Land Use Studies <BACK
WHAT IS LAND USE?
Three centuries ago the first settlers moved to the area now known as Lancaster
County and established farms along the banks of the Little Beaver Creek. Some
of the earliest groups to settle in the area were Anabaptists of Swiss-Germanic
descent. These groups selected the area for its rich limestone soils and its climate,
which was similar to that of their homeland. The first permanent settlement was
established just after 1700 by a group of Swiss Mennonites led by Hans Herr, whose
Germanic-style home still stands just south of Lancaster City.
The settlers found relatively flat land that was easy to clear, some of the
most fertile farmland in the world, good water and several large markets nearby
where they could sell their goods. That unique blend of natural resources and
commercial opportunity that made the area so attractive in the 18th century continues
to make Lancaster County a desirable place to live and work.
Lancaster County is growing. As its population increases, communities are becoming
concerned that uncontrolled growth will change their quality of life. Concerns
include traffic congestion, loss of prime farmland, open spaces and natural areas.
Growth management has become even more important.
In Pennsylvania, municipalities are responsible for managing their own growth.
Ultimately, each citizen also shares that responsibility by voting for their municipal
representatives. Local municipal leaders are working together, with assistance
from the Lancaster County Planning Commission, to preserve cultural and agricultural-based
resources while continuing to invest in future growth and development.