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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 5, 2018 10:33 AM
From: Senator Mario M. Scavello
To: All Senate members

On July 2, 2009, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed HR 350 (PN 2100), which directed the Joint State Government Commission (JSGC) to study the impact of Common Interest Ownership Communities (CIOCs), commonly referred to as planned communities, on the Commonwealth and its local governments. The JSGC study, completed in December, 2011, provided critical data, insight and recommendations.

One key finding of the JSGC study concerns the absolute lack of readily available and organized information on CIOCs across Pennsylvania. While it is estimated that 2.8 million PA 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, by large and far, unknown.

Although all counties by law maintain basic data on CIOCs, currently, only two counties’ (Pike and Monroe) planning offices make it readily available; otherwise, there is no municipal, state or county government or agency which collects comprehensive CIOC data, making 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.

In response, the JSGC study urges a remedy to this massive data void: specifically, that the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) be amended to require County Planning Commissions to include CIOC data in their currently-required annual report. The tracked information would include the CIOC name, physical locations, land area, lot size and number of units, presence of a mixed use development, infrastructure, including sanitary sewer, water and storm water systems, dedication of roadways including roads built to specification, common infrastructure and recreation facilities, and articles of incorporation or other non-profit organization registration information filed with the Department of State.

In addition to the above information, such information is also necessary to assist law enforcement for purposes of safety and security within the communities and the public at large. Please see the attached article as an example of how this legislation and the transparent availability of this collected data could have assisted law enforcement with the Eric Frein Manhunt in Canadensis, PA.

Specific to the above recommendation, I plan to re-introduce legislation (formerly SB 843 of 2017-18) in the near future that accomplishes the same.

If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact Christine Zubeck in my office at 717-787-6123 or czubeck@pasen.gov. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB802