Posted October 22, 2021
When it comes to the growth and preservation of our communities, Smart Growth plays an important role in accommodating inevitable growth and development in a manner that preserves the best characteristics of a community. By adhering to smart growth strategies, municipalities can maintain the great qualities of their current thriving communities even with new development.
Smart growth can help protect an area's natural environment, preserve farmland and open space, and make attractive, economically competitive, and socially diverse communities. The foundation of smart growth is based on successful communities across the nation, and includes the ten following planning principles:
- Mix land uses
- Take advantage of compact building design
- Create a range of housing opportunities and choices
- Create walkable neighborhoods
- Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place
- Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas
- Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities
- Provide a variety of transportation choices
- Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective
- Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions
Additionally, smart growth strategies provide benefits to communities such as community building through mixed-use development, air quality improvements, water quality improvements, redevelopment, fiscal efficiency, healthy living opportunities, and preservation.
Examples of smart growth in Chester County include the Unionville Area Regional Comprehensive Plan — which recommends development in or near areas of higher density that have existing access to utilities and major roads, and designates rural resource areas to protect the region's economic and cultural resources associated with active agriculture, open space and natural lands — as well as Honey Brook Township and Borough's Comprehensive Plan, which clearly defines growth areas and areas for preservation, and the Phoenixville Region Comprehensive Plan, which focuses on the Borough as a growth center while conserving surrounding rural and natural areas.
The Planning Commission's eTools cover a wide array of planning topics, from natural resources to economic development. The tools are easy to read, providing a quick overview of each topic, a brief explanation of how it works, and considerations for addressing the topic or regulating use. An alphabetical listing of eTools is available in our Municipal Corner.