path for a sustainable future

Intermunicipal Planning

The Intermunicipal Planning element examines the current extent of intermunicipal cooperation within Onondaga County and provides ways in which these collaborative efforts can be improved.

Onondaga County is home to more than 450,000 people living in a variety of settings – from historic tree-lined urban neighborhoods to old farmhouses set among rolling fields. The post-World War II population shift redistributed the population away from Syracuse and into suburban environments and land use patterns driven by the presence of infrastructure and accessibility to major roadways. Once largely independent of each other and of the larger region, the County’s 35 communities currently share significant resources, including road, water and sanitary sewer infrastructure. Yet, despite this, the County’s communities remain dependent upon the economic engine of Syracuse. While intermunicipal boundaries are indistinguishable in the landscape, the economic, resource and community character connections between communities are a significant factor in the success of the Sustainable Development Plan.

While local communities are the ultimate determinant as to the type and pattern of development allowed within their borders, economic, environmental and social issues, however, do not end adhere to municipal boundaries. Not only do many issues facing the region cross jurisdictions, they are also multi-disciplinary. Any efforts designed to improve the economic, environmental and social health of Onondaga County will require coordination, collaboration, and partnerships among the County, its 35 municipalities, and the citizens and businesses located within the County.

Several issues and opportunities relating to Intermunicipal Planning were identified over the course of the planning process. A sample key findings is provided below. To review the complete report, follow the link to the right.

Key Findings

  • Resulting from local government structure, the County’s 34 municipalities and 1 sovereign territory allow each to individually determine the pattern and intensity of development, which can lead to inefficiencies and conflicting patterns at the regional level, and competition for jobs, residents and resources.

  • Many communities often lack staff capacity and/or financial resources for planning and development review, which can result in the lack of comprehensive planning, regional collaboration and other efforts to identify community goals and shape sustainable development patterns.

  • The Onondaga County Planning Federation provides opportunities for municipal training and cooperation. These opportunities should be strengthened by providing more frequent programming or other educational resources.