Site Analysis Plan

A Site Analysis Plan can promote the protection and integration of natural and cultural resources into a development proposal. As part of a municipal subdivision and land development review process, the site analysis plan identifies and interprets environmental characteristics and other important resources of a tract before development is proposed. This is an important first step into determining how to protect these resources during the development process.

Incorporating a site analysis plan into the development review process can result in designs that offer superior protection to important natural and physical features of a site and connection to the larger community. The site analysis plan also provides the information needed to determine whether a development meets a municipality's natural resource protection standards and other ordinance requirements. When a municipality requires a site analysis plan, it can encourage designs that are sensitive to environmental features on a site.

Linking site resources such as vegetation, slope, historic resources and drainage patterns to proposed development layouts are some of the primary reasons for incorporating the site analysis into the ordinance's plan information requirements of the subdivision and land development ordinance.

Advantages

The following advantages are associated with the use of a site analysis plan as part of the subdivision and land development process:

Limitations

The following limitations may be associated with site analysis plan requirements:

How To Use This Tool

A site analysis plan is typically part of a municipal subdivision and land development ordinance. Article V of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code grants municipalities authority to regulate subdivisions and land development by enacting a subdivision and land development ordinance.

The following resources are typically required to be part of a site analysis plan. This list should complement the standard plan information requirements for a preliminary plan. Please note that not all resources listed will be applicable in every case:

Examples

Contemporary subdivision and land development ordinances require the applicant to map a comprehensive inventory of natural resources and provide the site information needed to enforce other municipal land use regulations. In most cases, older ordinances can benefit most from this recommended update.

Municipalities with site analysis standards include, but are not limited to:

Related References

The specific authority for a site analysis plan derives more specifically from the Municipalities Planning Code, Section 503 (2), which allows municipalities to include provisions in their subdivision and land development ordinances "for insuring that…" the layout or arrangement of the subdivision or land development shall conform to the comprehensive plan and to any regulations or maps adopted in furtherance thereof…". The Pennsylvania Code, Title 25 Environmental Protection, also addresses environmental protection.

Related Tools

Landscapes2 Relevance

A Site Analysis Plan allows the physical and natural characteristics of a tract to exert a greater influence in determining how the site will be developed, minimizing site disturbance and environmental damage while preserving features that are valued by communities. A site analysis plan can assist a municipality in ensuring that development plan submissions are consistent with its Land Use Plan and code requirements. Landscapes2 encourages municipalities to update and revise ordinance standards to provide consistent county-wide comprehensive natural resource protection.

Site Analysis Plans can help conserve energy by minimizing site disturbance and environmental damage, as noted above, and by limiting the energy that may have been necessary to remediate associate environmental disturbances.