Planning System 5 Building Community & Capacity

A neighborhood is not based solely on its physical features; a community is a collection of individuals with diverse characteristics that share experiences, create common ties, and engage in joint actions to ensure their collective prosperity. They ultimately shape the physical environment, and are shaped by the physical environment. High quality community health, safety, and welfare are cornerstones that must be provided so that residents can take greater control of their lives and guide City decisions through civic leadership.


Policy BCC – 1.1: Air Quality
Improve indoor and outdoor air quality and take steps to reduce exposure to air pollutants and improve related health outcomes.  Work with surrounding communities, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and relevant authorities to undertake measures that improve air quality, especially in regard to ozone and particulate matter, and other pollutants that threaten public health.

Policy BCC – 1.2: Water Quality

Continue efforts to maintain and improve the health and safety of the water supply and ensure that potable water meets all state and federal standards.  Improve surface water quality through the control of point sources such as industry and wastewater treatment facilities, and non-point sources such as stormwater runoff.

Policy BCC – 1.3: Noise Management
Reduce excessive noise in ways that minimize adverse health impacts. Improve public awareness of the potential impacts of noise, common contributors, and populations that are most vulnerable to noise impacts. Consider acoustics, noise pollution, and noise mitigation in urban design, roadway design, building standards, and the development approval process.  Work with stakeholders (such as community groups, transportation agencies, and landscapers) to identify equitable mitigation and enforcement strategies.  

Action BCC – 1.3A: Noise Ordinance Update
Review and update the Noise Ordinance.  As part of this process, evaluate noise sources, levels, hot spots, issues, and potential measures to reduce noise levels and impacts.  

Policy BCC – 1.4: Hazardous Materials
Support and implement programs that reduce the risk of exposure to hazardous materials.  Provide safe distances between areas where hazardous materials are handled or stored, and sensitive land uses such as schools and residences.  Ensure that previously contaminated sites and larger brownfields are remediated to appropriate levels before they are developed.

Policy BCC – 1.5: Lead Awareness & Mitigation Outside of Homes
Build on the City’s lead remediation efforts by increasing awareness of and mitigation efforts to remove lead from sources beyond the home. Common sources include water lines and urban soils that may have been contaminated with lead paint flakes. Eliminate lead water lines rapidly, and promote urban soil testing, raised beds, and other techniques to limit exposure to lead contamination in soil. 

Policy BCC – 1.6: Pest and Vector Control
Continue to expand the pest and vector control program to further mitigate common insects and vermin. Incorporate emerging best practices as they become available and partner with property owners to improve effectiveness of the program. 


Policy BCC – 2.1: Food Systems Planning
Evaluate the City’s food system to identify access gaps and develop strategies to increase access to healthy food. Assess existing food sources and programs for access to healthy food options. Strategies should consider issues beyond physical proximity and include culturally preferred foods and existing informational resources that connect residents to food assistance. 

Policy BCC – 2.2: Childcare and Youth Programming
Support childcare services, youth programming, and other supportive services, especially for low-income families.  Align zoning and permitting to simplify the process for establishing childcare facilities and ensure the availability of these services throughout the city. 

Policy BCC – 2.3: Populations with Special Needs
Recognize the special needs of certain groups, including older adults and persons with disabilities, in planning and service delivery.  Housing, transportation, recreation, and other programs should work for everyone, regardless of age or ability.  

Action BCC – 2.3A: Age-Friendly Action Plan
Work to accomplish the Age-Friendly Action Plan, completed in December 2021, and the four project focus areas: 1) Access to Services: Communications and Outreach; 2) Purpose & Meaning: Promoting Intergenerational Connections; 3) Housing Creation and Preservation; and 4) Vision Zero and Public Space Design.

Policy BCC – 2.4: Supportive Services
Provide for supportive services and programs in appropriate places throughout the city, as a shared responsibility across quadrants. These include service centers, group homes, residential care facilities, and other facilities that provide a safety net for residents with special needs, including formerly incarcerated residents, veterans, and those in recovery.  Evaluate zoning provisions to ensure adequate service levels, fair housing protections, and proper conditions for operation. (See also Policy EEO-1.8)

Policy BCC – 2.5: Access to Health Care
Support equitable access to quality health care and medical facilities throughout the city through strategic land planning and public health analyses.  

Action BCC – 2.5A: Community Health Needs Assessment
Complete a Health Needs Assessment to better understand community health needs and environmental health hazards. A focus of this work should be disaggregating data according to key demographic attributes, such as race, ethnicity, income, geography, and education. Update the assessment on an established schedule, build partnerships through the study, and distribute findings to service providers such as health-care institutions, schools, and non-profit organizations to effectively meet the health needs of residents. 

Policy BCC – 2.6: Community Mental Health
Leverage partnerships with organizations to heighten education around community mental health and related safety and wellness issues, such as domestic violence, child safety, and behavioral warning signs.   

Action BCC – 2.6A: Trauma-Informed Service Provision
Train staff at all levels in trauma-informed practices and relevant applications to municipal work. Continue City efforts to become a trauma-informed community that acknowledges and addresses adverse experiences through the provision of local services. 


Policy BCC – 3.1: Equitable Access to Services
Deliver public services in a way that is accessible, people-centered, equitable, and responsive to the needs of a diverse, multi-cultural community.  Equitable access should be achieved geographically, by making services accessible in all neighborhoods and areas, and systematically, by tailoring services to meet the needs of specific populations as determined through data, customer feedback, and technology.  

Policy BCC – 3.2: Public Library and Learning Resources
Support the Lancaster Public Library in its mission to deliver excellent library facilities and coordinate networks of learning resources available to the public. Enhance the library’s role as a community asset by providing flexible spaces that incorporate multidisciplinary programming and dedicated spaces for meetings and community gatherings. 

Policy BCC – 3.3: Recreation Programming
Maintain and strengthen relationships with the Lancaster Rec Commission and other nonprofit agencies to provide a diverse offering of affordable recreational activities and programs that serve residents of all ages and abilities.  Ensure that programming is adapted in response to trends and cultural preferences.  Programs should promote health, fitness, knowledge, creativity, personal growth, and fun. 

Policy BCC – 3.4: Trash and Waste
Provide efficient, reliable solid waste collection, recycling, and disposal services.  Continue the City Bureau of Solid Waste and Recycling’s work and partnerships in reducing and remediating litter and illegal dumping, including Adopt It (the adopt a block program), the Tiny Can initiative, and neighborhood cleanups. 

Policy BCC – 3.5: Fire and Emergency Services
Provide excellent, responsive fire and emergency services and facilities that meet the changing needs of Lancaster residents and businesses.

Action BCC – 3.5A: Fire and Emergency Management Services (EMS) Evaluations
Conduct periodic assessments of Fire and EMS services and facilities to ensure they meet current and expected future needs.  This should include evaluating infrastructure limitations (such as water pressure and street width) that hinder levels of service and response times, reviewing critical assets such as fire stations, and adapting systems to address deficiencies, use emerging technology, and prepare for anticipated growth.   

Policy BCC – 3.6: Public Safety and Capacity
Regularly evaluate and plan for public safety services and facilities that meet the changing needs of the city. Coordinate across City departments to review planned land developments and capital improvement projects that impact public safety. Train and equip public safety officers and personnel to respond to emerging issues in the community and invest in recruitment and retention as a means of creating a highly capable response team.

Policy BCC – 3.7: Police and Community Relations
Foster a holistic community-based model for crime prevention and public safety as a means of improving policing outcomes and building trust with the community. Continue police programs that draw resident interaction, such as the mounted patrol, Police Athletic League, Social Work Team, and bike program.

Policy BCC – 3.8: Emergency Management Planning
Develop and maintain plans for natural and human-caused emergencies and disasters, including coordination with local, county, and regional response teams. Educate City Police and Fire personnel on emergency plan components and responsibilities, and regularly assess and update equipment inventories. Establish a regular review period to ensure plans remain up to date.

Policy BCC – 3.9: Capital Improvement Planning
Maintain a capital improvement plan that is aligned with Comprehensive Plan objectives, including its focus on equity and growth, and executes relevant policies and actions. Prioritize areas that have been historically underserved, and plan and design for long-term solutions based on land use and transportation forecasts.


Policy BCC – 4.1: Neighborhood Organizations and Leadership
Partner with existing neighborhood and community groups to build capacity at the neighborhood level, particularly among grassroots leaders and representatives. Foster two-way communication between City staff and neighborhood stakeholders both in-person and virtually.  

Action BCC – 4.1A: Neighborhood Leadership Academy
Continue the success of the Neighborhood Leadership Academy program, to educate and empower residents to participate effectively in government.  Adapt and develop the program based upon performance assessment and participant feedback. 

Policy BCC – 4.2: Boards, Commissions, and Authorities (BCAs)
Support City Boards, Commissions, and Authorities as a primary means of community engagement. Appoint capable residents to the public bodies and secure their success through staff support and ongoing training. Create consistency in appointments, operations, transparency, and accessibility across all BCAs to better serve residents and promote effective operations.  Strive for board and commission compositions that reflect the diversity of the city.

Policy BCC – 4.3: Inclusive Involvement
Partner with community-based organizations to engage populations whose voices have been under-represented in public processes because of language, mobility, age, citizenship, economic, and other barriers. Use creative and community-driven methods for reaching these groups, such as markets, churches, home visits, school events, cultural activities, and informal social networks.

Action BCC – 4.3A:  Engaging Under-Represented Groups
Undertake initiatives to better engage those who are under-represented in public processes, such as immigrant communities, people of color, youth, and younger families. Examples include City programs such as: Language Access, Love Your Block Mini-Grant, and Public Art and Community Engagement (PACE), Welcoming City certification, and more. 


Policy BCC – 5.1: Arts and Quality of Life
Recognize the potential for the arts to enrich and inspire residents, contribute to economic vitality, and enhance civic identity and community spirit.  Encourage an array of arts and cultural programming that reflects the diversity of the city.

Policy BCC – 5.2: Arts and Culture in Public Spaces
Enliven the city by activating the public realm (i.e., streets, parks, and plazas) and non-traditional venues through events, performances, and happenings.  Utilize the Lancaster City Office of Promotion (LOOP) and partner organizations to spur fun, honor people and cultures, and showcase community attractions. 

Action BCC – 5.2A: Promoting and Facilitating Special Events
Review City regulations, ordinances, and procedures to identify potential barriers for events and programming.  Remove these barriers where feasible to allow for expanded artistic and cultural expression and provide opportunities for social activity and joy amongst our residents.

Policy BCC – 5.3.:  Space for the Arts
Encourage the development of affordable spaces for artists to live, learn, practice, teach, and present their work.  These spaces are important for maintaining the arts as an integral part of the city’s vibrant culture and economy. 

Policy BCC – 5.4: Creative Capital
Strengthen connections between artists, institutions, local foundations, nonprofits, and other partnering organizations to support and sustain arts programming. Coordinate resources to address the educational, training, and production needs of the arts community. 

Policy BCC – 5.5: Art in Capital Planning and Private Development Projects
Facilitate the integration of public art into the built environment.  For public projects, incorporate art elements into select capital improvement projects and streetscape upgrades.  For private projects, pursue opportunities to include art that can be viewed or experienced in some form by the public.

Action BCC – 5.5A: Public Art Planning
Develop plans and programs to expand public art in Lancaster city.  This should include a process for including art in new private development projects as well as in City parks, plazas, public facilities and streetscape projects.  Future activities should include mapping of cultural assets to identify patterns, inform future land use decisions, and identify deficiencies and opportunities that can be addressed through future plans and projects.