The Chester County Commissioners adopted Landscapes3, the county’s next long-range comprehensive plan, during a public hearing Thursday night.
Landscapes3 seeks to balance preservation with growth across the county’s landscapes through six goal areas: Preserve, Protect, Appreciate, Live, Prosper, and Connect. To continue to balance growth and preservation, Landscapes3 recommits to core principles that will position the county and its municipalities for success, including resource preservation, revitalized urban and suburban centers, housing diversity, transportation choices, collaboration and resiliency.
“Landscapes3 will renew our commitment to balancing growth and preservation while embracing the unique characteristics of our county, including healthy natural areas, robust farms, cherished historic sites, and vibrant communities,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Michelle Kichline. “The plan also calls for diverse housing, thriving businesses, quality education and accessible transportation.”
“The plan addresses housing with multiple recommendations; all ranked as either a very high or high priority,” Commissioner Kichline continued. “In particular, Landscapes3 calls for diverse and affordable housing that meets the needs of all residents.”
The plan, which builds upon the original award-winning Landscapes that was adopted over 20 years ago, establishes a preservation and growth vision for the county and its municipalities; guides county government decision-making as well as municipal planning and implementation; and provides a framework for collaboration across municipal boundaries.
While anticipated growth continues to exert pressure, it also provides an opportunity to apply planning principles that embrace places, enhance choices, and engage communities.
“The plan recommits to protecting the county’s open spaces, farmland, natural resources, and historic landscapes,” stated Commissioner Kathi Cozzone. “We will be working to advance the protection and stewardship of these landscapes to bring about economic, ecological and quality of life benefits.”
Landscapes3 has been a collaborative process in which county officials and planners gathered input from municipal officials, residents, business owners, and other stakeholders. Development of Landscapes3 was guided by the Planning Commission’s nine-member volunteer advisory board and by a steering committee of 27 members who volunteered their time and expertise.
“The plan promotes effective multi-municipal and partner cooperation which will continue throughout the implementation process,” noted Commissioner Terence Farrell. “Landscapes3 also includes actions to build community resiliency, which will help the county respond to changing markets, technology and environmental forces.”
Now that the plan has been adopted, the Chester County Planning Commission board and staff will begin to take action on projects in the plan.
“This has been a long and worthwhile process in which we have heard from various stakeholders about what they value in Chester County,” said Chester County Planning Commission Executive Director Brian O’Leary. “The Planning Commission is looking forward to implementing initiatives next year while continuing to collaborate with our partners. We have a tremendous work program that touches on all the goal areas of Landscapes3.”
Some of the initiatives include completing an economic value of protected open space study; updating an inventory of natural resource ordinances; creating a National Register interactive map; generating an affordable housing zoning tool; updating an existing urban community design guide; and developing an up-to-date inventory of trails in the county and creating an interactive online map of these trails. Ongoing major Landscapes3 initiatives include updating the Vision Partnership Program, maintaining the Pipeline Information Center website, and continuing the Act 247 review process for subdivisions, land developments, ordinances, and plans.
For more information, visit http://www.chescoplanning.org/Landscapes3.