Following Up: Virtual 2020 Fall Planners Forum

While this year’s Fall Planners Forum didn’t start off with a room full of planners chatting over pastries and hot coffee, it was still a great morning filled with lively discussion and conversation among attendees. Over 80 planners and others attended the virtual forum, which was held via Zoom from 8am-10am on Tuesday, October 28th.

As always, the first half hour of the forum was reserved for networking and catching up on current planning initiatives throughout the county. This time (due to the virtual format), attendees were split up into smaller breakout rooms, giving them the opportunity to meet and chat with some new faces.

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Active Transportation Inventory

One of the main concerns identified by Chester County residents during the update of Landscapes3, the county’s comprehensive plan, was the need for more bicycle and pedestrian facilities within their communities.

With funding provided through a grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Transportation and Community Development Initiative program, Planning Commission staff introduced the Active Transportation Municipal Ordinance Inventory and Outreach project– or ‘Active Transportation Inventory’ for short – at the ‘Trains, Trails & Traffic’ event held in December 2019.

An overview and summary of the completed Active Transportation Inventory was recently provided at the ‘Bicycles, Pedestrians, and Transit’ meeting on September 30, 2020.

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Bicycles, Pedestrians and Transit

This past September 30, the Chester County Planning Commission hosted a public transportation meeting, titled “Bicycles, Pedestrians & Transit,” which was a follow up to the “Trails, Trains, and Traffic” meeting held last December.

During this year’s meeting, the Planning Commission presented the results of the county’s Active Transportation Inventory, as well as transportation updates and other important projects happening around the county. All three County Commissioners’ attended the meeting, as well as 72 others, which took place via Zoom on a Wednesday evening.

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2020 Urban Centers Forum

Like most events in 2020, the Chester County Urban Centers Forum had to transition from what was previously a lively in-person event, to an online Zoom meeting. Nonetheless, thanks to this year’s dedicated staff, partners, presenters, and attendees – the 2020 Urban Centers Forum,  “Main Street Restoration and Recovery,” was a success!

New this year, the forum was broken up into two sessions, with the first highlighting “Main Street Recovery,” on Tuesday, October 13, and the second focusing on “Design” to enhance the character of our urban centers on Thursday, October 15. Both sessions featured an engaging group of panelists, as well as opportunities for discussion among attendees. There were a total of 121 participants, including the three County Commissioners.

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Measuring Up: How we Protect Chester County

Whether it’s to live, work, play or explore – Chester County’s natural environment is often one of the main reasons why people choose to spend their time here.

The county’s natural streams, floodplains, steeps slopes, woodlands, wetlands, and riparian buffers serve as a foundation to the region’s vibrant communities, and they provide an abundance of natural resources and benefits for various industries across the county.

As one of the six main goals found in Landscapes3, Chester County serves to “protect and restore critical natural resources to ensure a resilient environment that supports healthy communities.”

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eTools for Historic Resource Preservation Planning and Protection Standards

All over the world, historic communities and structures provide a visual link to the past by displaying elements and features that could not be reproduced on their own today.

This month, our highlighted eTools focus on methods municipalities can take to implement historic preservation programs to help protect these important historic resources, landscapes, and structures.

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Environmental and Energy Advisory Board Meeting

The next meeting of the Environmental and Energy Advisory Board will be held Wednesday, October 28, 2:30pm to 4:00pm via Zoom. To join the webinar visit or telephone US: +1 301 715 8592 and enter Webinar ID 985 0306 1778. We recommend beginning to log in at 2:15 in case of technical difficulties. The public is invited to join, and there will be an opportunity for public comment during the meeting. Please note that if you join by telephone you will not have the capability to comment or ask questions but you can email and we will respond promptly.

Southern Brandywine Battlefield Strategic Landscapes Plan

The Battle of the Brandywine was a critical military engagement of the American Revolution that took place on September 11, 1777. The action (and events leading up to the day of battle) occurred right here, spanning approximately 35,000 acres over portions of both Chester and Delaware counties, as well as New Castle County.

In 2013, the Brandywine Battlefield Preservation Plan was released (which stemmed from a recommendation in the 2010 Battlefield Study) as a way to work to preserve and raise awareness about the battlefield’s historic buildings and open space landscapes. The plan was completed as a regional planning effort, in cooperation with Brandywine Battlefield Task Force and in working with the 15 battlefield municipalities. The 2013 plan recommended consideration of battle-related local planning, land conservation, historic resource protection, and heritage interpretation efforts (such as signage). The plan also identified battlefield strategic landscapes, which comprised important battle events, open lands, and historic buildings, but were in need of further evaluation for directed local planning. Due to the battlefield’s very large size, strategic landscapes were divided into phases for specific study.

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Planning Commission Highlights Staff Member Chris Bittle

If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at the Chester County Planning Commission, you’ll find (among other things) our skilled team of graphics professionals. The graphics team is part of our Design and Technology division, and this month, we’re excited to highlight our Senior Graphics Specialist, Chris Bittle!

Chris arrived at the Chester County Planning Commission (by accident) back in 1987. What was supposed to be a summer lawn-mowing job for the Chester County Parks Department, (fortunately) turned into a long-time career when his plans fell through due to an ankle injury. When the secretary at the Parks Department saw that Chris was studying Graphic Design, she sent his resume upstairs to apply for the Planning Commission’s summer part-time graphics position instead – and he’s been here (more or less) ever since!

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Chester County Commissioners Recognize National Community Planning Month

In recognition of October as National Community Planning Month, the Chester County Commissioners have issued a formal proclamation noting the county’s many regional and local planning initiatives, both before and during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Change is constant and affects all municipalities in Chester County, and community planning can help manage this change in a way that provides better choices for how people work and live,” the Commissioners’ proclamation states.

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