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Chester County Press

Clarifying points about VISTA 2025

02/09/2015 12:13PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Letter to the Editor:

In his article recounting the Jan. 15 unveiling of VISTA 2025, Richard Gaw successfully captured both its main themes and the optimistic tone of its presenters – but he didn’t specifically address its content.

In terms of what to do, VISTA 2025 lays out in impressive detail our business community’s recommendations for Chester County’s economic development. But there are some glaring flaws in both VISTA 2025 and the process by which it was created: VISTA 2025’s Goal 5 is misleadingly silent on where to do it.

It calls for infrastructure improvements in “Targeted Corridors of Opportunity” without ever specifying where those “Corridors” are! This will enable developers to claim that VISTA 2025’s “Targeted Corridors of Opportunity” can extend beyond the “Growth Areas” identified in Landscapes 2, Chester County’s award-winning Comprehensive Plan.

It fails to embrace “Smart Growth,” the Number 1 Land Use Policy in Landscapes 2. This will encourage Route 1 Corridor Initiative enthusiasts to claim that VISTA 2025 justifies sprawl development. VISTA 2025 misleadingly suggests that it reflects a general consensus on how to balance “Progress and Preservation”: It was completed without input from the Chester County Planning Commission and without engaging any representative sample of Chester County’s preservation organizations.

It claims “…broad input from throughout the county,” including a Community Questionnaire that “resulted in 302 respondents.” That represents less than 0.06 percent of Chester County’s population.

The Community Questionnaire did not present any of VISTA 2025’s Goals or Strategies for review or approval. In its Jan. 15 presentation, the Economic Development Council repeatedly emphasized that VISTA 2025 is not “one and done.” The first thing that needs doing is to retool VISTA 2025 to correct these shortcomings!

Jim Cornell