New Garden supervisors adopt township's ten-year comprehensive plan
● By Richard Gaw
By a unanimous 5-0 vote at its May 21 meeting, the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors adopted the township's 2018 Comprehensive Plan update, a ten-year plan that extends the goals of its 2005 comprehensive plan and spells out the township's future goals and priorities.
Jennifer Leister Reitz, a senior planner with Thomas Comitta Associates and project manager for the plan, followed up her March 28 presentation before the board with a rehashing of the township's priority projects. They include pursuing funding and design construction along the Route 41 corridor, and making intersection improvements near Sunny Dell Road; developing an official township zoning map and ordinance amendments; updating the township's Greenways Plan, and advancing trail connections along Baltimore Pike; creating streetscape improvements in Toughkenamon, as a plan to developing it as a center for business and housing; conducting a marketing analysis to improve the economic development of the township; studying traffic calming ideas and forming a traffic committee; completing an historic resources atlas survey; implementing the New Garden Flying Field master plan; creating a New Garden Township brand and identity; and establishing a township park in Toughkenamon.
Leister Reitz' presentation was the final step in a multi-layered process that has included several meetings with township stakeholders, and collaboration with the township's Planning Commission, its board members, the Brandywine Conservancy, and transportation engineers, landscape architects and planners.
The township also held a community vision session at the township building on May 31, 2017, when dozens of residents provided input on what they considered were the key issues facing the township in the near future. The session was complimented by an online survey that yielded more than 300 responses.
The 2005 Comprehensive Plan, Leister Reitz said, set the stage for several initiatives that are now in place: the completion of the township's natural resources ordinance; its open space referendum that has resulted in the preservation of hundreds of acres of land; the sale of the township's sewer system and the regionalization of the township's police department.
“At its heart, a comprehensive plan is about the quality of life in a township,” Leister Reitz said. “Our approach to the comprehensive plan was to really ask the questions, 'What is important to the residents of this township?' 'What issues are they facing?' and 'How can we make that better in the future?'”
Reitz said that the township's comprehensive plan is meshing with the ideas and objectives seen in the comprehensive plans of nearby municipalities, and are both reasonable and sustainable.
“A required element of the comprehensive plan is to review the comprehensive plans of surrounding municipalities, to identify where there may be future conflicts, and where they compliment each other,” she said. “Far and away, this comprehensive plan is consistent with the surrounding townships and boroughs.”
Reitz said that a comprehensive plan serves as a major tool in terms of acquiring grant money from the state and county, that can then be used to leverage other funding.
“Can you adapt an official map? Absolutely,” Reitz said. “Can you update your Greenways Plan? Absolutely. There is funding for that from the county. It may not happen during the next round or a year from now, but it could happen within the next three years.”
In other township news, the board approved a 30-day extension to the township's final purchase of St. Anthony in the Hills. Township manager Tony Scheivert told the board that the township is doing some additional environmental testing on the site, and that he is confident that there will be an agreement of sale for the board to consider at its June 18 meeting.
At its Feb. 20 meeting, the board approved the township's acquisition of the 137.5-acre property for an undisclosed price.
The board also approved a joint collaboration between the township and Kennett Township to pursue a $250,000 multi-modal grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development, that if granted will be used to create a trail link from The Preserve at New Garden to the Kennett Greenway Trail.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.