Planning Commission Highlights New eTools

The county’s municipalities are on the front line of smart growth trying to preserve community character while responding to new development. The Planning Commission has a lot of resources to help, including eTools which cover a wide array of planning topics from natural resources to economic development. Each month we will highlight different eTools starting with Short-term Rentals, Breweries, and Mini-homes.

Until a few years ago, short-term rentals were not a major concern for municipalities in Chester County.  However, with the increased use of vacation rental sites such as Airbnb and Vrbo, concerns have increased regarding their impact on local residents and businesses.  The Short-term Rentals eTool was developed to provide municipal officials with the means to effectively address this use and prevent potential negative impacts before they start.

Local breweries provide great opportunities for economic development and destinations to draw visitors into a downtown.  However, they also can have unforeseen impacts such as crowds, noise, traffic, and light.  The Breweries eTool was created to help municipalities understand regional and micro-breweries and how to address their related uses including brewpubs, beer gardens, and tasting rooms.

Mini-homes, also known as mini-houses and tiny homes, are typically less than 400 square feet in size.  They provide opportunities for affordably priced homes, right-sized homes for the increasing number of one person households, and lower-impact, energy efficient residences.  The Mini-homes eTool provides resources on zoning for mini-homes and a nearby example of a mini-home community.


The eTools are intended to be an easy read, providing a quick overview of each topic, a brief explanation of how it works, and considerations in addressing the topic or regulating the use. An alphabetical listing of eTools is available in our Municipal Corner.