2021 Metrics — Another great year for Chester County
Posted April 26, 2022
In addition to collecting and reporting on the Landscapes3 Success Stories each year, the Chester County Planning Commission (CCPC) tracks a variety of metrics for each goal area. These metrics provide measurable snapshots of progress on Landscapes3.
When it comes to open space protection, Chester County saw a total of 146,964 acres preserved by the end of 2021 (both with and without county funding). This represents an increase of 1.4% from the base year of 2018, and a milestone achievement of more than 30% of the county's land protected at 30.2%!
In terms of open space connectivity, a total of 9,494 acres of open space was protected within the 1/8th mile wide conservation corridors that follow the county's greenways and connect open space nodes. Additionally, a total of 83,845 acres of farmland has been eased and protected from development.
The ordinances of all 73 of the county's municipalities were reviewed to determine if they effectively addressed five specific Landscapes3 Protect resources: floodplains, steeps slopes, woodlands, wetlands, and riparian buffers. A total of 365 provisions were examined, and 220 were found to provide effective protection for the specific resource being examined. Additionally, 18 streams were measured on an index of biological integrity — which reflects both water quality and aquatic habitat — finding that 'good' to 'fair' scores have increased each year since 2018.
Each of the county's municipalities were also surveyed to determine if they have implemented three specific protection measures under the Appreciate goal: establishing a historic commission/committee or Historic Architecture Review Board (HARB); adopting a historic resource ordinance; and compiling a historic resources atlas map. A total of 219 protection measures were examined, with 159 implemented.
In terms of historic tourism, the total attendance at 11 of the key Cultural Heritage Tourism Sites in Chester County was 401,322 in 2021 — an increase of 2.9% over the past three years.
When it comes to the Live goal, there were a total of 3,743 housing units built in 2021, of which 24.5% were single family detached, 23.1% were single family attached, and 52.4% were multi-family homes. This new housing provides more diverse living options for the county's residents. Additionally, there were a total of 146 affordable housing units added to the market, with financial assistance provided by the Chester County Department of Community Development (DCD).
Park access remained relatively high in 2021, with the estimated population located within a Â½ mile of the county's public parks and recreation facilities at 70.6%. Also, Chester County's per capita municipal solid waste (aka household waste) decreased by 24 pounds per household since 2018.
The county saw a total of 1,132,151 square feet of nonresidential development in 2021 — representing a slight drop since 2018, which can be attributed to a reduction in commercial development.
In reference to urban center prosperity, the annual increase in total assessed value of properties was 1.49%. A total of 4,857 workers visited the county office of PACareerLink, a cooperative program where job seekers and employers share access to a wide array of job training, education, and employment services. This represents a drop of 72.2% since 2018, reflecting changing labor dynamics due to the pandemic.
A total of 18.3 miles of new on-road bike lanes, sidewalks, and multi-use trails (traveled by both pedestrians and bicyclists) opened between 2018 and 2021. Additionally, the average amount of time needed for a 15-mile trip on six of the major roadways during peak weekday hours in the county was reduced by 4.4 minutes.
And finally, it was reported that 92.4% of all proposed lots or units in growth areas were to be served by both public sewer and public water in 2021.