For the past 25 years, Chester County Planning Commission Senior Community Planner Mark Gallant has helped municipalities develop road maps for the future of their communities. And he’s enjoyed every moment of it thanks to all the people he’s met along the way.
“Without the people, it wouldn’t be fun,” he said, adding that he’s grateful for the connections he’s made with colleagues, municipal officials, and community members.
Mark, who was recently honored by the Chester County Commissioners for his 25 years of service, has provided professional planning assistance to municipalities ranging from agricultural communities to urban centers. He has worked with more than 40 communities throughout Chester County and several regional groups. He has developed comprehensive plan updates, ordinance updates and revisions, and special studies.
Mark said he is particularly proud of the Oxford Region Multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan. He helped six municipalities work together to complete, adopt, and actively implement the plan since 2012. “It’s a great example of a regional effort that is continuing to thrive,” he said.
Mark also enjoyed working on the South Coventry Township Comprehensive Plan and the Elverson Borough Comprehensive Plan. In addition, he was the co-lead of the Cluster Subdivision Design Guide, which received an award from the American Planning Association and the National Association of Counties. The user-friendly guide has provided direction on how to place homes on a smaller part of a property in order to preserve open space and natural resources.
“Mark is a great resource for the county’s municipalities, helping them understand how planning efforts can help make a difference in their community,” said Susan Elks, director of the Planning Commission’s Planning Services Division. “From the Oxford Region to the Northern Federation to Thornbury Township, Mark has provided technical assistance and leadership to many of the county’s municipalities. Along the way he has displayed a great ability to connect to newly elected or appointed officials, as well as those who have served their communities for years.”
Mark’s work has implemented both Landscapes and Landscapes2, and he is playing a leading role in the outreach efforts for Landscapes3. Mark and the Outreach Team have conducted two photo contests that garnered 600 submissions, organized Planning Commission attendance at nearly 30 community events across the county, and led development of an interactive survey that attracted almost 6,000 participants. Within each of those efforts and many others, Mark has proven to be adept at helping new staff members understand the planning process, Susan said.
Mark’s career at the Planning Commission began after he applied for a Planner 1 position while finishing up his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture at Temple University. He was enrolled in a planning course at the time and realized how many people and places he could help in this field. He has been able to incorporate his design experience into his planning experience and has learned throughout his tenure here.
Mark grew up in Long Beach Island, New Jersey and has resided in Uwchlan for the past 20 years with his wife Sheila and their two children: 19-year-old Lance and 15-year-old Carissa.
In his spare time, he enjoys cycling of any kind, spending time with family, and traveling. As an outdoor enthusiast, Mark said he’s pleased that more county residents have expressed a desire for trails these days compared to when he initially moved to Chester County two decades ago.