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Maps are a big part of our lives, and are utilized frequently in our activities. This can be through finding the best travel route to where we want to go, or figuring out exactly where we are after we admit we're lost. We look at maps to see what the weather holds for us in the near and distant future.
Maps are even a part of our conversations and how we express ourselves. We say that achieving a certain feat will put us on the map. We talk or hear about having a road map to success.
There are times when a map includes a site simply because it exists and its physical location is shown. However, there are instances when map designations are the result of data analysis, individual and public input, projections and future goals. Such designations can have implications when it comes to policies, actions and regulations.
Take for example a future land use map in a comprehensive plan. A comprehensive plan is a planning document that can be created at county and local municipal levels in Pennsylvania. An integral part of comprehensive planning is illustrating the desired location of future land uses on a map. This map in turn is then used to help make decisions such as infrastructure investment and land use regulation.
Another example of an important map is a zoning map. Zoning is a type of ordinance that regulates land use location. In order to show where certain uses are allowed, a zoning ordinance includes a map that designates different districts. These districts represent various uses that are allowed in a particular area.
Citizens don't have to be caught by surprise as to what the future should hold for their surrounding community. By taking the time to review maps such as the future land use map and zoning map (along with the corresponding data), community stakeholders can be better prepared for personal decision making as well as public involvement.