Scavello Bill Fills Void in Planned Communities Data

Harrisburg — Senator Mario Scavello (R-40)  has introduced legislation, Senate Bill 855, to improve community planning through the inclusion of data on planned communities in county reports.

The legislation follows a study by the Joint State Government Commission of the impact of planned communities, formerly known as Common Interest Ownership Communities (CIOCs), on the Commonwealth and its local governments.

The study uncovered an absolute lack of readily available and transparent government information on CIOCs across Pennsylvania. While it is estimated that 2.8 million Pennsylvania residents are in a CIOC and that roughly 80 percent of new housing starts since 2000 are CIOCs, the actual number and location of these communities is unknown.

“Currently, only two counties, Monroe and Pike, disclose data on CIOCs within their borders; otherwise, there is no municipal, state or county government or agency which collects comprehensive CIOC data,” said Scavello.  “This makes it impossible to properly track important information such as infrastructure age, various levels of taxation, how such communities affect and impact surrounding communities, or what costs are associated with certain state legislative amendments to Title 68, the statute governing such communities.”

Senator Scavello’s legislation would amend the Municipalities Planning Code to require County Planning Commissions to include CIOC data in their currently required annual report. The tracked information, already in county-controlled databases, would include:

  • CIOC name, physical locations, land area, lot size and number of units.
  • The presence of a mixed use development; and to the extent available,
  • Infrastructure, including sanitary sewer, water and storm water systems.
  • Dedication of roadways including roads built to specification.
  • Common infrastructure and recreation facilities.

The senator introduced similar legislation in 2013 as a member of the House of Representatives.

“Surveys show most residents of CIOCs are happy with their community and the intent of this legislation is not to alter such communities in any way,” Scavello said. “This measure simply brings about greater government transparency and tracks the information needed for state and local governments, so that planned communities can exist in harmony with those surrounding them.”

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CONTACT: Christine Zubeck (717) 787-6123