A+ Homes Forum Highlights Housing for an Aging Population and Construction Costs

Continuing to focus on supporting homes for all community members, the Chester County Planning Commission hosted public sessions on housing for an aging population and housing construction costs. The “A+ Homes Forum” took place on Tuesday, November 17, and Thursday, November 19, with more than 75 people who attended the virtual Zoom sessions.

Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell attended Tuesday’s session, providing opening remarks regarding the county’s aging population. “Our county is working together to serve all of our residents, including and especially, our senior population,” noted Maxwell. “We have a number of departments such as our Aging Services Department, the Department of Community Development, and the Planning Commission, which are all offering unique services and programs to help ensure safe and quality housing for our senior population.”

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eTools Highlight Modern Day Office Trends

In this new COVID-19 world we’ve been living in, working from home has become more of a necessity than ever before. While “Home-based Businesses” have been around for many years, home based work and businesses have experienced a significant increase over the past nine months due to the pandemic, and they are anticipated to continue to grow (in both popularity and convenience) well into the post-COVID era.

Home-based businesses can be categorized as “no-impact” or “major-impact,” depending on their function, but regardless, must remain secondary to the building’s primary use as a residential dwelling. Municipalities can address home-based businesses in their planning policies and zoning ordinances, which include community benefits such as increased economic base, support for an aging population, expanded use of existing infrastructure, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced neighborhood conflicts.

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Landscapes3 Celebrates 2-Year Anniversary

Just over two years ago, on November 29, 2018, the Chester County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the long-awaited Landscapes3 – Chester County’s newly updated comprehensive plan. The updated plan provides an outline for what the county is expected to look like by the year 2045. Within the plan are six goal areas – preserve, protect, appreciate, live, prosper, and connect  – each of which speaks to, and serves to protect, the county’s natural features, landscape, and quality of life.

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You are Invited to the Brandywine Battlefield Task Force Webinar

Please join us for a fascinating FREE webinar highlighting new findings about the Battle of Brandywine, plus a sneak-peek into the next phase of Battlefield study, Thursday, December 17th at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Driving through the Brandywine Valley you’ve likely passed many historical sites! Did you know that the largest single day land battle of the entire 7-year American Revolution happened right here? The action and events of the Battle of Brandywine that took place 243 years ago (9/11/1777) spanned approximately 35,000 acres over portions of Chester and Delaware Counties, as well as New Castle County (DE). Featured will be new discoveries about Crown (British, Hessian, Loyalists) and American military activity in the southern battlefield (East Marlborough New Garden, Kennett, Kennett Square, Pennsbury) grounded in 18th century sites that still exist today! Register now!

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County Announces Important Updates to ‘Restore Chester County’

On December 4, the Chester County Commissioners and the Chester County COVID-19 Business Task Force announced an important update to the “Restore Chester County” website, which will provide the county’s businesses and residents with further “action steps” in order to help recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Upon entering the updated website, visitors will be presented with links to the new action steps, as well as the county’s current economic conditions, best business practices, and industry support. Visitors can find further information and guidance broken down into 21 specific industry sectors – ranging from agriculture, office settings, and retail, to schools, religious organizations, and sports & recreation.

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Congratulations to the Brandywine Conservancy’s John Theilacker!

The Chester County Planning Commission would like to congratulate John Theilacker, AICP Certified Planner and Associate Director of the Brandywine Conservancy, for receiving the “Award for a Leader – Professional Planner” by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association. With a 37-year career of planning work in both the public and private sectors, John has spent 22 of those years working at the Brandywine Conservancy. “It’s been my pleasure working with John on planning efforts in Chester County for many years,” noted the Planning Commission’s Assistant Director, Carol J. Stauffer, who submitted the nomination in recognition of John’s achievements. “John is greatly deserving of this recognition for his dedication to protecting the environment, natural resources and open space through excellent planning in Chester County and all of Pennsylvania.”

To learn more, visit https://www.mychesco.com/a/communities/pa-chapter-of-the-american-planning-association-awards-longtime-staff-member-of-brandywine-conservancy/

Measuring Up: How we Appreciate Chester County

Stories of our past help us to bridge the connection between what once was, and what now is.

As one of the founding counties in the nation, Chester County benefits from an abundance of historic structures and features – many of which have been preserved to help us understand and appreciate our region’s past.

“Places are storehouses of memory, collective and individual. The stories these places tell are enriched by layering, by not being frozen in time,” noted James B. Garrison, President of the Chester County Historic Preservation Network. “Appreciation is an inclusive process without artificial boundaries. Since conventional definitions of historic preservation isolate it from the larger meanings found in the cultural landscape, Landscapes3 [the county’s comprehensive plan] uses the word ‘appreciate’ to link stories with places, allowing for change, and for new stories to complement the old.”

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Following Up: Southern Chester County Circuit Trail Final Public Meeting

In late October, the Chester County Planning Commission held a second and final public meeting for the Southern Chester County Circuit Trail Feasibility Study. There were more than 50 people who attended the virtual meeting – providing great feedback for the project team to move onto the study’s final phase.

The need for a multi-use trail in southern Chester County was initially identified during the update of Landscapes3 as a way to connect the area’s boroughs and growth areas to one another and to the Circuit ­- the greater Philadelphia area’s network of existing and planned trails. This would not only support the well-documented need for safe bicycle and pedestrian transportation options but also supports the Landscapes3 recommendation to “create a county-wide interconnected trail network.”

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eTools for November: Creating a Sense of Place Within our Communities

Last month, our featured eTools highlighted methods that communities can take to preserve their important historic structures and features. This month, our eTools highlight methods that communities can implement to replicate historic development patterns. Both of these techniques help to create a sense of place within our communities, and provide a visual link to our nation’s past.

One way to replicate historic development patterns within a community is through a “Traditional Neighborhood Development” (or TND), which applies basic design elements to new development projects by requiring compact, pedestrian friendly designs with a mix of land uses.

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Staff Spotlight: Nancy Shields

The Chester County Planning Commission has a number of behind-the-scenes roles that are vital to the organization’s day-to-day activities and successes. Our Administrations and Communications team serves as one of these roles, and this month we’re highlighting one of our Administrative Support team members, Nancy Shields!

As part of the Administration and Communications team, Nancy is the primary administrative support for the Planning Commission’s Community Planning division Director, which includes contract processing for the Municipal Vision Partnership Program (VPP) as well as technical services invoicing. She also supports the Environment and Infrastructure and Design and Technology divisions, works alongside the Senior Demographer to collect and report the county’s Protected Open Space Tracking System (POST) each year, and serves as the assistant to the Senior Review Planner for Municipal Agricultural Security Area 7 year reviews.

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