Guides + Model Regulations

Environmental Planning Guides + Model Regulations (Conservation Subdivisions, Floodplain, Protect the Trail, Riparian + Wetland Buffers, Steep Slopes and Woodlands) are listed below. For Community Planning Guides + Model Regulations (Cottage Housing, Density Bonuses/Minimum Density, Inclusionary Zoning, and Mixed Uses), click here.

Conservation Subdivisions - December 2015

Conservation Subdivisions


Conservation subdivisions are residential developments in which a significant portion of the the overall acreage of a property is set aside as undivided, permanently protected open space, while houses are clustered on the remainder of the property.


The guide provides an introductory history of conservation subdivision design in the United States and in Pennsylvania, an examination of benefits and drawbacks of the approach, and an annotated model regulation and example worksheets for Lehigh Valley municipalities to use in writing their own regulations for conservation subdivision in their municipality.


Conservation Subdivisions PDF


Floodplains - March 2014


Floodplain Regulations


​ The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission released updated model floodplain regulations in March 2014. The guide and model regulations was funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR) through the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. The model regulations were completed in advance of updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Northampton County communities that went into effect July 2014. The model regulations were written by the LVPC using the policies of the Regional Comprehensive Plan, the 2013 Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan, the updated 2012 Department of Community and Economic Development floodplain provisions and the 2013 National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System Coordinator’s Manual as guides. Full Report PDF

Protect the Trail: A Guide to Protecting the Appalachian Trail

for Lehigh Valley Municipalities - Oct. 2010

Protect the Trail:

A Guide to Protecting the Appalachian Trail for Lehigh Valley Municipalities


The guide provides a detailed overview of the twenty-five (25) miles of the Appalachian Trail that runs along the crest of Blue Mountain through nine municipalities in the Lehigh Valley. Detailed mapping of natural features and property ownership on Blue Mountain, coupled with an analysis of threats to the Trail such as encroaching residential development and wind turbines is provided. The final chapters of the guide provide an extensive menu of regulatory approaches that municipalities could use to protect the Trail and the Blue Mountain environment.


Protect the Trail PDF


Riparian and Wetland Buffers - Updated January 2011

Riparian and Wetland Buffers


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than half of all stream pollution comes from land runoff, which can contain pollutants such as sediment, oil, fertilizers and pesticides. Increasing the amount of pavement in a watershed, or even changing land use from forests to fields, can increase discharge to streams since both of these greatly reduce land permeability and soil storage. Streams in the Lehigh Valley are constantly under pressure from the combined effects of farming uses and the continued urbanization of the Lehigh Valley.


Riparian and Wetland Buffers PDF


Steep Slopes - November 2008

Steep Slopes


The steepest slopes in the Lehigh Valley are found along the Blue Mountain and South Mountain. There are sizable areas of steep slope along the hillsides of Weisenberg and Lowhill townships in Lehigh County and in townships beside the Lehigh and Delaware rivers. A notable characteristic of steep slope areas is that they are nearly all wooded; very few steep slopes are used for cropland or pastures due to their lack of suitability for agriculture. However, recently Lehigh Valley municipalities have seen an increased desire to build on steep slopes. The majority of the development proposed on steep slopes is residential in nature.


Steep Slopes PDF


Woodlands - March 2009

Woodlands Guide | Model Regulation


The Woodlands Guide is designed to give a brief overview of how a tree functions, the parts of the tree, how various activities may cause significant damage to trees and some of the issues related to the harvesting of trees. This model was designed to be used by municipalities to write and adopt their own ordinance for woodland protection.


Woodlands Guide|Model Regulation PDF

Amendments to Woodlands Guidance PDF

Woodlands Related PA  Attorney General Letters PDF




Lehigh Valley Planning Commission

961 Marcon Boulevard - Suite 310

Allentown, PA 18109

Phone: (610) 264-4544

Toll Free: (888) 627-8808