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List of Pennsylvania municipalities and counties with home rule charters, optional charters, or optional plans

This is a list of Pennsylvania municipalities and counties with home rule charters, optional charters, or optional plans, including municipalities with home rule charters, optional charters, or optional plans.

Home rule municipalitiesEdit

Most municipalities in Pennsylvania must follow state law except where the state has expressly given jurisdiction to the municipality, and are therefore subject to the Third-Class City Code (all first-class, second-class, and second-class A cities, of which there is one each, are home rule municipalities), the Borough Code (which governs boroughs and the one incorporated town in the state, Bloomsburg), the First-Class Township Code, or the Second-Class Township Code. Home rule municipalities in Pennsylvania, of which there are 76, enjoy the opposite situation (i.e., they may govern themselves except where expressly forbidden by state law), and are governed according to their unique home rule charter rather than one of the above codes. While most home rule charter municipalities continue to reference their previous forms of government in their corporate names, they may also adopt a new corporate name that references a different form of government, or that omits the form from the name altogether.

Name Type
(Municipal charter)
(State classification)
(State classification)
Allentown City City Third Lehigh
Altoona City City Third Blair
Bellevue Borough Borough N/A Allegheny
Bethel Park Municipality Borough N/A Allegheny
Bradford Woods Borough Borough N/A Allegheny
Bryn Athyn Borough Borough N/A Montgomery
Cambridge Springs Borough Borough N/A Crawford
Carbondale City City Third Lackawanna
Carlisle Borough Borough N/A Cumberland
Chalfont Borough Borough N/A Bucks
Cheltenham Township Township First Montgomery
Chester City City Third Delaware
Chester Township Township Second Delaware
Clairton City City Third Allegheny
Coatesville City City Third Chester
Concord Township Township Second Delaware
Easton City City Third Northampton
Edinboro Borough Borough N/A Erie
Elk Township Township Second Chester
Farrell City City Third Mercer
Ferguson Township Township Second Centre
Franklin City City Third Venago
Grant Township Township Second Indiana
Green Tree Borough Borough N/A Allegheny
Greensburg City City Third Westmoreland
Hampton Township Township Second Allegheny
Hanover Township Township Second Lehigh
Haverford Township Township First Delaware
Hermitage City City Third Mercer
Highland Township Township Second Elk
Horsham Township Township Second Montgomery
Johnstown City City Third Cambria
Kingston Municipality Borough N/A Luzerne
Kingston Township Township Second Luzerne
Latrobe City City N/A Westmoreland
Lebanon City City Third Lebanon
Malvern Borough Borough N/A Chester
McCandless Town Township First Allegheny
McKeesport City City Third Allegheny
Middletown Township Township Second Delaware
Monroeville Municipality Borough N/A Allegheny
Mt. Lebanon Municipality Township First Allegheny
Murrysville Municipality Borough N/A Westmoreland
Nanticoke City City Third Luzerne
Norristown Municipality Borough N/A Montgomery
O'Hara Township Township First Allegheny
Penn Hills Municipality Township First Allegheny
Peters Township Township Second Washington
Philadelphia City City First Philadelphia
Pine Township Township Second Allegheny
Pittsburgh City City Second Allegheny
Pittston City City Third Luzerne
Plymouth Township Township Second Luzerne
Plymouth Township Township First Montgomery
Portage Borough Borough N/A Cambria
Radnor Township Township First Delaware
Reading City City Third Berks
Richland Township Township Second Allegheny
St. Marys City City Third Elk
Scranton City City Second A Lackawanna
Sharon City City Third Mercer
State College Borough Borough N/A Centre
Tredyffrin Township Township Second Chester
Tyrone Borough Borough N/A Blair
Upper Darby Township Township First Delaware
Upper Providence Township Township Second Delaware
Upper St. Clair Municipality Township First Allegheny
Warren City City Third Warren
West Chester Borough Borough N/A Chester
West Deer Township Township Second Allegheny
Whitehall Borough Borough N/A Allegheny
Whitehall Township Township First Lehigh
Whitemarsh Township Township Second Montgomery
Wilkes-Barre City City Third Luzerne
Wilkes-Barre Township Township First Luzerne
Youngsville Borough Borough N/A Warren

Counties with home rule chartersEdit

Counties with a home rule charter, of which there are 7, may design their own form of county government, but are still generally subject to the County Code (which covers first-, third-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-class counties) or the Second-Class County Code (which covers second-class and second-class A counties). Because home rule charters primarily function to change the form of local government, and do not significantly change the relationship between a county and the state, as they do with municipalities, counties with home rule charters are still generally considered counties under state law.

Philadelphia County is unique in Pennsylvania in that it is a consolidated city-county, and so while the county is technically not governed by a home rule charter (and is therefore not included on the list), the fact that Philadelphia City (which constitutes the same land area as and administers all the governmental affairs of Philadelphia County) is a home rule municipality means that in practice the county is as well.

Name Class
Allegheny Second
Delaware Second A
Erie Third
Lackawanna Third
Lehigh Third
Luzerne Third
Northampton Third

Optional charter and optional plan municipalitiesEdit

In addition to home rule charters, two other forms of non-standard government exist in Pennsylvania: optional plans and optional charters. Optional charters are older (dating from 1957 rather than 1972), and were originally available only to third-class cities; it is no longer possible to apply for an optional charter (since 1972), but those cities which already had them and which did not adopt home rule charters, of which there are 11, retain them. Optional plans may be adopted by any municipality, and function essentially the same as optional charters (except that they have been generalized to accommodate other municipalities). They both allow the municipality to adopt a form of government that differs from the type proscribed by the municipal code that municipality is subject to, but do not change the municipality's relationship with the state government. Therefore, they are still considered boroughs (of which there are 2), third-class cities (of which there are 3), or townships of the first- (of which there is 1) or second-class (of there are 5), respectively, under state law.

Name Charter/Plan Type Class County
Bensalem Plan Township Second Bucks
Bethlehem Charter City Third Lehigh
Bristol Plan Township First Bucks
College Plan Township Second Centre
DuBois Plan City Third Clearfield
Erie Charter City Third Erie
Harrisburg Charter City Third Dauphin
Hazleton Plan City Third Luzerne
Indiana Plan Township Second Allegheny
Lancaster Charter City Third Lancaster
Lock Haven Charter City Third Clinton
Lower Saucon Plan Township Second Northampton
Meadville Charter City Third Crawford
New Castle Charter City Third Lawrence
Oil City Charter City Third Venango
Quakertown Plan Borough N/A Bucks
Titusville Charter City Third Crawford
Washington Plan Township Second Erie
Weatherly Plan Borough N/A Carbon
Williamsport Charter City Third Lycoming
York Charter City Third York

See alsoEdit