Columbia Borough, PA

308 Locust Street,
Columbia, PA 17512
Phone: 717.684.2467

Planning & Zoning Department

Planning & Zoning Department
The Planning and Zoning Department is committed to serving the Borough in regard to new developments, redevelopments, environmental sustainability, and economic development in the Borough. Staff understands the importance of long-range planning, plan implementation, and development review. Staff works with the Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board, Historic Architecture Review Board (HARB) as well as other boards and committees and local organizations to assure continued community advancement. 


Sharon Cino, Planning and Zoning Manager - scino@columbiapa.net
Deb LaClair, Administrative Assistant - dlaclair@columbiapa.net

Land Planning  (Current and Long-Range)

The Comprehensive Plan is the guiding document for setting the goals, objectives, and policies for the Borough. It is more than just a document disclosing past and present land use trends. It is the blueprint or “map” for our land use patterns of tomorrow. Creating a unique sense of place takes concerted effort and planning. The Zoning Ordinance together with the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance are the tools used to help implement the Comprehensive plan. The Planning staff carry out many key tasks including but not limited to:

  • Assist in coordinating work and analysis related to the Borough Comprehensive Plan and other planning policies
  • Assist in the preparation of updates and amendments to the subdivision/land development ordinance, zoning ordinance and other related ordinances
  • Assist in the analysis of development applications proposing to rezone land in the Borough
  • Conduct technical reviews and make recommendations on land development and subdivision plan applications and zoning permits
  • Maintain maps and data regarding land and property in the Borough
  • Process and issue zoning historic preservation, and other development permits
  • Carry out long-range community development programs
  • Provide staff support to the Planning Commission and HARB
  • Maintain department records and files and responding to right to know requests regarding this information

Zoning Enforcement

In Pennsylvania, the primary means of managing land use activities is through municipal zoning. The public involvement in private land use matters and business activities in the Borough typically begins with an application to the Borough zoning office for a zoning permit, which is required for construction and other activities to verify and authorize the legal use of property in accordance with the zoning regulations.

As prescribed by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act 247, the Borough Zoning Officer is the sole official responsible for enforcement of the zoning ordinance. This official has various enforcement and procedural duties that may include:

  • Making determinations regarding an applicant's project or use specifications and compliance with the requirements of the zoning ordinance and zoning map,
  • Administering the zoning ordinance "in literal terms,"
  • Responding to requests for service related to alleged illegal uses and activities,
  • Approving home occupations,
  • Coordinating enforcement actions and due process related to zoning enforcement, and
  • Participating in Zoning Hearing Board meetings in an official capacity and witnessing during appeals to his/her land use determinations.