Chesco celebrates Planning Month

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Chester County Commissioners present a Community Planning Month proclamation to members of the Chester County Planning Commission. (Left to right): David Ward, Assistant Director of the Chester County Planning Commission; Matt Hammond, Chair of the Planning Commission; Commissioner Terence Farrell; Brian O’Leary, Executive Director of the Planning Commission; and Chester County Commissioners Michelle Kichline and Kathi Cozzone.

WEST CHESTER — The Chester County Commissioners issued a proclamation in recognition of the work done by local, county, and regional planners in conjunction with the celebration of National Community Planning Month at today’s public Sunshine Meeting.

“It’s important to take the time to acknowledge the valuable efforts and contributions of local planners, including those who work for the Chester County Planning Commission and municipalities,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Michelle Kichline. “Their work is significant when it comes to planning for our County’s future and balancing managed growth with preservation.”

Over 10,000 Pennsylvanians serve on municipal planning commissions across the state and they work with public and private sector professional planners to enhance the quality of life in communities.

“Good planning in our communities plays a vital role in every person’s day-to-day life,” noted Commissioner Kathi Cozzone. “Planning has an impact on everything from residents’ daily commutes to work to the type of homes and neighborhoods they live in.”

There are several examples of successful planning efforts in Chester County. The Chester County Planning Commission has been working on Brandywine Battlefield preservation and outreach for over 30 years and has undertaken multiple battlefield plans and studies in conjunction with other partners such as the Brandywine Battlefield Task Force. In the past five years, a new historic interpretive marker prototype for Trimbleville village was installed. Dilworth Farm and Strode’s Mill Barn were preserved, and Osborne Hill preservation was partially funded. For more information about battlefield preservation initiatives, visit: http://www.chescoplanning.org/resources/PubsHisResources.cfm

Another example of fruitful planning is the Central Chester County Bicycle and Pedestrian Circulation Plan of 2013. The Chester County Planning Commission, in conjunction with the Health Department, worked with seven municipalities to prepare a coordinated action plan to address transportation, public health, and the environment through improvements to walking, bicycling, and public transportation. East Goshen Township has done significant work to move forward the Paoli Pike Multi-Use Trail, one of the priority improvement projects in the plan. Planning for the Chester Valley Trail Extension to Downingtown, another recommendation in the plan, was completed. For more information about the Central Chester County Bicycle and Pedestrian Circulation Plan, visit: http://www.chescoplanning.org/transportation/OtherPlans.cfm

“These examples show that planners have the unique abilities and expertise to address the needs of communities in a comprehensive manner and look at the impacts of today’s actions on tomorrow’s communities,” stated Commissioner Terence Farrell. “Planning also allows for a collaborative process in which all residents have the opportunity to make choices that determine the future of their community.”

The rebirth of Phoenixville Borough also exemplifies positive planning. The Phoenixville Regional Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted in 2008 by the borough and five neighboring municipalities, included recommendations for expansion and revitalization of the borough. The Phoenixville Borough Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted in 2011, also included economic development recommendations. As a result of these planning initiatives, the borough has become a popular place to dine and shop in recent years. In addition, over 450 new housing units were built in Phoenixville in the past five years, and there is the potential for at least 1,000 new housing units to be built in the near future. To view the Phoenixville Regional Comprehensive Plan, visit: http://www.phoenixville.org/uploaded/PDFs/Projects/ComprehensivePlan_2008.pdf. To view the borough’s comprehensive plan, visit: http://www.phoenixville.org/pdf/Projects,Reports,%20&%20Studies/Phoenxivlle%20Comprehensive%20Plan%20FINAL%2008-09-11[1].pdf.

County residents can get involved with the development of Landscapes3, the next long-range comprehensive plan for Chester County, by attending a public meeting from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. October 26 at the West Whiteland Township Building, 101 Commerce Drive, Exton.

In addition to the Commissioners’ proclamation, the Chester County Planning Commission board issued a proclamation earlier this month in recognition of National Community Planning Month.  National Community Planning Month has been celebrated since 2006. The American Planning Association theme for 2017’s National Community Planning Month is Innovation in Planning.

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