With a motion passed at its regularly scheduled supervisors' meeting this week, Penn Forest Township has joined the Western Carbon County Comprehensive Plan. The plan is also being used by the Jim Thorpe, Lansford and Summit Hill boroughs.

Penn Forest Township Supervisor Paul Montemuro attended the Comprehensive Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday, July 7 to discuss details. The plan actually contains two separate proposals, one is the Comprehensive Plan and the other is a Parks and Recreation Plan.

Both proposals are to be funded in part by state grants, which are being created and managed by Carson Humphrey of Community Planning and Management and Nancy Sarcenello of GIS Services.

Jim Thorpe, Lansford and Summit Hill have all been working together for two years to develop the new plan. Last month the Penn Forest Township Supervisors approved the Comprehensive Plan portion. The Parks and Recreation Plan was approved only yesterday.

Because Penn Forest Township is joining late, it will actually have a separate contract from the other municipalities. For example, the total cost of the Parks and Recreation portion of the plan will be $39,960. Jim Thorpe, Lansford and Summit Hill will have 50 percent of their costs paid by state grants. As matters now stand, Penn Forest, which is to pay $10,415.00, will have to pay the full cost.

Humphrey and Sarcenello will now have to rewrite the portions of the grants and contracts to incorporate Penn Forest. Humphrey hopes that "by September the old sections will be updated and the new section will include Penn Forest."

The other three municipalities will also have to adopt resolutions to acknowledge the participation of Penn Forest. Jim Thorpe will most likely do this at its Borough meeting tomorrow night.

The purpose of a Comprehensive Plan is to create a set of guidelines and policy structure to provide a direction for the growth of the participating municipalities. Generally, they are meant to encompass a 10 to 15 year period. The current Comprehensive Plan for these areas is from 1999.

Pennsylvania encourages multi-municipality plans because, in the words of Humphrey, "Planning issues cross municipal boarders."

If everything goes according to schedule, the new Comprehensive Plan will be finished in a year.