Thursday, October 27, 2016

Greenway Study Plan May Be Complete in 2017

Photo by Evan Brandt
Montgomery County Planner Donna Fabry with the regional planning
award presented to the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning
Committee recently by the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce.
What's the best way to manage the stream that runs through your property?

Should a township mow a field all summer or let it turn into a natural meadow if its now being used?

Can planting more street trees help reduce stormwater runoff in developed areas and reduce the need for costly storm sewer upgrades?

Its questions like these that may soon have an answer in our little corner of Southeast PA.

Well, not so little actually.

The largest greenway stewardship study ever funded by the Pennnsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is currently under way in 26 different municipalities in Montgomery and Chester counties.

Undertaken by a partnership between the Montgomery County Planning Commission and the Natural Lands Trust, the greenway stewardship study is looking at more than 4,000 properties in four adjoining regional planning commissions -- the Pottstown Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Committee and those in the Upper Perkiomen Valley, Central Perkiomen Valley and Indian Valley.

Overlay map shows different landscapes that
are part of the Greenway study.
Already a year old, the massive undertaking aims to inventory all parcels over 10 acres, identify the type of one of 10-landscapes it represents and to develop best management practices for the owners, whether private or public.

The data gather phase will be competed by the end of this year or the beginning of the next, said Montgomery County Planner Eric Jarrell.

Then the plan will be written at the same time the Natural Lands Trust, which is helping gather the data and assess the properties, will be writing a guide for the best ways to manage your fields, streams, forests and urban greenways.

Representatives from each of the four regional planning groups will then be tasked with helping the outreach effort to provide education and information to those property owners to help them make ecologically helpful decisions about how they manage their property.

The other item of interest which occurred during the regional planning meeting was discussion of major projects in Lower Pottsgrove, most notably Sanatoga Green.

Tom Troutman, the township's representative, questioned whether large projects such as these comply with the regional comprehensive plan.

Montgomery County Donna Fabry said that when Lower Pottsgrove changed the zoning that made Sanatoga Green possible, it was not in keeping with the regional comprehensive plan, but that the planners have no authority to stop it.

Here are the Tweets from the meeting:

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