Following Up: Virtual 2020 Fall Planners Forum

While this year’s Fall Planners Forum didn’t start off with a room full of planners chatting over pastries and hot coffee, it was still a great morning filled with lively discussion and conversation among attendees. Over 80 planners and others attended the virtual forum, which was held via Zoom from 8am-10am on Tuesday, October 28th.

As always, the first half hour of the forum was reserved for networking and catching up on current planning initiatives throughout the county. This time (due to the virtual format), attendees were split up into smaller breakout rooms, giving them the opportunity to meet and chat with some new faces.

Brian O’Leary, Executive Director of the Planning Commission, welcomed everyone to the virtual forum and provided opening remarks regarding this year’s topics and presenters. “One advantage of being virtual is that it allowed more people to attend the forum,” commented O’Leary. “Our presenters today are helping bring to mind the many different aspects of planning that we face on a day-to-day basis.”

Caren Andrews, Manager of Atglen Borough, Sara Pevaroff Schuh, RLA, and Jon Matz, of SALT Design Studio kicked off the forum, discussing the 4Parks Master Plan for Atglen Borough, as well as their strategies both pre- and during COVID-19. Their presentation focused on imaginative and innovative methods to boost citizen input and community engagement, including soliciting feedback, providing multiple platforms, and inviting the community to be stewards of their plan.

John Weller, Director of Planning and Zoning, and Justin Smiley, Township Planner (both of West Whiteland Township) presented next, providing an overview of some recent planning projects and developments in the Exton area, such as the Exton Crossing Improvements, Exton Park, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, and the Chester Valley Trail connection to Exton Train Station.

Paul Fritz, the Planning Commission’s Design and Technology Director, concluded the forum with a presentation on the Urban and Suburban Center Landscapes Design Guides, including background information, overviews, and next steps for implementation. The guides expand on the recommendations found in Landscapes3, and provide information about creating good development within our local communities.

See more about the design guides here:

The 2020 Fall Planners Forum was the Chester County Planning Commission’s tenth semiannual Planners’ Forum.

We hope you can join us for 2021 Spring Planners Forum! Stay tuned for more information to come.