In addition to the committee composed of members of the six municipalities' boards of supervisors, members of the CAC and public officials were in attendance.

The kick-off was held at Phoenixville Borough Hall in a social setting, and the work session followed at the Schuylkill Township Building, where Regional Planning Committee meetings are regularly held the last Wednesday of each month.

"The borough is appropriate because it's the center of the region - the urban center," said Phoenixville's James Lolli, vice chairman of the regional committee. "This is years in the making."

"I really am thrilled about this group getting together," said Representative Carole Rubley. "A lot of work was put into the Smart Growth Bills to enable projects like this."

"Regional planning is the way of the future," said County Commissioner Carol Aichele. "I think this is the growth corridor. And with so much growth, we have to be smart about it."

Chester County Planning Commission (CCPC) staff were represented at the meeting. Section Chief Dave Ward and Senior Planner Carol Stauffer attended the meeting to monitor the consistency of the region's plans with the county's landscape.

East Pikeland's Tim Cahill, chairman of the regional committee, described the kick-off as a milestone in the project that has been in the works since 2000. He also warned of the novelty of the project.

"There is no precedent set. It's all fairly new," Cahill said. "If we inadvertently stray from the path, the path isn't clear."

The regional committee have convened three previous times, where they spent long hours discussing the issues of the region. After their preliminary work, the public and CAC is now being brought into the process.

"The cost of doing nothing is just far too high," Cahill said.

The project team includes: Kise Straw & Kolodner (KSK), Cahill Associates, Traffic Planning and Design, Urban Planners and Smith & McMaster, P.C.

Outgoing project manager Joe Clemens, of KSK, presented an update of the regional committee's work to the CAC at the kick-off event.

Clemens said a survey is being sent to approximately 16,000 households in the region to determine feedback on such issues as farmland preservation, open space and traffic.

Clemens stressed the need for the original suburbs from the turn of the century, saying the region needed "a real community rather than suburban subdivisions."

"We have to promote growth in centers," Clemens said "It would be good if all the municipalities shared their strengths and weaknesses."

For more information on the Phoenixville Area Regional Comprehensive Plan or to complete the survey, visit www.phoenixvilleregion.com.

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