If you’re a municipal official, developer, real estate professional, or property owner who is looking for guidance on how to maximize the value of commercial areas, check out the Chester County Planning Commission’s award-winning Commercial Landscapes planning series.
The series includes four reports that discuss how current trends are affecting office parks, retail, brownfield, and train station areas throughout the county and provides recommendations for the continued health of our commercial landscapes. The reports focus on brownfields, transit oriented development, greyfields, and office parks and are available on the Chester County’s Planning Commission website.
Members of the Planning Commission’s staff recently won a statewide award for the Commercial Landscapes series at the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association’s annual conference, which was held from Oct. 22-Oct. 24 in State College, Centre County. The Planning Excellence Award – Best Practice honored the work of Community Planner Jaime Jilozian, former Urban Planner Justin Smiley, and former Community Planner Sean O’Neill. (Both Justin and Sean have moved on to new jobs.)
Jaime said she was grateful for the team effort that went into this project.
“I would like to acknowledge how valuable the contributions from the Commercial Landscapes Task Force and the other Planning Commission staff who worked on this project were to the success of the series,” she said.
The task force was comprised of about 35 people, which included representatives from municipalities and agencies along with developers and consultants.
“The Commercial Landscapes series was undertaken in an effort to align previous county initiatives, including VISTA 2025 and Landscapes2 (now Landscapes3), with local land use planning and (re)development,” said Tredyffrin Township Planning/Zoning Coordinator Zach Barner, who was a member of the task force. “The process allowed the project team and task force members to engage in meaningful discussions about the current state of our commercial spaces and what the future could hold for these properties if we take a proactive approach to placemaking. The format of the documents makes them easily accessible for both public and private stakeholders in their efforts to reimagine and reinvigorate some of our most crucial properties.”
The series was debuted at an event at Penn State University’s Great Valley campus in June. The event featured experts who shared ways for municipalities, developers, and consultants to better position themselves for economic development success.
“It is important to maximize the value of commercial areas in the county through realistic strategies that promote the best practices and respond to the changing market conditions,” Jaime said.