One of the most important powers and responsibilities of local government is its authority to plan and guide growth of municipal services and public improvements so that development occurs in an orderly, rational and reasonable manner. In order to do so, commissions can gather data, analyze information and coordinate efforts between other community organizations. Understanding development and demographic trends, economic activity and acquiring real estate market data all aid local elected officials in their decision making process for future development.

Planning Commission:
Planning commissioners are on the front line regarding the issues that matter most to many communities. Their leadership is crucial in developing recommendations for implementing change in land use as well as promoting responsible and sustainable land use practices. Planning commissions assist in defining how the community should grow, review subdivision and land development plans and assume primary responsibility for developing the ordinances necessary to guide future growth.
Today is a time of great change and challenge, and to be a member of a planning commission ensures a role in shaping your community’s, region’s and the Commonwealth’s future. Playing an active role on a local planning commission not only means being a leader in your community, but gives you an opportunity to engage citizens and to ask them to share their hopes for their community and to work to make their dreams a reality.

Zoning Hearing Board:
Any municipality enacting a zoning ordinance must also create a zoning hearing board (ZHB). The primary purpose of such a board is to help assure fair and equitable application and administration of the zoning ordinance by hearing appeals on the zoning officer’s determinations and by granting relief from the literal enforcement of the ordinance in certain hardship situations. The right to appeal for relief is an important step in insuring that due process is followed when restricting use of private property for a predetermined public good.

Municipal Authority:
Authorities (also known as special districts in other states) are governmental bodies created to finance and/or operate specific public works projects without tapping the general taxing powers of the municipality. Initially this was done through a device known as the revenue bond where revenues generated from users of the project pledged to operate it, maintain it and make the payments of principal and interest on the debt incurred to build it. The first modern attempt at revenue bond financing in this country appeared in Spokane, Washington in 1895. There was a second attempt in Chicago in 1898. During the period from 1910 to 1925, municipal revenue bonds became an established method of financing in the United States. By 1932, water revenue bonds had been issued by municipalities in about 10 states.

Vacancy Board:
The vacancy board shall consist of the board of supervisors and one elector of the township, who shall be appointed by the board of supervisors at the board's first meeting each calendar year or as soon after that as practical and who shall act as chairman of the vacancy board.
Dave Brown, Chairman