehensive Plan

Huntingdon County Comprehensive Plan

The comprehensive plan has been the cornerstone of American planning theory and practice since the early 1900s.  Pennsylvania law requires counties to develop and adopt a comprehensive plan.  It  contains the basic policies that will guide the future growth and development of the community.  The plan is of a general nature, long-range in outlook, and includes all factors affecting growth and development.

  • The comprehensive plan serves three principal functions: 
  • The plan is a statement of goals, a listing of objectives, and a vision of what could be.
  • The plan is an educational tool, helping everyone who uses it understand the conditions, problems, and opportunities of the community through the provision of factual information.

The plan serves as a guide to public and private decision-making, thus, shaping the future of the community.

A comprehensive plan by itself is not a solution to all the problems and concerns of a community.  The value of a well prepared plan, is derived from the process of preparing the plan and the implementation of the plan after it is prepared.  The plan should focus attention on the major issues and concerns of a community and establish a basis for debate, discussion, and conflict resolution.  The plan should never be regarded as a finished project, to be completed every ten years or so, but as a community-based planning process.

The Huntingdon County Comprehensive Plan is made up of several documents, including the following:

Documents and Resources

Multi-County Comprehensive Plan

On July 3, 2018, the Huntingdon County Commissioners adopted the Huntingdon County Comprehensive Plan Update that has been published as part of the plan titled "Alleghenies Ahead:  Shared Strategies for a Stronger Region".   

In 2016, the Multi-County Comprehensive Plan Update successfully received a MAP grant award.  Upon receiving the grant contract from DCED, the Southern Alleghenies Planning Advisory Committee solicited for Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) from consulting firms to assist the region with the plan update.  The RFQ stated a summary of the project:

As a new and innovative planning initiative, SAP&DC and the six County Planning Directors within the region wish to coordinate and consolidate the regional comprehensive planning requirements for the six Southern Alleghenies counties. In order to complete this task, and adopt a more effective and action-oriented comprehensive planning approach that reduces duplication of efforts, strengthens existing partnerships, and better coordinates local planning efforts, SAP&DC in conjunction with the six County Planning Commissions seek to develop a single, Regional Implementable Comprehensive Plan that capitalizes on previous regional planning processes and leverages existing funding opportunities. 

Utilizing the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development’s “Implementable Comprehensive Plan” approach, the Plan will satisfy all existing requirements of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC, Act of 1968 No. 247 as reenacted and amended) as it relates to Comprehensive Plans. To improve measureable impact, the Plan will be driven by the end goal of implementation, and thus organized and prioritized by the region’s most critical challenges. The final deliverable will include one comprehensive, regional action plan, as well as an individual executive summary and action plan for each county.

2015 Update of Comprehensive Plan

In 2015, the County Heritage Plan update was completed and planning began to update the County's Land Use Mapping.  Articles about these two projects are included in the 2015 Annual Report.

2007 Update of Comprehensive Plan

With the help of a Land Use Planning and Technical Assistance Grant, the Huntingdon County Planning Commission has prepared an update of key elements of the Comprehensive Plan.  The Update focuses on updating the land use plan, developing an infrastructure investment strategy, developing a model zoning ordinance and developing an updated zoning ordinance for Huntingdon Borough.  The firm of David Miller Associates assisted the Planning and Development Department staff in developing this update.  The "2007 Supplement" was adopted by the County Commissioners on November 30, 2007.

Model Zoning Ordinance

During the 2007 update to the Comprehensive Plan, a Model Zoning Ordinance was developed for use by local municipalities.  Click the link below to view a copy of the ordinance.

Continuity Through Conservation II

The Comprehensive Plan is Huntingdon County's blueprint for the future, detailing the vision, goals, objectives, policies and plans for the next twenty years.  It is our goal that Huntingdon County achieve economic prosperity while retaining the qualities of rural and small-town living.  The Plan was developed between 1996 and 2000 by a team of consultants and the staff of the Huntingdon County Planning and Development Department.

Adoption and Publication

On April 19, 2000, the Huntingdon County Planning Commission passed a resolution recommending adoption of a new comprehensive plan by the County, Continuity Through Conservation II, Huntingdon County Comprehensive Plan, Phase II.  The Plan was adopted on July 11, 2000 by the County Commissioners.  This Plan has been supplemented by the "Economic Analysis" in 2003 and by the "2007 Supplement" in 2007. 

"Continuity Through Conservation II" was published and distributed during the summer of 2000.  It consists of two volumes, "Phase I, Background Studies" and "Phase II, The Plan."  These reports may be ordered from this web site.  See order form below.


In March 2000, Huntingdon County initiated the implementation phase of the Plan.  This "Huntingdon County Intergovernmental Action Plan" includes adoption of the Plan, publication of the Plan, publication of a Plan Summary, development of a Model Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance and other implementation activities.  All Phase III activities have been completed.

Plan Summary

A summary of the Comprehensive Plan was published and distributed as an insert to local newspapers during the first half of 2001.  The complete summary is available for download or printing

Model Subdivision Ordinance

Planning and Development staff secured the cooperation of twenty-five municipalities in development of a model subdivision and land development ordinance.  These municipalities agreed to make a financial contribution and to participate in ordinance development.  The Model Subdivision Ordinance was completed in the summer of 2001 and has been adopted by eight municipalities.  Presently, 30 out of 48 municipalities have a municipal subdivision ordinance.   The "Huntingdon County Land Development Guide" lists which municipalities have an adopted ordinance.

Southern Alleghenies Greenway and Open Space Plan

Huntingdon County partnered with the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission and member counties to develop this greenway plan.  Development of the Plan was supported financially by both the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Department of Transportation.  As of July 2007 the Plan, titled "Connections in Our Landscapes," was undergoing review and comment by the Huntingdon County Planning Commission prior to its adoption by the Huntingdon County Commissioners and Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission.  This regional greenway plan is designed to preserve key open space corridors and to spur the development of both land and water trails.  The "Greenway and Open Space Network Plan" was adopted by the County Commissioners on November 30, 2007.

Comprehensive Economic Analysis

In response to the County's top planning issue (high unemployment) a Comprehensive Economic Analysis for Huntingdon County has been developed. This study, funded in part through a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was published in February 2003.  It provides a series of implementable activities to improve the economic health of the County.