Planning Commission

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Jan 15

Montco 2040 Theme - Sustainable Places

Posted on January 15, 2015 at 5:01 PM by Rita McKelvey

Ardmore Crossing

The second of the three themes in Montco 2040: A Shared Vision—the county’s new comprehensive plan—is Sustainable Places. The county has many wonderful neighborhoods and communities, and these places need to be sustained and enhanced in a long-lasting and effective way.

  • Modernized Infrastructure Network. Safe and effective sewer, water, and stormwater systems, along with well-maintained roads and bridges, provide a foundation for ongoing economic development and protect the health and safety of the county’s residents. In addition, upgrades to communications and energy systems that undergo rapid changes will continue to be crucial.
  • Improved Stormwater Management. Flooding is the county’s number one natural hazard.  Many structures sit in the floodplain, and floods over the years have caused much damage. Impervious coverage and its resulting stormwater runoff continue to increase.
  • Protected Natural Resources. Our natural environment—wetlands, woodlands, and trees—reduce flooding, protect water quality, and increase property values. In fact, it has been shown that homes near open space have higher values, bringing $16.3 billion in additional value to the region’s housing stock. And climate change and variable weather patterns will affect the region in ways we can ameliorate with conservation efforts.
  • Opportunities for Healthy Lifestyles. Our built environment has a huge impact on our health, especially when it comes to the ability to walk and exercise conveniently. Chronic health concerns, such as heart disease and diabetes, continue to have an impact at a local level. And staying healthy is a challenge for county residents who are disconnected from fresh, local, affordable food.
  • Diverse Housing Choices. The stereotypical view of the suburban household is not the norm anymore. There are increasing numbers of smaller households, people living alone, and those who prefer to live in an apartment or townhouse. The county’s senior population is expected to grow 58 percent between 2010 and 2040—this is a population who may want to live in a smaller housing unit. And housing affordability continues to be out of reach for many—the percent of households spending more than 35 percent of their income on housing went from 16 percent in 1999 to 25 percent in 2009.
  • Enhanced Community Character. Since a house is frequently a family’s largest investment, homeowners naturally want to see their neighborhood thrive. Despite this, historic homes, downtown buildings, and institutional structures have been torn down over the last decade, leaving holes in the county that are hard to fill.  

You can further explore this theme on page 6 of the plan. Click here to check out the entire plan, an executive summary, and Montgomery County Today, the plan’s background document. 

Blog Author: Anne Leavitt-Gruberger, Principal Planner, 610-278-3727 


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