Introducing Two New eTools

Posted March 24, 2023

The Chester County Planning Commission is excited to share two new eTools which provide information to help better understand and implement relevant topics throughout Chester County's municipalities.

Solar Energy Systems Zoning

eTools Solar

Zoning regulations for solar energy systems can play an important role in the use and growth of solar energy, as they can provide predictability, help to reduce costs, and increase the use of clean renewable energy in support of the county's Climate Action Plan.

Without appropriate solar energy system zoning in place, municipalities potentially leave themselves and solar energy system owners vulnerable to misinterpretations on best practices and standards.

Some examples of zoning regulations in Chester County include Oxford Borough, which provides standards for the use of solar energy equipment as accessory uses to minimize the negative impacts on residents and properties while promoting the use of alternative energy sources, where appropriate, as well as East Goshen Township, which has a single permit application process for accessory solar energy systems.

Visit the eTool to learn more about zoning for solar energy systems in Chester County.

CCPC's Clean and Sustainable Energy webpage includes several solar model ordinances, as well as information on other alternative energy sources.

Sign Regulations

eTools Signs

Similarly, sign regulations can play an important role in Chester County's municipalities as signs provide a multitude of functions and help to maintain community character — but they can create hazards and misinterpretations if not properly regulated.

Common types of sign use in Chester County include wayfinding or directional messaging, identifying properties or businesses, advertising products or services, and protecting/informing the public, among other purposes.

A municipality typically regulates signs through its zoning ordinance using reasonable and objective standards that protect the public's health, safety, welfare, and community character. Sign ordinances can be quite complicated and involve a need to understand the ramifications of related case law.

West Grove Township, for example, regulates digital signs by limiting dwell time to a minimum of six seconds, prohibiting functions such as scrolling, and requiring dimming at various times to limit the glare and disruption of the sign's surrounding community or those passing by.

Visit the eTool to learn more about sign regulations in Chester County.

CCPC's planning eTools are intended to be user-friendly, providing a quick overview of each topic, an explanation of how it works, and considerations for addressing the topic within a community. Topic categories include agriculture; community health; economic development; environment; historic preservation; housing; land use; open space; transportation; utilities, infrastructure & energy. View the full list of eTools.