Brownfield, Greyfield, & Infill Development

Have you ever driven past an abandoned industrial site or vacant shopping center and wondered what went wrong? In the planning world, these spaces are referred to as Brownfields and Greyfields – and they can be caused by a variety of factors such as irregular lot shape, difficult access, inadequate infrastructure, environmental contamination, outdated or obsolete design, and economic issues.

Although the two are similar, Brownfields result from the contamination of sites due to multiple prior uses (old steel mills, chemical or manufacturing facilities, abandoned buildings, former dumps, lumber yards, dry cleaners, gas stations and auto body shops), while Greyfields are usually not hazardous, but rather obsolete, outdated, or underutilized due to changing market demand, decreased buying power in nearby areas, changes in consumer buying habits, lack of investment, or architecture that no longer meets market demand.

While Brownfields and Greyfields both present potentially negative impacts to their local communities, they can also provide opportunities for redevelopment resulting in community revitalization, open space preservation, public safety, increased service demand, and more.

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Fall Planners’ Forum

The Fall Chester County Planners’ Forum will take place on Wednesday, October 6, both in-person at the East Bradford Township Building, and virtually (via Zoom) from 8:00am – 10:00am. This year’s forum will celebrate 25 years of the county’s Vision Partnership Program (VPP), with three excellent municipal presentations on successfully using planning to reach a community’s goals.

Presenters will include Mandie Cantlin, East Bradford Township Manager, who will describe the township’s extensive open space preservation planning efforts, Tony Scheivert, Upper Uwchlan’s Manager, who will summarize smart growth and village preservation successes, and Matt Fetick, Mayor of Kennett Square, along with Doug Doerfler, Council Member, who will highlight Kennett Borough’s successful revitalization and redevelopment.

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Updates from East Pikeland Township

Rusty Strauss, Township Supervisor from East Pikeland Township, recently attended the Chester County Planning Commission’s August Board Meeting to provide an update on current happenings in East Pikeland.

During his presentation, Strauss touched on various aspects of planning in the township – which is located along the Schuylkill River between Phoenixville Borough and Spring City Borough – as well as its zoning map, which features a mix of commercial, mixed-use, residential, and agricultural districts.

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Medical Marijuana – A Growing Industry

When we think of marijuana, we often associate it with being an illegal substance. However, this is quickly shifting across the nation as many states now allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, or even recreationally.

In Pennsylvania, marijuana is legal for medical purposes through the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act of 2016. It can be administered to treat a variety of serious medical conditions such as cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, autism, intractable pain – and the list goes on.

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Join us for the 2021 Virtual Transportation Forum

The Chester County Planning Commission will host the 2021 Transportation Forum, “Drivers, Deliveries & Dollars” on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 from 7:00pm – 8:30pm via Zoom.

The forum will include status updates on transportation planning, construction projects, and funding options from the Planning Commission’s Environment and Infrastructure Division, with presentations discussing current and planned transportation improvement projects, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s development of the Chester County Freight Plan, and the impacts of COVID-19 on our transportation system.

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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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