When a property becomes available on the open market, it can take municipal leaders weeks or months to research the property and decide whether it has natural, cultural or recreational features that could benefit the public. Or the municipality may not even be aware that a property is on the market until it has been sold. When there is a political will to conserve open space at the municipal level, an open space preservation plan is needed to help identify goals and priorities. A plan allows the municipality to better focus staff time and financial resources on projects that have merit.
An Open Space Plan is required for Act 153 funding. Act 153 is an Act amending the act of January 19, 1968 entitled “An act authorizing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the counties thereof to preserve, acquire or hold land for open space uses,” expanding its scope to include all local government units throughout this Commonwealth. The Plan should define open space conservation objectives. For example, the objectives may include: natural resource protection; agricultural preservation; cultural resource preservation; and planned recreation/trails.
ow can the "Open Space Planning and Prioritization" tool be used in the Brandywine Creek Greenway (BCG)?
- BCG Municipalities can use Open Space Planning to varying degrees to promote preservation of culturally significant open space, recreational opportunities and scenic views, and to plan implementation of a network of recreational trails.
- In order to respond to the municipality’s changing goals, needs, challenges and opportunities, the Open Space Plans should be updated regularly (e.g., every ten years).
- When translated onto an Official Map, the open space and recreation priorities of the municipality can be easily communicated to municipal constituents and potential developers. More importantly, designation on the Official Map sets up a one year period within which the municipality may initiate acquisition of interest(s) in the property prior to the landowner undertaking any activity subject to permit which may undermine the municipality’s conservation purposes.