HONESDALE – During Thursday's meeting of the Wayne County Commissioners, Director of Planning Craig Rickard presented the department's annual report.
One of the areas Rickard talked about was subdivision activity for 2014.
“There were 124 applications submitted for review in 2014,” he stated. “That's about 12 less than 2013. I think we had 136 then.
“Of those 124 applications, 71 new lots were created last year throughout the county, which was four less than 2013. We also had 144 additions/lot improvements.”
He added that number is elevated.
“One of the reasons it's high is because in Dyberry, the planning board approved a 36 lot consolidation in Bethany Colony into nine resulting lots,” Rickard explained. “That's 36 there alone. It would still be over 100 without that application itself.”
Rickard said the county is right where they were in 2010 and 2012, with a total of 124 applications.
“Our biggest year was back in 2005 with 300 applications, when the housing boom was going on,” he stated. “The number of applications decreased every year between 2005 and 2011. It went back up in 2012 and 2013 and it went slightly down in 2014.”
In terms of land development, the county reviewed six applications. Rickard said a few were for Dollar General stores throughout the county.
“One is in Waymart, one is in Beach Lake and I believe there's another one for the Lake Ariel area,” he said. “The breakdown of applications in the county shows Paupack Township with 16, Salem Township with nine and Damascus Township with nine.
“Those are the municipalities with a large volume of activity typically.”
At the end of each section in the report there's a narrative with additional information.
“We try to capture the trend of what's occurred over the last 15 years with applications versus new lots created,” Rickard stated.
When asked about the contrast between the number of applications and the number of lots created, Rickard provided some examples.
They were as follows:
• An application can be a simple one lot subdivision created;
• An application can have multiple additions involved;
• An application can have two new lots and surveyors working with the property owner might want to take care of lot consolidations they own;
• An application can range between lots and lot improvement.
The Wayne County Department of Planning/GIS also continued its efforts in updating the 911 address system. Wallenpaupack Lake Estates and Lake Cadjaw were two of the biggest completed last year.
The county also reviewed several comprehensive plans for consistency. Rickard said they are from the local shares account, which is the gambling money.
“Municipalities that didn't get funding last year re-submitted this year,” he said.
Another area Rickard discussed was population density within the state and the county.
Wayne County is currently ranked 60th out of 67 counties in Pennsylvania. The ranking is based off population by people per square mile.
Pennsylvania's population increased as a whole in 2014, but the county's population decreased.
In the 2010 census, there were 52,822 residents in the county and the 2013 estimate was 51,548 people.
In 2013 there was an average of 70.7 people per square mile with a 1.7 decrease since the 2010 census.
Rickard said the change is due to several factors that include people moving to urban areas, the economy and deaths versus births.
“One in five people in Wayne County are over age 65,” he said. “That's about 20 percent of the population.”
Commissioner Wendell Kay commended Rickard and the planning department on the report.
“It's a terrific resource,” he said. “There's valuable information for the public. We [the commissioners] look forward to seeing it [the report] ourselves. It was a job well done. It was interesting and informative.”
Chairman Brian Smith said they did a nice job on the report. Rickard thanked his staff.
The entire report is available on the county website, www.waynecountypa.gov under Planning/GIS. You can also find local government information on the site.