15 December 2009

Regional smart growth group hosts forum

YorkCounts is a big believer in regionalism and in better land-use planning. So we're excited about this coalition that was formed recently by representatives from York and Adams counties. And this group, the York-Adams Regional Smart Growth Coalition, is not made up of the usual collection of planners and township managers. This is home builders and real estate agents, businesspeople who have skin in the game for wanting to see growth managed more effectively.

The YorkCounts board recently endorsed the coalition's mission, which includes the following:

  • Encouraging environmentally sound development practices
  • Sustaining healthy farms and abundant farmland
  • Revitalizing our older urban areas
  • Fostering economic growth that brings high-quality jobs to our citizens
  • Assuring reasonable housing costs that keep home ownership within reach of most households and providing an array of homeownership opportunities in our communities
  • Matching infrastructure development with growth strategies
  • And encouraging growth in areas where infrastructure currently exists
Darrell Auterson, president of the York County Economic Development Corp., serves as the coalition's chairman. If you're interested in smart growth, the group's next meeting is 9 a.m. Dec. 16 - that's tomorrow - at the offices of the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties, 901 Smile Way, York. Brian Hare, chief of PennDOT's Design Services division, will discuss Pennsylvania’s Smart Transportation movement, and Brandy Heilman, executive director of Commuter Services of Pennsylvania, will talk about alternatives for commuters. For details or to register, contact Shanna Wiest at 717-880-1230 or shanna@rayac.com.

- Dan Fink

01 December 2009

Wrapping up the year

Couple things to talk about going into the end of the year.

First, YorkCounts will hold the second in a series of town hall meetings at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at William Penn Senior High School in York. The YorkCounts-United Way Stay in School Report to the Community will again be the focus of the meeting. Bob Woods from the United Way will talk about the report, and York County Judge John Uhler will talk about his work in combating truancy.

Next, the YorkCounts committee working to bring an International Baccalaureate regional charter school to York has three key school board meetings this month. York Suburban and Central York will hold their hearings on the charter school application at the same time - 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7. Suburban's will be held in the cafeteria of the high school, at 1800 Hollywood Drive, York. Central's will be held in the district's education center at 775 Marion Road, York. The York City School Board will meet at 6 p.m. Dec. 14 in the board room of the Administration Building, 31 N. Pershing Ave., York.

The York County Economic Development Corp. (YCEDC), a YorkCounts funder, will hold a series of public meetings this week and next week to inform county residents of the recently completed York County Economic Development Plan. The first meeting is 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2 - tomorrow night - at the offices of the Realtors Association of York and Adams County (RAYAC), 901 Smile Way, York. Go here to see the time and place of the four additional meetings.

Finally, tourism consultant Roger Brooks came back to York one last time to present a more detailed action plan to turn York into a thriving destination for locals and tourists. Brooks unveiled his proposed brand for York - "Creativity Unleashed: America's Industrial Art and Design Capital."

Some other elements of the plan include:
  • Establishing a small Market District, to be bounded initially by Beaver, Market, George and Philadelphia streets.
  • Creating a special downtown zoning district to allow for more street vendors and outdoor dining opportunities.
  • Making reinvestment in and a reorganiztion of Central Market a top priority.
  • Developing new signage and overhaul the parking to encourage people to come downtown on evenings and weekends.
Brooks said the city and Downtown Inc. should have lead roles in implementing the plan, with support from key community organizations such as the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the YCEDC. Read the Central Penn Business Journal's account of Brooks' visit here.

- Dan Fink