The township’s Comprehensive Plan was recently approved. As a member of HARB (Historical Architectural Review Board) and president of Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, I was part of the comp plan process, serving on the Historic Preservation Chapter component of the plan. Over the 2 year review process of the comp plan, there was an opportunity for much discussion between members of the HARB and Planning Commission. Discussion centered on the importance of preserving our historic structures yet at the same time allowing for development. The two sides were challenged to consider development opportunities but also to be mindful of the need to preserve historic resources. Although sometimes at ‘odds’, together we did reach consensus and were able to create a Historic Preservation Plan that should serve residents well in the years ahead.
Owning a 300-yr. old house here in Tredyffrin gives me an interesting perspective on development. Although I am committed to historic preservation, I do understand the need for development. What I suggest by ‘thoughtful’ development is more about consideration for the immediate neighborhood of the construction. Forward thinking about livable communities that have quality open space, a variety of uses — mixed zoning with sidewalks and the ability to walk to stores — and variety of building types — homes, apartments, stores, and other places to walk to or bicycle to. Historic preservation is smart business. Smart communities preserve their historic places as they develop. It makes strong business sense. Better models of development are economically profitable to a community. For example, tourism — much of it of the “heritage” variety — is Pennsylvania’s second largest industry. In 2001, tourists spent $20.5 billion Pennsylvaniawith a total economic impact of $37.2 billion in sales, supporting 618,000 jobs and $13.3 billion in compensation. Part of Valley Forge National Historical Park lies within Tredyffrin’s boundaries. We also have Philadelphia, Lancaster County and Brandywine all within a 30 min. drive that contribute to tourism dollars being spent in Tredyffrin. Preserving our history and our historic resources add to the character of our community and encourages people to want to live and work here and also to visit.