The Planning and Land Use Department is responsible for the administration of all subdivision and land development activity, the land preservation program including an $8 million open space bond, the Plumstead Township Agricultural Security District, and general grants programs.
The department serves as the liaison and helps implement projects associated with the Planning Commission, Historic Advisory Committee (HAC), Environmental Advisory Council (EAC), and the Agricultural Committee. In addition, staff works with other Township departments to implement recycling, parks and open space grant programs.
The department assists the Township EAC with many projects including stormwater basin retrofits in accordance with best management practices, the drafting of an environmental resource inventory, the creation of a new parking lot shade tree and landscaping ordinance and the implementation of riparian buffer restoration projects.
Additionally, staff worked with the Historic Advisory Committee and Arcadia Publishing to complete the local photographic history of the Township. The book was published in 2005 and is available for purchase at the Township Office.
The goal of Plumstead Township's land preservation program is to maintain open space throughout the Township for agriculture, parks and the protection of natural resources. Funds from three voter-approved bond referendums have allowed the Township to purchase land for these purposes as well as to purchase conservation easements on privately-owned land. The conservation easement program is the Township's primary vehicle for preserving land, with over 2,800 acres of land preserved through 2011.
Methods used to preserve land by conservation easement vary according to available funding, the property owner's needs, and how the proposed easement fits into the open space goals. The Township strongly encourages easement donations and in most cases will contribute funds towards associated costs, such as a property survey and appraisals.
Easement donations are attractive to many landowners since they can provide substantial Federal tax benefits. The Township can also purchase conservation easements. To maximize preservation funds, the Township gives preference to those interested in bargain sales-purchases below the fair market value. Property under immediate threat of development may also be given priority in the nominating process.