Land Development and Subdivision

Generally, every activity which involves the development of two or more new residential buildings, or any new principal commercial, industrial, civic, or institutional (non-residential) building is considered land development. Land Development Plans are subject to the provisions of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance of 1996 (SALDO); we highly recommend thoroughly reading the SALDO for information about application, the planning process, and design requirements.

Careful pre-planning by an applicant is essential to ensure that the development process occurs in a fashion that is timely and as cost-effective to the applicant is possible. The City only controls portions of the process; many other aspects are controlled by Federal, State, and County agencies and officials. To avoid delays and to save expenses in the long-run, an applicant should hire a well-qualified professional to is experienced in completing all the development approval processes.

In the City of Scranton, Land Development Plans are subject to review and approval by the City Planning Commission. The plans are reviewed by the Commission at its monthly meetings. The review process general consists of the following steps:

  • Sketch Plan Review
  • Application Submission
  • Staff Review
  • City Planning Commission Meeting


Sketch Plan

It is usually desirable to seek an informal meeting with City staff early in the process to gain their input and advice. In addition, sketch plan reviews by the City are usually very beneficial to identify issues early in the process before you have completed detailed engineering (see SALDO Art. IV)


Application Submission

The application submission should consist of all of the information contained within Section 502.B for a preliminary plan or Section 602 for a final plan (see Section 502.A.2 for a discussion on when a preliminary plan is not required).


Staff Review

City staff from City Planning and Zoning, Engineering, Fire, Public Works, and Code Enforcement will review the request subject to the adopted codes and standards. A recommendation of professional staff will be given to the City Planning Commission. If some staff cannot provide their review prior to the meeting when your plan will be reviewed, and all else is in order, usually a conditional approval will be granted requiring a final review by that official before the approval becomes valid.


City Planning Commission

The seven (7) member appointed body is authorized to administer the provisions of the SALDO and the Comprehensive Plan when reviewing requests for Land Development approval. The City Planning Commission approves Land Development Plans subject to the following criteria:

  • Conformance with the provisions of the SALDO
  • Conformance with the guidelines of the Comprehensive Plan
  • Conformance with the applicable zoning district regulations and other provisions of the code
  • Traffic circulation, parking, pedestrian access, and bicycle access designed to promote safety and convenience
  • Fulfillment of all submission requirements
  • Recommendations of professional staff


Lackawanna County Regional Planning Commission

All plans are also subject to review by the Lackawanna County Regional Planning Commission (LCRPC). A copy of the application and plans should be submitted to the LCRPC along with the county’s review fee at the same time as submitted to the City of Scranton. Additional information may be found here.



Decisions of the City Planning Commission may be appealed to the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC). Generally, appeals must be filed within 30 days of the decision.




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