Spring Planners’ Forum Highlights Economic Development, Housing, and new opportunities along the Brandywine River

It was a great turnout at the Chester County Planning Commission’s Spring Planners’ Forum on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 with nearly 60 people in attendance. Three presentations were given, with an introduction and welcoming remarks from the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art’s Executive Director, Virginia (Ginny) Logan.

Brian O’Leary, the Executive Director of the planning commission, welcomed the participants to CCPC’s ninth semiannual Planners’ Forum, which brings together professional planners from around Chester County to share ideas about contemporary planning topics.

Meredith Mayer, Associate Planner at the Brandywine Conservancy, discussed the Brandywine Creek Water Trail Feasibility Study, which consists of 26+ miles of water trail for both public and private use. Mayer presented an analysis of the study, including an overview of the Brandywine Creek Greenway, public survey results from over 500 individuals, challenges and opportunities, and their next steps and anticipated outcomes. A copy of the report is currently available online for public review until March 31, and a final report will be distributed in April.

Following Mayer’s presentation was Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of the Chester County Economic Development Council, Mike Grigalonis. Grigalonis talked about the CCEDC’s staff and layout, the core services they offer – including financing solutions, location services, workforce development, and innovation culture – a breakdown of their budget and funding opportunities, and the impact they’ve made in Chester County. Grigalonis stated that over the last 10 years, CCEDC has funded 946 projects for a total of $1,693,105,368.

Mark Evans, Director of Planning at Derck & Edson – an architectural, landscape architectural, engineering, and land planning firm – was the final presenter of the morning. Evans discussed the need for more diversified “middle housing” in Chester County, which includes any compact residential living unit with multiple tenants in walkable neighborhoods such as duplexes, townhouses, and bungalow courts. Evans also discussed zoning strategies for promoting affordably-priced housing choices such as modifying codes to permit mixed-use buildings, and providing incentives for housing density in walkable urban centers.

See all topics and presenters.

This event was the ninth semiannual Planners’ Forum presented by the Chester County Planning Commission.