Downingtown Borough and its surrounding municipalities have experienced significant growth in recent years, which is likely to continue in the years to come. The Chester County Planning Commission and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), working with eight municipalities, are wrapping up a two-year mobility study which serves to identify likely impacts of planned growth, projected growth and several transportation improvements – such as the relocation of the Downingtown Train Station. The findings will be presented during two online public meetings on 5/18 and 5/20. Meeting participants will review the study’s results and recommendations at several representative locations throughout the Downingtown area. More information about the study and registration for the public meetings can be found here: dvrpc.org/Mobility/Downingtown/.
The Chester County Commissioners, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), the Schuylkill River Greenways and the Circuit Trails Coalition, recently announced the groundbreaking on Chester County’s latest extension to the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT).
“Congratulations to Chester County’s Commissioners and staff for making this complicated and critically important trail project happen,” noted Patrick Starr, Executive Vice President, PA Environmental Council and Circuit Trails Coalition, Vice Chair. “The Schuylkill River Trail is one of the most important in Pennsylvania and is a priority of the Circuit Trails network here in the Philadelphia area. Completing gaps, like this one, improves what we refer to as ‘connectivity’ of the system and dramatically increases usage by giving through access to so many new users as well as current trail users.”
The Chester County Planning Commission helps to provide grant information and resources to Chester County’s municipalities, organizations, businesses, and residents. The following includes recent announcements from funding programs which support the “Connect” goal in Landscpaes3.
They include the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Multimodal Transportation Fund, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Multimodal Transportation Fund, and the DCED Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program.
The Chester County Water Resources Authority (CCWRA) hosted the county’s first virtual Municipal Stormwater Summit on Friday, April 16, from 9:00am – 11:00am.
Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz and Michelle Kichline welcomed attendees to the Summit and highlighted Chester County’s legacy of land use and environmental planning and stewardship in their opening remarks. CCWRA’s Executive Director, Seung Ah Byun, then kicked off the presentations with an update on the county’s water conditions.
The Chester County Planning Commission tracks and reports the acreage of permanently protected open space within the county each year – including farmland, nature preserves and parks – through its Protected Open Space Tracking System (POST).
While there were many uncertainties throughout 2020, one thing that remained consistent is the county’s commitment to open space preservation. This past year, the POST findings indicated an addition of 2,100 acres protected in 2020 – bringing Chester County’s total to 144,000 acres, or 29.7% of the county’s total land protected. More acres were preserved in 2020 than in each of the previous two years, which is a significant accomplishment given the administrative and technological hurdles the pandemic caused.
Chester County celebrated another great year of open space preservation achievements during the 2021 Open Space Summit on Thursday, April 29. The virtual event was widely attended, with representatives joining in from multiple counties, municipalities, land trusts, conservancies, local news agencies, non-profits, and other related organizations.
The summit began at 6:30pm with welcoming remarks from County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline. As a strong advocate of the county’s open space preservation since the late 1980s, Molly Morrison (Chester County Planning Commission Board Member and former president of Natural Lands), noted the importance of open space preservation to Chester County’s character as a kickoff to the evening.
Each year, the Chester County Planning Commission collects and reports data on housing prices, housing affordability, and new housing units constructed across Chester County as part of the ongoing implementation of the county’s comprehensive plan, Landscapes3.
Despite a difficult year in 2020, recent trends of increasing housing prices, sales, and new construction carried on – proving that Chester County continues to be a desirable place to live.
In total, there were 1,732 new units constructed (the most since 2008), and 7,532 homes sold throughout 2020 (the most since 2006). The median home sale price also continued to rise last year, reaching the highest it’s been in inflation adjusted dollars since 2007 at $375,064.
The Chester County Planning Commission will conduct its monthly board meeting at 2:00 PM on June 9, 2021. This will be a hybrid meeting allowing the public to attend in person or via Zoom. The location of the meeting is Suite 351 in the Government Services Building (601 Westtown Road, West Chester, PA 19380).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond promptly. The agenda, and minutes from past meetings, are available on our website.
Vince Pompo, Chair of East Bradford Township’s Board of Supervisors, along with Rich Phifer, the township’s Director of Property and Recreation, recently attended the Chester County Planning Commission’s April Board meeting to provide an update on recent planning successes in East Bradford Township.
Their presentation demonstrated how strong planning can lead to exemplary results, with much of the township preserved as open space and growth focused in appropriate locations. To illustrate these successes, they described recent efforts and funding behind their Plum Run Corridor initiative, which includes a trail, riparian corridor plantings, and improvements to the Strode’s Barn located in the Strode’s Mill Historic District. All of these projects are included in the Plum Run Corridor Master Plan (2019), which was funded with a Vision Partnership Program grant.
The Chester County Planning Commission’s Heritage Preservation Coordinator, Karen Marshall, has retired from her position as of Friday, April 23. After 9 years with the Planning Commission and 14 years with the county (having started with Parks and Recreation back in 2007), Karen has played a key role in so many of the county’s historical efforts and achievements.
“Karen has been a passionate and effective leader in the historic community here in Chester County,” commented the Planning Commission’s Executive Director, Brian O’Leary. “She has done a great job of being an advocate of our region’s history, and has helped others to accomplish their goals on the historic preservation front as well. We wish Karen all the best in her retirement.”