commissioner’s column: John Bendel





Commissioner John Bendel

Mt. Lebanon is ready to embark on a new Comprehensive Plan, and we need your ideas, vision and energy to create a blueprint for our town’s future that will help it thrive. As we develop our plan, our goal is to engage and listen to as many residents and other stakeholders as possible—it is essential that we do—because we all have an interest in keeping Mt. Lebanon a great place to live, work and play.

As we celebrate Mt. Lebanon’s centennial this year, it is important to reflect on our history and heritage and to recognize the people and their contributions that made our community what it is today. Certainly, throughout our 100 years, planning has played an important part in managing our growth and development. Our new plan will lay the foundation for our next 100 years and will specifically chart our course for the next five to ten years. Having a sensible community plan is good for all of us who live and work here. If the planning is done right and we follow it, our quality of life will improve, and we’ll attract new investment—by homebuyers, homeowners and businesses—which will lead to a stronger local economy and increasing property values.

The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) requires that municipalities update their Comprehensive Plans every 10 years. The MPC fundamentally directs local governments to establish how they manage land use, development, the built and natural environments and public facilities. My hope is that, with your input, we can address the requirements of the MPC and much more.

Let’s together create a Quality of Life (QOL) Plan for Mt. Lebanon—a plan in which we can all share a vision of our future and can find something meaningful in it. Our QOL Plan will take a holistic view of our community, including development opportunities, environmental sustainability, traffic management and pedestrian safety, recreation, housing, economic development, historic preservation, public safety and services and more.

Community planning is not a science but an art. Strategies take a unique form in each community. This is why, for example, we’d like to hear from as many voices as possible—we’d like to know why new residents decided to move here, or what quality of life means to a family who has a child with special needs. We need to hear what is working in Mt. Lebanon and what may need to be addressed or fixed.

The good news is that you don’t need planning experience to participate. The only qualification you need is an interest in helping to shape Mt. Lebanon’s future. If you ever have thought, while in one of our neighborhoods, “Someone should do something about…” or “What if they…” then you are amply qualified.

Our planning process includes plenty of opportunity for you to participate. Input from our new and long-time residents, business owners, community organizations, youth, renters and homeowners and institutions is welcome and essential to our success. Throughout the process, we’ll make sure we coordinate our plan with the school district’s strategic plan, and because we are interconnected in so many ways with the county and our neighboring communities, our plan will align with their goals as well.

Mt. Lebanon’s planning process is kicking off in the next few weeks, and completion is expected by mid-2013, with a variety of opportunities for you to participate along the way. Surveys, focus groups and public meetings are all part of the process. We recognize that many families have very busy schedules, so we’ll make the opportunities to participate as convenient as possible.

Look for announcements soon on the municipality’s web site, LeboALERTS, Facebook and Twitter, and in future issues of mtl magazine. I look forward to hearing your ideas!

To achieve the best plan possible, we need you.