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Living with Logistics: PennFuture’s Model Zoning Ordinance for Logistics Facilities


As online shopping has become a major source of retail goods in the 21st century, logistics industry practices have changed, and so has the industry’s demand for land.  Although often referred to as “warehouses,” today’s logistics facilities are not the long-term-storage-based warehouses of the past — they are huge distribution and fulfillment centers with the potential to generate far-reaching traffic, noise, aesthetic, and environmental impacts unanticipated by zoning ordinances drafted long before this development pattern was even a remote possibility. Communities across the Commonwealth are now faced with the influx of these massive logistics facilities, and municipalities are struggling to figure out how to respond before it’s too late. Zoning is perhaps the most powerful tool municipalities have to do this.

In order to help Pennsylvania’s municipalities proactively prepare for this incoming land use, PennFuture has created a model zoning ordinance and guidebook.  The Model Logistics Use Zoning Ordinance is based on the information and experience that PennFuture’s staff has gained through our engagement with community members and municipalities in the Lehigh Valley and Northeastern Pennsylvania, the logistics hub of the East Coast. We will share what we have learned in this process: how the logistics industry has changed in recent decades; how existing zoning ordinances are often inadequate to effectively address modern logistics uses; pitfalls we have noticed in the way zoning ordinances that do address these uses are doing so; and suggestions for how to draft an effective zoning regulation.

Join this conversation with the author of this model ordinance to learn more about the model ordinance and what you can do to advocate for it in your municipality.


Brigitte Meyer | Staff Attorney, PennFuture

Brigitte is a Staff Attorney in PennFuture’s Pocono Office where her work focuses on water quality and watershed protection, special protection waters, and stormwater management. Prior to joining PennFuture, Brigitte was an Associate Attorney at Siana Law in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, where her work focused on municipal and land use law.

Brigitte received her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame and graduated from Northeastern University Law School (NUSL). While completing her law degree, Brigitte served as a judicial intern at the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and participated in the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Clinic. Her article, “Lawyering in the Age of Lynching” is published in the Northeastern University Law Review. Prior to attending law school, Brigitte worked full-time as the director of food service at camps in Virginia, Texas and New York.

Abby Jones | VP Legal and Policy, PennFuture

Abby is Vice President of Legal and Policy at PennFuture. As Vice President, Abby is responsible for integrating PennFuture’s legal, regulatory, and policy activities in furtherance of the organization’s mission of protecting Pennsylvania’s air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations. In her role as an attorney based out of PennFuture’s Poconos office, her work focuses on water quality and watershed protection, special protection waters, and stormwater management. Abby also works on the issues related to the petrochemical and fracking industries that are threatening the health of Pennsylvania’s people and environment.

Prior to joining PennFuture, Abby was a Staff Attorney at Riverkeeper, where her work focused on civil litigation and administrative enforcement actions targeted at safeguarding the water quality and ecological integrity of the Hudson River and its tributaries. Before that, Abby worked as an environmental attorney in New York City and Cheyenne, Wyoming. She has written about and presented on a variety of environmental issues including the regulation and legal challenges of Marcellus Shale development in New York, energy leases for private property owners in Western States, and the Superfund cleanup of the Hudson River.



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