When it comes to protecting Chester County’s environment and natural resources, municipalities can help their communities take action in a number of ways.
One way is through natural resource protection standards, which can be implemented by municipal ordinances in order to protect, conserve, and enhance the area’s resources and their functions. The best and most effective way to do this is comprehensively – as land, water, and ecosystems are often interconnected.
Areas that are important to focus on include floodplains, wetlands, riparian buffer areas, woodlands, steep slopes, and threatened and endangered species and their habitats. In return, protecting these areas from the potential adverse impacts of land development and other disturbances helps to reduce flooding and related damage, protects wildlife, improves water and air quality, and provides great economic value by reducing the cost for alternative methods of stormwater management.
Examples of these standards can be seen through the Brandywine Creek Greenway’s Strategic Action Plan Toolbox, Kennett Township’s Zoning Ordinance, Willistown Township’s Environmental Protection Code, and other local ordinances. Links to these examples can be found here.
Another way municipalities can take action to protect the county’s natural resources is by requiring a site analysis plan as part of their subdivision and land development review process. The site analysis plan identifies not only the critical natural resources, but the historical and cultural resources of an area as well. By providing a site analysis plan with a development proposal, a municipality can ensure that the design offers proper protection of the area’s natural resources and features.
Examples of municipalities that have incorporated site analysis standards into their subdivision and land development ordinances’ include East Coventry Township, East Pikeland Township, North Coventry Township, and Pennsbury Township. Links to these examples can be found here.
The Planning Commission’s eTools cover a wide array of planning topics, from natural resources to economic development. The tools are easy to read, providing a quick overview of each topic, a brief explanation of how it works, and considerations for addressing the topic or regulating use. An alphabetical listing of eTools is available in our Municipal Corner.