Are we pursuing the best practices for smart growth and land conservation to preserve and enhance the scenic nature of Edgmont Township for generations to come?
Ridley Creek State Park is a scenic masterpiece in the heart of Edgmont. As an active horse person, I am committed to the idea to create and preserve a the trail network that integrates the park with the surrounding residential areas.
Maintaining the trail network is a simple investment that pays big dividends. A concerted effort to maintain walking trails, protect farms and preserve scenic vistas yields an unparalleled community amenity. Conservation is a proven path to healthy, active lifestyles and is also adds to property values! Read the May 2019 Chester County Report for the facts. https://www.chesco.org/DocumentCenter/View/49679/Return-on-Environment-Summary-Brochure)
Let’s consider learning from our conservation groups who have pioneered the way. The Natural Lands Trust, the Willistown Conservation Trust, the Brandywine Conservancy and the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trusts are a resource ready to be embraced. Or finding ways to connect to existing programs like Rails to Trails https://www.railstotrails.org/about/ for a more expansive view of where one might be able to travel distances on horse, foot or possibly bike.
The Willistown Conservation Trust (WCT) has very successfully used “community partnerships” to out-bid developers to purchase property. Once a “community partnership” controls the property, the land is sold with a conservation easement in place to protect the land in perpetuity. For a “tried and true” vision of how to preserve the beauty of Edgmont, read more about the tools the WCT uses in their Spring 2019 issue of The Sycamore https://wctrust.org/publications/ .
But, we must be smart about growth if we are truly committed to preserving the beauty of Edgmont. The Planned Residential Development (PRD) Zoning Code with the advance of public sewers, places the entire Delchester, Stackhouse Mill, Gradyville, Sycamore Mills, Forge and Valley Rd area at risk. Since the 1970’s, our supervisors have approved one PRD plan after another, welcoming dense development. Most recently, the Edgmont Country Club has been lost by our supervisors to a PRD plan for close to 200 single and multi-family houses.
With the right to build many more houses, the PRD Code ramps up land values. So, we must look to preservation techniques widely used in other areas of the country facing intense development pressure. The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association recommends a powerful tool, Transfer of Development Rights (TDR). In the Washington DC metro area, an effective TDR program protects farmland to preserve scenic vistas. Closer to home, TDR’s have preserved some of the the breathtaking viewscapes around Marshalton in East Bradford. Read the PA Land Trust Association’s brochure for a deeper understanding.
Finally, we must treat our property owners with the utmost respect to insure collaboration on the future use of their land, something Edgmont has failed to do many times over! Below is a vista at imminent risk of development due to our supervisors unbelievable and absurd actions. We must not let this happen on our watch!