Lancaster City PA, Citizen Planning Committee


Lancaster City – Planning Department

Project Summary:

The City of Lancaster PA selected Connect the Dots with partners Winslow Mason, Senior Director for Strategic Change at Community Action Association of Pennsylvania, and Corey Brown, a transportation planner for PenDOT and former county planner at Delaware County.

The CtD team is helping to develop, educate, shape, and shepherd the group as they select a comprehensive planning firm and walk through the iterative process. This process is a unique (though increasingly seen) opportunity to bring the public onto a project well before planning decisions are made, and bring them up to speed even in the earliest phases. Citizens represent a cross section of city residents and have been carefully selected to highlight the backgrounds, experiences, and identities of a huge range of community members. We are confident that the members who have been selected can either directly represent, or will be able to speak to, nearly all community demographics that exist in the City of Lancaster.


CPC members were selected over a period of several weeks. An initial core group of 7 members with a small oversight team formed out of an existing citizen participation committee. When we came on board, we walked them through a workshop to determine what they brought to the table in terms of backgrounds and representation, and worked to discover what types of voices were missing. We then built a list of about 50 nominees, and reached out to those who could represent one of more of the missing attributes. Members represent the following backgrounds: representative sexual orientation, race, age, ethnicity, home owners and renters, different neighborhoods of the city, income levels, refugee and immigrant groups and more.

In the first phase, we are bringing them up to speed with a series of intense educational and interactive workshops meant to bring everyone up to speed on current planning trends, their roles and responsibilities, how to select a planning firm, issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, components of a comprehensive plan, and basics of community engagement.

Also included in each session:

  • time set aside for team building activities in order to bond group members,
  • skill-building lessons for skills like public speaking, understanding reports and planning documents, research skills, facilitation training, etc.
  • a facilitated workshop or discussion
  • translation services, meals, and childcare as needed


Project is ongoing, and will result in a community-supported and guided comprehensive plan and planning process. Project will wrap up in 2022.