Newly Released 2020 Census Data and Redistricting

On August 12, the Census announced that Chester County’s 2020 population was 534, 515 persons, which is a 7.1% increase from 2010, when it was 498,866. This new population figure confirms what everyone has been observing over the past few years – Chester County remains a popular and growing place, with a wide variety of housing being built around the county.

Chester County is expected to continue growing over the coming years; so, it’s critically important that local communities plan for this new development so that the county’s unique character and heritage are maintained.  The county’s comprehensive plan, Landscapes3, provides guidance on how to balance growth and preservation.

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Meet Our New Heritage Preservation Coordinator, Dan Shachar-Krasnoff

The Chester County Planning Commission is excited to welcome our new Heritage Preservation Coordinator, Dan Shachar-Krasnoff, to the team!

Having recently relocated to Center City Philadelphia with his wife, Dan is originally from St. Louis Missouri where he previously worked.

Dan enjoys the vibrancy and compactness of Chester County’s towns – Coatesville, Kennett Square, Oxford, Phoenixville, and West Chester to name a few – as well as the rolling hills, open space, and farmsteads of the county’s rural areas.

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Municipal Planning Grant Round 2 Open

The second round of the Vision Partnership Program (VPP), Chester Countys municipal planning grant program, is now open.  The deadline for applications is September 24, 2021 at 4 pm. Eligible projects include individual and multi-municipal comprehensive plans, ordinances, official maps, and a variety of studies. Efforts such as village master plans, trail feasibility studies, revitalization plans, historic preservation planning, stewardship plans, transportation studies, and sustainability/resilience plans are eligible project types.

Details and the application can be found online. Applications are to be submitted online by September 24, 2021 at 4 pm. Municipalities are strongly encouraged to  contact the VPP Grant Administrator and schedule individual pre-application meetings to discuss their applications. Such meetings must be requested prior to September 15, 2021.

Requests for pre-application meetings and other questions about the grant program can be directed to the Grant Administrator, William Deguffroy, at 610-344-6285 or wdeguffroy@chesco.org

Planning Commission to Conduct Monthly Meeting

The Chester County Planning Commission will conduct its monthly board meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday, August 11, 2021 via a hybrid meeting. The meeting will be held at 601 Westtown Road, Suite 270, West Chester, PA 19380 as well as virtually on Zoom. Please visit https://zoom.us/j/91604214510  to join the webinar or telephone 1-312-626-6799 and enter Webinar ID 916 0421 4510.  We recommend beginning to log in at 1:45 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. You can email ccplanning@chesco.org and we will respond promptly. The agenda, and minutes from past meetings, are available on our website.

Creating Complete Streets in Chester County

When we envision our streets, we typically think about the automobile. However, there are other important modes of transportation that should be prioritized as well – such as walking, biking, or moving with assistive devices.

Through Smart Growth America’s “Complete Streets” approach, communities can ensure that their streets prioritize safety over speed, balance the needs of different modes of transportation, and support local land uses, economies, cultures, and natural environments.

The Chester County Planning Commission recently held a public meeting to discuss a Complete Streets Policy for Chester County, which welcomed more than 35 representatives from local municipalities, transportation organizations, stakeholder groups, and others from around the region. Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz and Josh Maxwell also attended the meeting, noting the importance of Complete Streets in their opening remarks.

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Southern Chester County Circuit Trail Feasibility Study Recommends Major Projects

The Chester County Planning Commission recently wrapped up an 18-month study to determine the feasibility of developing a multi-use trail connecting Chester County’s southern communities to the Circuit – Greater Philadelphia’s existing multi-use trail network.

Major project recommendations included 20 miles of bicycle and pedestrian improvements along Baltimore Pike to create a unified “Baltimore Pike Bikeway,” and two multi-use trails along the US 1 Expressway: one in the in Kennett area, and one in the Oxford area.

Commenting on the trail study, Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline said, “In the 18 months since this study began, we have all come to appreciate, even more, the value of trails, not just for walking, biking and de-stressing, but for alternative methods of transportation.”

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New Population and Employment Forecasts Announced

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) recently announced their new population and employment forecasts for the region through 2050. While not experiencing quite as much growth as forecasted in the past, Chester County continues to grow at a significant rate, leading the region in both number of residents added, as well as percentage growth.

The new forecasts replace DVRPC’s previous 2045 forecasts, and include a population estimate of 645,673 residents by the year 2050 – a growth rate of 25.4%. When it comes to employment in Chester County, the new forecast anticipates 373,664 workers by 2050 – a growth rate of 23.5%. Despite the county’s significant growth rates, the overall region is seeing much slower growth, with an expected population growth of 7.6% and an employment growth rate of 6.9% by 2050.

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Updates from East Whiteland Township

Municipal representatives from East Whiteland Township attended the Chester County Planning Commission’s July 2021 Board Meeting to provide an update on current happenings in the northeastern region of Chester County.

They included Chair of East Whiteland’s Board of Supervisors, Scott Lambert, along with the Township’s Director of Planning and Development, Zachary Barner, and Planning and Development Coordinator, Brittany Carosello.

“It’s been a busy couple of years in East Whiteland,” noted Lambert during his opening remarks. “The challenges we face as both individual municipalities and as a county are complex and wide ranging, so it’s really great to know that we have the support of a world-class organization helping to guide us through this period of time,” he commented.

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Chester County Commissioners Attend Solar Tour at Marlboro Mushrooms

Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz and Josh Maxwell, along with other county staff, recently toured a local farm to learn how a large-scale solar facility is used to provide the electricity needs on a working mushroom farm.

The tour was led by Tom Brosius of Marlboro Mushrooms in West Grove – the oldest mushroom farm in the nation’s history dating back to 1901. While Marlboro Mushrooms’ solar panels provide energy to run the mushroom operation (and have since 2011), they are classified as an accessory use to the facility.

This initiative helps to support the “Connect” goal in Landscapes3, Chester County’s comprehensive plan, specifically in regards to its recommendation to “support a resilient and clean energy network.”

Furthermore, the county has made various strides to better understand and explore solar energy use through efforts such as the recently revised Draft Climate Action Plan.

To learn more about solar power and clean energy, visit the Chester County Clean Energy webpage at https://www.chescoplanning.org/uandi/CleanEnergy.cfm.

Funding Opportunity: Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program (TA)

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced the latest funding cycle for the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program (TA), which opened on June 28, 2021. Examples of eligible projects include bicycle or pedestrian facilities, bicycle and pedestrian education, conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails, construction of turnouts, overlooks and viewing areas, outdoor advertising management, historic preservation and rehab of historic transportation facilities, vegetation management, archaeological activities, stormwater management, and wildlife mortality mitigation projects. Learn more.