The Chester County Environmental and Energy Advisory Board held their first meeting, via Zoom, on Thursday, May 28, 2020. It was a productive and exciting kick-off meeting, with all 21 newly-appointed Board members on the call.
Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz began the meeting by welcoming everyone to the group. “It’s great to see everyone here for the first real meeting,” said Moskowitz. “I’m anxious to hear the conversation and listen to all of the great ideas.”
Commissioner Michelle Kichline was also in attendance, adding to the introductions by addressing the county’s current situation and drive to move forward. “We’ve been so focused on COVID-19, but our environmental issues still continue, the world still continues, so this is a very important initiative for Chester County.” said Kichline.
Commissioner Josh Maxwell discussed the importance of creating the Board, stating, “I know it’s a difficult time, but the issues we brought here to address are critical to Chester County’s quality of life. They are things our neighbors, constituents, and communities want to hear about. We are all very appreciative of everyone being here to improve Chester County’s energy and the environment.”
Planning Commission Executive Director and Board Secretary, Brian O’Leary, highlighted some of the ways in which the Board directly reflects the goals in Landscapes3 (the county’s Comprehensive Plan). One of the Connect Goal recommendations, for example, discusses support for a clean and resilient energy network for the county, while the Preserve and Protect Goals are focused on open space preservation and natural resource protection. O’Leary added, “The whole concept of smart growth, transportation choices, preservation of space – it all fits the theme of protecting the environment here in Chester County.” O’Leary also provided a brief summary of the Planning Commission’s new municipal brochure, 50 Ways Your Community Can Protect Our Planet.
Members of the Planning Commission staff have been largely involved with this initiative as well. Jake Michael, Senior Demographer, provided an overview of the 2019 Open Space Totals in Chester County. He included a chart reflecting the county’s open space growth from 2010-2019, as well as information about the online tracking system, known as POST. Michael noted that each year the county moves one step closer to having roughly 30% of the total land area protected.
Planning Commission Assistant Director, Carol Stauffer, provided an overview of the draft Climate Action Plan process next – one of the key tasks that the Board plans to focus on right away. Stauffer gave a timeline and additional information about the Climate Action Plan, which stemmed from the county’s original Greenhouse Gas Reduction Report back in 2010. She talked about the status of the plan, as well as next steps for the Board.
The Chester County Commissioners announced the formation of the Environmental and Energy Advisory Board in the fall of 2019 with the intent of enhancing the county’s commitment to preservation and protection of the environment.
In February of 2020, the Commissioners appointed members to the board, which includes a mix of Chester County residents, local business owners, and representatives from various energy initiatives, municipalities, land conservancies, and departments throughout the county.
Leading the committee as Chair will be Jess Cadorette, with Paul Spiegel as Vice Chair.
The meetings are to be held on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 2:30pm to 4:00pm unless otherwise noted. Opportunities for public input, such as recommended actions, policies, and other information to share with partners, will occur at the end of each Board meeting.
There is a special meeting scheduled to take place on June 24, 2020, via Zoom.