Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program
"To provide for the protection of drinking water; wildlife habitat; preservation of scenic ridges and critical open space; protection of water quality of rivers, lakes and streams; parks and recreational areas; improved county and municipal planning; and related acquisitions of real property or interests therein from willing sellers on a voluntary basis and to provide education, outreach and the provision of funds for such purposes."
The Pike County Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program is now in its 5th year of accepting grant applications for funding. At this time, projects eligible for funding include:
- Municipal Planning Initiatives (Comprehensive Plans, Open Space Plans, and Ordinance Updates)
- Conservation Easements from willing sellers
- Parcel Acquisition from willing sellers
- Donated Conservation Easements
In November 2005, Pike County voters affirmed the importance of preserving and protecting the natural resources of Pike County and the County's scenic rural character, by voting "Yes" with a margin of more than 2 to 1 on the Scenic Rural Character Preservation $10 Million bond referendum placed on the ballot by the County Commissioners.
This vote was in keeping with the findings of the Pike County Planning Commission's Community Survey completed in summer 2004 as part of the update of Pike County's Comprehensive Plan. Approval of the Scenic Rural Character Preservation Bond was an important step in protecting the County's natural resources, preserving sensitive natural areas and critical open space, providing parks and recreation areas and improving planning efforts at both the County and Municipal levels.
Early in 2006, the Commissioners moved forward with the implementation of the voters' directive by soliciting for interested citizens to serve on the County's Scenic Rural Character Preservation Board. A nine-member Board with two alternates was appointed in April 2006. The Scenic Rural Character Preservation Board met regularly throughout the year working on the development of policies and procedures for the administration of the County's first Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program.
The Pike County Commissioners in September 2006 voted in favor of financing a portion of the $10 million SRCP Bond to jump start the program. Initially $1.2 million will be financed over three years. These funds will be used to start the Pike County Agricultural Land Preservation Program (giving the County access to significant State funds), to provide technical planning assistance for the municipalities and to offer planning grants for municipal/multi-municipal comprehensive and open space plans.
Also in Fall 2006, the Preservation Board presented a Municipal Planning Initiatives Grant Manual to the Commissioners for their review. The Commissioners approved the Manual on October 18, 2006, and it was distributed to the thirteen municipalities in the county. The Municipal Planning Initiatives Manual contains the guidelines for Pike County municipalities to access Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program funds for the purposes of "municipal planning." Grant funds under this aspect of the program are provided for municipalities to undertake the development or update of Municipal Comprehensive and/or Open Space Plans or the update of land use ordinances such as Subdivision and Land Development (SALDO), Zoning, Stormwater or Floodplain Ordinances.
With the Municipal Planning Initiatives Manual effectively in use, the Scenic Rural Character Preservation Board created a secondary manual, the Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program Manual, which provides funding guidelines for Conservation Easements and Acquisitions as well as the continuation of the Municipal Planning Initiatives. This Pike County Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program Manual was completed in October 2007. (Please note: Any purchase of conservation easements or acquisitions of parcels will be from "willing sellers" only as defined in the original language of the Scenic Rural Character Preservation Bond referendum listed on the November 2005 ballot.)
All meetings are held on Thursdays unless otherwise indicated and begin at 3:30pm.
MEETING LOCATION: Pike Planning Office, 837 Route 6, Unit 4, Shohola, PA 18458
2012 Meeting Dates and Agendas
In the event of severe weather, a decision to cancel will be made by 10:00am on the meeting date. Our office will contact Board members on the morning of the meeting should the weather be questionable and cancellation is in the best interest of safety for all. Should we be unable to contact you, please contact our office at 296-3500 before venturing out.
It may be necessary to cancel the meetings due to lack of agenda items for discussion. If this is the case, planning staff will discuss this with the Board Chairman and then Board Members will be notified prior to the scheduled meeting that it has been canceled.
Comprehensive Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program Grant Manual
(revised December 21, 2011)
Donated Conservation Easement Grant Manual
(May 27, 2009)
On May 27, 2009, the Pike County Commissioners introduced the newest grant funding category under the Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program. This manual offers cost recovery for expenses associated with the donation of a Conservation Easement. These expenses can include property surveys, title searches, baseline documentation costs, and monitoring stewardship costs. In some cases, the landowner simply cannot afford these expenses, and therefore, are unable to donate their conservation easement. Landowners interested in donating a Conservation Easement may contact the Pike County Planning Office for more information, or work directly with a qualified Land Trust.
Updates and corrections to the Comprehensive Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program Grant Manual were approved by the Pike County Commissioners on May 6, 2009. New grant applications should utilize the updated forms and appendices located in the revised manual.
On October 3, 2007, the Scenic Rural Character Preservation Board presented their second document, the Comprehensive Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program Grant Manual, to the Commissioners and Pike County residents. This comprehensive document expands on the eligible activities in the Phase I manual and now contains the funding guidelines for Municipal Planning Initiatives, Conservation Easements, and Acquisitions.
The Phase I - Municipal Planning Initiatives Manual was approved by the Pike County Commissioners on October 18, 2006 and distributed to the thirteen municipalities in the county. The Phase I Manual contains the guidelines for applying for funds under the Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program ($10M Bond Referendum). Eligible activities under the Phase I Manual include development of Comprehensive Plans; Open Space, Greenways and Recreation Plans; and Land Use Ordinance assistance.
The Pike County Commissioners and the Pike County Scenic Rural Character Preservation Board are excited to announce the success of the County's Scenic Rural Character Preservation (SRCP) Program to date.
Since the unveiling of the program manual in October 2006, many of Pike County's municipalities have made use of the Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program funds for updating local planning documents including comprehensive plans, developing open space plans for their municipalities and updating current subdivision and land development ordinances to include natural resource based protections and provision for scenic rural character preservation. Through the technical assistance of county planning staff, the municipalities and the county have been able to leverage additional state agency grants and other funds as matching money for these SRCP projects.
In receiving both county Preservation funds and state funding, most municipalities were able to undertake their planning projects with little or no local municipal funds. These projects will result in conservation-minded initiatives in line with the goals of the Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program and the goals of Pike County residents who approved funding for this program.
With the expansion of the eligible grant categories, grant funding can now be utilized for parcel acquisition, purchase of a conservation easement, as well as cost recovery assistance for donated conservation easements.
Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program
(Amounts are based on grant awards, not on actual funds expended)
Municipal Planning Initiatives
Easements and Acquisitions
The Pike County Scenic Rural Character Preservation Board continues in their efforts to keep municipalities aware of the various funding categories available under this program. The SRCP Board welcomes new applicants and is more than willing to assist you with your conservation project.
As the Preservation Board continues its efforts, you can find our brochures and publications in the column to the right. Additional questions and comments can be directed to the Preservation Planner at 570-296-3500 or by emailing the Preservation Planner.