ChesCo Receives Open Space Award
Posted October 25, 2023
Chester County's Open Space Protection Planning Program was recognized by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-PA) this past week. The award was presented at their annual conference, which was held in Scranton, PA on October 15 to 17.
The county was recognized under the Planning Project, Programs, and Practices category, and APA-PA noted the following highlights of the open space program in the award summary: "Prompted by a rapid loss of farmland and open space, Chester County's Open Space Protection Programs began in the late 1980s, with the State's first referendum to preserve open space. Since then, policies and practices aligned with public support and continuous funding has positioned Chester County as a statewide leader in land preservation and smart growth."
Continuing, the award called out the county's planning policies and studies that prioritize open space, including Landscapes3, the Return on Environment, and the Climate Action Plan. It also called attention to the many open space resources provided by the Chester County Planning Commission, such as the interactive open space map, design guides and toolkits, as well as funding for open space plans and ordinances through the Vision Partnership Program.
Additionally, the award noted that: "In 2021, the county reached the milestone of 30% protected open space, or the preservation of 148,000 acres and counting! In 2023, 78% of municipalities have adopted open space plans! The (awards) committee highlighted an excellent website, materials, and community engagement, and noted that perhaps as equally compelling is the spectacular demonstration of support, as evidenced in support letters from partner organizations."