Chester County kicking off Landscapes3

In 1996, Chester County implemented a comprehensive plan to ensure that the spectacular vistas that had attracted countless residents to the area didn’t disappear.

Landscapes3 will aim to continue maintaining scenic vistas such at these rolling hills in Birmingham Township.

Landscapes3 will aim to continue maintaining scenic vistas such at these rolling hills in Birmingham Township.

Since then, significant growth has occurred in the county; however, Landscapes and Landscapes2 have been credited with helping to reduce sprawl, winning widespread recognition in the process. On Wednesday, Sept. 13, the Chester County Board of Commissioners announced the kick-off to Landscapes’ second update, Landscapes3.

During a presentation at the commissioners’ Sunshine meeting, Matthew Hammond of the Chester County Planning Commission pointed out that eight percent of the county’s open space enjoyed permanent protection prior to Landscapes; now the number is nearly 27 percent.

Hammond noted that an influx of 150,000 residents is predicted by 2045, reinforcing the need to have a plan that continues the focus on managing that growth through open space preservation, urban center revitalization, and municipal planning assistance.

“We’re very excited to be moving forward on this,” said Brian O’Leary, executive director of the Chester County Planning Commission.

Landscapes3 will involve a two-year effort that begins with a series of stakeholder meetings this fall, to determine the issues and challenges facing Chester County over the next 10 years.

“Twenty years ago, Chester County made a choice to redirect growth, to protect open space and to revitalize our towns and urban communities,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chairman Terence Farrell. “Landscapes and Landscapes2 have served us very well in doing that, but it is time to renew our vision and ensure that Chester County remains a highly attractive place to live, work and visit.”

Commissioner Kathi Cozzone said the success of Landscapes and Landscapes2 went far beyond the many awards the plan has received with visible examples of accomplishments linked to the plan, such as the county’s vast trail network and revitalized urban centers.

“Now is the time to begin the groundwork to carry our vision on for another decade,” said Cozzone.

The Landscapes3 update will involve three phases, according to Hammond: a “tell us” segment will focus on stakeholder meetings to gather background data on specific issues and trends; a “guide us” period will include regional meetings, a public opinion survey, and the drafting, refining and adoption of the document; and finally, the implementation phase will likely begin in late 2018.

“Public participation has been a key to the success of our comprehensive plan, and we strongly encourage all Chester County residents to provide feedback for the development of Landscapes3,” said Commissioner Michelle Kichline.

The Chester County Planning Commission, which will be responsible for the update, said numerous opportunities will exist for public involvement, ranging from a website dedicated to the plan to a photo contest.

Interested citizens are encouraged to go to www.chescoplanning.org for updates on the development of the plan and how to participate. For more information, contact Susan Elks, director of planning services for the Chester County Planning Commission, at 610-344-6285 or email selks@chesco.org with any questions or concerns.

 

 

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