This Community Profile is a summary of relevant background information regarding open space, natural features, historic features and recreational uses, which may impact preservation policy and investment decisions. The section is comprised of five components: Historical Background, Regional Setting, Local Setting, Existing Land Use and Demographic Analysis.
Lower Merion is a community that is surrounded by a rich cultural and religious heritage, but what attracted our ancestors and our current neighbors to live here?
To answer this Lower Merion’s history can best be understood if we look at the various transportation networks that were used in the past. Let’s chronicle the development of our community from this perspective through four eras: namely, the river, the road, the railroad, and the regional highway.
THE RIVER ERA -
More than 12,000 years ago the first inhabitants of this area were a group of Native Americans who were part of a loose confederation of the Algonquin Nation called the Lenape. The Lenape who lived in this region were of the Unami Tribe which translates to “People From Down River.” They encamped along Ganoshowanna, which means “Falling Water” (Schuylkill River) and used this waterway as their means of transportation.
The Lenape practiced a “nature” religion; they had a devout respect for the forests and the streams. Their “wisdom-keepers” tell us “...land is something sacred and alive.... Our belief is to keep the Earth and all life in proper balance and in harmony. Each generation is here but for a little while, and while we are alive, it is our responsibility to see that the land remains pure and undefiled, so that our future generations may continue to live here in health and happiness.”
THE ROAD ERA -
In 1616, the first Europeans to appear in this area were the Dutch, who named our river the “Schuil-Kil” or “Hidden River.” A few years later the Swedes arrived, but it was not until 1664 that the English took possession of the region.
In 1681, due to a land grant from King Charles II of England, William Penn began his “Holy Experiment” in the New World. Penn was a Quaker and “Penn Sylvania” or “Penn’s Woods” was to be a refuge of religious tolerance. In 1682, the first Welsh settlers occupied “Merion.” These early immigrants wrote home to their friends expounding of the natural resources of their new homeland. “I hope it will please thee, and the rest who are concerned, for it hath most rare timber. I have not seen the like in all these parts, there is water enough besides. The end of each lot will be on a river...it is called Skool Kill River.”
Again, from the early records of Lower Merion’s ancestors, they described their new homeland as having a “Garden of Eden” quality. “...good land as any of Adam’s progeny need ask for. Its surface is undulating but not so much so as to make it undesirable for agricultural purposes... Over its surface, and through its miniature valleys, meander quite a number of streams of good soft water. So numerous are the rivulets that there is not a single farm of any magnitude without one or more fountains of the living crystal as Rebecca went to procure when she met Isaac.”
During these early years, hundreds of immigrants came through this area. Some stayed and occupied their new land and established working plantations. These farms were prosperous. The next priority was building a systematic road network that would link the meetinghouses, villages, and mills that were necessary to accommodate the needs of the community.
As America grew, so did the need from more roads to accommodate the trip westward to Lancaster, the frontier post to the “wild west.” As a result of building more roads, like the Lancaster Pike (1794), inns and villages began to appear along these roads to aid the travelers.
THE RAILROAD ERA -
The steam locomotive arrived on the scene and began replacing the horse and wagon. In 1832 the Philadelphia & Columbia Railway, the Main Line of the Public Works of the State of Pennsylvania, came on the scene, and in 1857 was replaced by the Pennsylvania Railroad.
In their marketing brochure the Pennsylvania Railroad described Lower Merion as “...its atmosphere is pure: it is thoroughly drained by numerous streams: its soil is fertile; and it is in a striking degree picturesque. Nature - the great landscape gardener - has carved and molded it into rolling hills and placid vales, and so studded it with trees and interlaced it with crystal rivulets, that the picture everywhere is lovely to look upon.”
This improved rail transportation system, and nature at its best, brought wealthy city dwellers in search of country estates. In the 1870’s, much of the “Main Line” was being transformed into a premier suburban community. Large farms were being bought up and mansions and country homes were replacing farmhouses. To support these large estates, schools, churches, railroad stations, hospitals, hotels and clubhouses were built. Lower Merion was becoming gentrified.
Another quote from a similar brochure states “...What is accepted as, ‘The Main Line’ of the Pennsylvania Railroad, forms a residential gateway to Philadelphia, which has no equal on the American Continent. The undulating country from West Philadelphia to Paoli is rich in natural scenery.”
REGIONAL HIGHWAY ERA -
As the steam locomotive replaced the horse and wagon, so has the car replaced the locomotive. With the abundance of automobiles, an improved road network was needed, and early in the 1950’s, the Schuylkill Expressway was constructed that hugged the Schuylkill River along the north and east boundaries of the township.
We are a living and evolving community that is growing in different ways than we did in the past. This master plan recognizes that Lower Merion is a suburban township connected to Philadelphia, which is the fifth largest city in the United States.
Lower Merion remains a highly desirable place to live and work, but the township is becoming more densely developed. These pressures for development and increased density require vigilance and continual effort to identify, resist or modify unregulated land development.
Good planning can minimize the impact of today’s stress on our township. If you look back at our history, nature has always been an asset of this community. “Where Nature Smiles” is Lower Merion’s legacy and it’s vitally important that open space continues to play a key role in the continued growth of the township.
Lower Merion Township encompasses 23.6 square miles, which is slightly larger than the island of Manhattan. The Township is located at the southeast corner of Montgomery County and is bordered to the east and northeast by Philadelphia County, to the south by Radnor and Haverford Townships of Delaware County and to the west and northwest by West Conshohocken Borough and Upper Merion Township of Montgomery County. The Schuylkill River forms the 7-mile northern boundary of the township and separates it from parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County.
Lower Merion is one of the largest municipalities in the Philadelphia region in both land area and total population2. It is the largest municipality in Montgomery County, in both population and land area, and ranks as the 9th most populous municipality in Pennsylvania.
The Township is characterized as an inner-ring, built-out, first generation suburb of Philadelphia. Lower Merion still maintains a strong connection with the center city employment and cultural attractions. However, besides the cultural and educational features immediately adjacent along the City Avenue Corridor and in Manayunk, the Township is largely segregated from the rest of Philadelphia physically, economically and socially.
Direct access by the Schuylkill Expressway, Mid-County Expressway (Blue Route) and multiple regional lines still allows Lower Merion to function as a bedroom community for Philadelphia. Additionally, in the last several decades these transportation routes have also provided residents access to the growing employment centers on the periphery of the region in Wilmington, King of Prussia and Fort Washington. Access to high-paying, regional employment centers and its relative geographic separation from surrounding communities has allowed the Township to maintain high levels of income and in many ways exhibit characteristics of an outer-ring, developing suburban community.
The high levels of income and property values have allowed the Township to avoid the fate of many other neighboring first generations suburbs of the region, which have experienced significant disinvestment and population loss. Lower Merion and the other former railroad suburb communities that comprise the ‘Main Line’, including Radnor, Upper Merion, Tredyffrin, Easttown and Newtown comprise a wealth belt extending west through Montgomery, Delaware and Chester Counties away from central Philadelphia.
Lower Merion Township also contains a unique political distinction by completely encircling the half square mile Borough of Narberth, which is located in the eastern portion of the Township. While politically separate entities, the Township and the Borough are in many ways functionally integrated with residents sharing cultural and recreational amenities.
The physical separation of the Township from adjacent communities and the rest of the region has also denied Township residents the opportunity to fully participate and enjoy regional open space and recreational amenities without driving. This is particularly relevant regarding the Schuylkill River Trail, which runs along the eastern side of the Schuylkill River and connects with the entire Montgomery County Trail network, Valley Forge National Park and the Wissahickon Valley Park. Even though it is just across the river, the lack of meaningful pedestrian and bike connections excludes Township residents from accessing this important amenity without driving.
While this report presents a plan for the Township of Lower Merion, the open space needs and resources of such a large and diverse community are most effectively explored at a smaller scale. Fortunately, the Township functions as a federation of smaller neighborhoods, each with a distinct history and identity. There is strong identification with local neighborhoods and residents are more likely to say they are from Ardmore, Bryn Mawr or Gladwyne than Lower Merion Township.
Lower Merion contains a total of 16 separate census tracts, each of which roughly corresponds with local neighborhood boundaries. For the purposes of this report the Township has been subdivided into 16 separate planning areas (Villages) and each planning area has been assigned a name generally associated with that neighborhood. (Refer to Villages Map)
Regional Location Map
The following geographic description of the Township is provided from the 1937 Comprehensive Plan:
Lower Merion Township is roughly rectangular in shape, approximately 6 miles long and 4 miles wide, and has an area of 23.64 square miles. With two sides bordering Philadelphia, Lower Merion forms a wedge pointed toward the heart of that city. The center of Philadelphia is less than five miles from the nearest point in the Township but little more than eleven miles from the farthest. In distance and in time, the communities of Lower Merion are closer to the center of Philadelphia than is a large part of the city proper. This favorable location, has, of course, been a major factor in the growth of Lower Merion as a suburban residential area.
Another physical characteristic influencing the development of the Township is topography. A discussion of this feature invites a division of the area into two parts roughly defined as north and south of Montgomery Avenue. The southern part is a gently rolling plateau largely drained by Cobb’s Creek and its branches. Elevations above sea level range from 250 feet at City Avenue to 400 feet at Rosemont. Through this area run the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Lancaster Pike. The easy grades and excellent transportation facilities have permitted intensive development of this area. Within it live 75% of the population and within it are located the major business centers of the Township.
The dominant physical feature of the larger section north of Montgomery Avenue is the Schuylkill River, which borders the Township on the north and east for over seven miles. Elevations range from 20 feet above sea level on the banks of the lower Schuylkill to 500 feet on the hills overlooking Conshohocken. Short, steep, tributary streams have carved narrow valleys through this more rugged area, resulting in less direct road systems but more scenic beauty. In olden times, the steep gradient of the creeks afforded valuable water power for mills of various kinds. Today, the comparative isolation and natural beauty of the area encourage the establishment of country estates and large suburban homes. This type of development should continue in the future as the rough topography discourages the intensive development characteristic of the southern part.
Politically, Lower Merion Township is a part of Montgomery County. The county was separated from Philadelphia County in 1784. Lower Merion was organized as a Township of the first class in 1900. Located entirely within the Township is the Borough of Narberth, one-half square miles in area. It was incorporated as a borough in 1895.
Next to physical geography, the most defining physical feature of Lower Merion is its transportation infrastructure. The following section describes the various components of this infrastructure, including the local road network, public transportation and freight rail systems and pedestrian/bicycle network.
LOCAL ROAD NETWORK
Lower Merion has a large and diverse road network and that includes two regional highways, several arterial roads and numerous tertiary and local streets. Of these, the largest are the east/west oriented Schuylkill Expressway (76) and north/south oriented Mid-County Expressway (Blue Route 476). Both expressways run along the periphery of the Township and the construction of the Schuylkill Expressway in the 1950’s effectively cut off significant public access to the last open sections of the Schuylkill River in Lower Merion. There are numerous access points to both expressways within and immediately outside of the Township, providing residents with direct connections to the regional road network and corresponding employment, shopping and cultural attractions.
As part of this planning process, the Township has investigated the narrow stretch of land between the expressway from Flat Rock Park to Belmont Avenue and from Belmont Avenue to the Penncoyd Railroad Bridge as a linear greenway. Between Flat Rock Park and Belmont Avenue the expressway is significantly elevated and acts to enclose the land between it and the river. This area is wide enough for creation of a multi-purpose trail and contains spectacular views of the river, almost always overlooked by motorists speeding by on the expressway.
The primary arterial streets in the Township are Conshohocken State Road, City Avenue (Route 1), which runs along the border with Philadelphia, Lancaster Avenue, which runs from West Philadelphia through Lower Merion to the western main suburbs of Wayne, Saint Davids and Paoli, and Montgomery Avenue, which runs from West Philadelphia through Lower Merion to Radnor. Montgomery, Lancaster and City Avenues also serve as the primary commercial corridors in the Township. Other significant roads include Belmont and Haverford Avenues and Rock Hill, Spring Mill and Wynnewood Roads.
LAND USE DISTRIBUTION
The Township has numerous property holdings throughout the Township that serve a variety of municipal uses. These uses include public schools, leaf composting facilities and recycling centers. Public schools serve as neighborhood green spaces and are well used by residents after hours for active and passive recreation. There is a potential for some other public lands, such as the leaf facility on River Road to be utilized for more active open space/recreational activities.
OTHER LAND USES
The Township has very little vacant land and what vacant land exists is often developed quickly. A significant percentage of Township land is devoted to transportation uses, primarily for the automobile. Roads are a significant image generator for the Township and Lower Merion has long-stressed the importance of enhancing them by planting street trees. Street trees and public landscapes are an integral component of the overall open space of the Township and comprise its “green infrastructure”. Issues relating to green infrastructure are addressed in the “Analysis of Green Infrastructure” section, later in this report.
LAND USE SUMMARY
Lower Merion has a well-defined land use pattern predominantly comprised of single-family detached housing at varying densities as well as number of large institutional uses. The overall pattern is anticipated to remain, but will become more dense over time as large residential lots, former estates and institutions are gradually subdivided. In order to preserve the unique open character of the Township, the preservation of large open spaces, particularly those along public roads, is crucial.
Lower Merion has the unique opportunity to ‘create’ new open spaces in commercial areas through redevelopment of underutilized surface parking lots or Brownfields. If designed properly, these new public spaces can become the town squares of the 21st century and anchor the revitalization of these districts.
The Township also has the opportunity to create linear greenways in conjunction with its extensive and diverse transportation infrastructure. For years roads and rail beds have been viewed as impediments to recreation and open space. But a fresh and creative look at these resources presents the opportunity to create an extensive network of multi-functional hard-surfaced trails alongside the primary transportation use. In turn this could transform a simple expressway into a 21st century multimodal transportation corridor.
The following section presents a demographic profile of the Township as a whole and compares that profile with the rest of the County and the region. While the population has remained relatively level for decades it may increase due to higher density infill redevelopment.
The community profile of Lower Merion is very different from the rest of Montgomery County or the Delaware Valley region as a whole3. Generally, the population of Lower Merion is older, better educated and much more affluent than either the county or the region. The Township has the highest levels of white collar and professional workers, married couples, and single-family dwellings in Montgomery County.
While there are striking demographic differences between the Township and the region, more importantly for this Plan, there are also significant demographic and land use variations between different villages within the Township4. Demographic differences within the Township are the result of several factors, including when the neighborhoods were originally established, the density at which they were originally constructed and their orientation to automobile or train travel.
Demographic variations between the different villages of the Township are particularly relevant to the Township’s open space planning efforts. Open space is planned at the municipal level as an interconnected network, but is practically experienced at the neighborhood level as a series of individual spaces by different individuals.
Open space functions differently and is perceived differently in each community. In Gladwyne and Rosemont, open space exists in large areas and helps to reinforce the rural, low-density pattern of the former country estates. In Wynnewood and Bala, open space is more formal and exists in neighborhood parks and along tree lined streets. Along the commercial districts of Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore and Bryn Mawr, comparatively small public plaza open spaces can function as town squares or commons. The low-density single-family homes of Penn Valley and College Park contain large private yards for the private enjoyment of open space, while the higher density multi-family developments near City Avenue require shared open spaces5.
This analysis was prepared using data from the 2000 Census provided by the Montgomery County Planning Commission (MCPC) and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). Additional economic and demographic projections have been provided by the DVRPC. Data has been analyzed at both the Township and Census Tract levels and has been integrated with the Township’s Geographic Information System.
The Township contains a total of 16 different census tracts. Each census tract is self-contained within the Township boundary and varies in size and population. Census tract boundaries do not follow political divisions, but generally follow conventional ‘village’ designations. For the purposes of this report, Census Tracts have been defined as follows.
Demographic and economic characteristics of a community have an effect on demand for recreation resources, opportunities and leisure services. While recreational preferences vary according to each individual, recreational interests are associated with characteristics of the population such as age, income, education, family relationships and trends in leisure spending.
The Township currently has an average population density of 2,504 persons per square mile. The Township’s average density is higher than the average for the United States (79.6), Pennsylvania (274.0), the Delaware Valley (1,438.9) and Montgomery County (1,553.0). This density is actually lower than other similar, first generation, transit-oriented suburban townships throughout the County such as Abington (3,631) and Cheltenham (4,084). While Lower Merion is the most populous community within Montgomery County, statistically, the Township ranks in the middle (36/62) in regards to overall population density.
Population density varies widely within the Township, from a low of 873 persons per square mile in Gladwyne to a high of 11,027 persons per square mile in West Ardmore. The density of Gladwyne is comparable with some of the County’s most rural communities, like Lower Salford Township (894) and Upper Providence Township (863). Statistically, Gladwyne ranks among the lowest quarter of all communities in Montgomery County in regards to population density.
Conversely, West Ardmore (11,027) and East Ardmore (9,926) contain some of the highest population densities in the County and have rates that are comparable with that of neighboring Philadelphia (11,241). In Montgomery County the population densities of East and West Ardmore are only exceeded by a handful of census tracts located primarily in Norristown, but also including single census tracts in Cheltenham and Pottstown.
While the extreme low population densities of Gladwyne and high densities of West Ardmore and East Ardmore are significant, these three villages only represent 20% (11,987) of the total population of the 16 total villages of the Township. Generally, population density within the Township is indicative of moderate, low-density single-family, detached land use pattern. In the majority of the Township, population density is generally lower in the northwestern quadrant near Radnor Township and higher towards the southwestern quadrant and adjacent to Philadelphia. Correspondingly these are the areas with the greatest concentration of large lot single-family homes and multi-family housing.
Since the 2000, census was released, the DVRPC has prepared updated population projections for every municipality in the region. According to these projections, population in Lower Merion was anticipated to remain flat through July 2003 (total net increase of 37 persons or 0.1%). However, Montgomery County as a whole was projected to grow at a healthy rate of 2.6%6.
POPULATION COMPOSITION BY AGE
Between 1990 and 2000 the median age of Lower Merion residents increased from 40.5 to 41.2 years of age. This trend is consistent with the general graying of America as the ‘Baby Boom Generation’ population continues to age. Between 1990 and 2000 the median age of Montgomery County increased from 35.8 to 38.2 years of age, which roughly corresponded to the pattern of the State (34.9 to 38.0) and the Country (32.9 to 35.3). The median age of Lower Merion’s 2000 population (41.2.) is older than Montgomery County (38.2) and Pennsylvania (38.0). It should be noted that Lower Merion’s median age is actually skewed downward due to the high percentage of college students residing within the Township.
Lower Merion remains one of the most affluent municipalities in Montgomery County, and has the 2nd highest Median Household Income in the County ($86,373) only behind Whitpain Township ($88,933). The Median Household income for the Township is significantly higher than that for the County as a whole ($60,829) or compared with the State as whole ($40,106).
JOBS LOCATED WITHIN MUNICIPALITY/
GROWTH AREAS MAP
The Township last prepared a Comprehensive Plan in 1979. The Township previously prepared Comprehensive Plans in 1962, 1954, and 1937.
The Township Planning Department, Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners are currently updating the demographics and examining the goals and community development objectives contained within past plans for the purpose of preparing a completely new Comprehensive Plan to face the challenges of the 21st century. This Open Space and Natural Features Resource Protection Plan is intended to serve as an element of the Township’s new Comprehensive Plan.
Since the Township last prepared a Comprehensive Plan in 1979, there have been significant changes in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC), which serves as the enabling legislation for municipal planning. Many of these revisions and amendments concern the required elements of a Comprehensive Plan and specifically address provisions for natural resource protection.
This Open Space and Natural Resource Protection Plan has been prepared to satisfy the natural resources criteria required under Element 301.6 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code in regard to natural and historic resources. This plan accomplishes that goal by comprehensively inventorying open space and natural feature resources within the Township and by providing an analysis of the issues facing these resources and by offering recommendations toward their continued protection.
This plan provides a detailed inventory and summary of issues facing the Township’s historic resources to the extent that such historic resources interrelate with open space and natural resource protection. The Plan includes a historic resource inventory and summary of historic resource protection issues in regards to open space and natural features. However, due to scope and complexity of historic resources and historic resource issues within the Township, this plan has not been prepared to satisfy the Historic Resource requirements of section 301.6.
The 1979 Comprehensive Plan, while 25-years old, remains the Township’s principal planning document. The core planning assumptions, goals and policies of the plan remain valid. Most of the policies and recommendations regarding open space recreation and natural resource protection have been implemented in the intervening years and are now incorporated within the Township’s land use and development control ordinances and within the current recreation plan.
Many of the issues and ideas presented within this 2005 Open Space and Natural Features Resource Plan are similar to, if not the same as, those faced by the Township in 1979. What is significant is the degree to which the plan has been followed, the issues have been addressed and the recommendations and policies implemented.
The goals and objectives of this Plan are generally consistent with the goals of the 1979 Comprehensive Plan. While new open space issues and new needs have arisen in the past quarter century, the Township is uniquely prepared to address them after having successfully confronted the majority of open space issues from 1979.
PARKS AND RECREATION PLAN
The Township last prepared a comprehensive Recreation Plan in 1996. The planning assumptions, goals and strategies of that Plan are still valid. A goal of this Plan is to implement the Findings of the 1996 Parks and Recreation Plan. That Plan is summarized in the section evaluating recreational needs and incorporated into this document by reference.
In May 1999, Township staff, under the direction of then President of the Board of Commissioners Kenneth E. Davis, prepared a strategic agenda to address the interrelationship between open space conservation, historic preservation, and environmental protection. This report entitled The Conservationist Agenda comprehensively examined prior Township efforts and policies and developed an action plan that integrated these issues into the core of Township planning efforts. The final report incorporated extensive stakeholder and community input.
The Conservationist Agenda outlined fundamental community values and assumptions and established specific goals to reinforce these values. Goals addressed the range of diverse and often competing administrative, open space conservation/outdoor recreation, environmental protection and historic preservation efforts within the Township.
The following summarizes the progress of the report:
• Develop a Conservationist Agenda process to elicit community
• Develop a Geographic Information System.
Open Space Conservation/Outdoor Recreation Goals
1999 Priority Projects
~ Implement park master plans.
~ Open space acquisition.
~ Mandatory dedication ordinance.
~ Natural Areas Stewardship Program.
2000+ Priority Projects
~ Expand the Natural Areas Stewardship Program.
~ Prepare a Township-Wide Trail Feasibility study.
~ Establish a Park Preservation-Giving Program.
1999 Priority Projects
~ Expand Street Tree planting focusing on commercial centers.
~ Convert Township fleet of light duty vehicles to compressed natural
~ Employ public education, enforcement and volunteers to remove roadside
2000+ Priority Projects
~ Evaluate use of integrated pest management (IPM) on Township parks.
~ Identify and address streambank stabilization.
~ Partner with schools and non-profits to educate children on environmental
~ Revise Natural Features Code to be consistent with Zoning and Subdivision
~ Map natural and scenic resources and integrate with GIS.
1999 Priority Projects
~ Rehabilitate bathhouses at Rolling Hill Park.
~ Seek a waiver of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 to
regulate satellite dishes in Historic Districts.
~ Stabilize Historic Resources.
2000+ Priority Projects
~ Evaluate expanding Historic Districts in Township.
~ Preserve Historic Roadways and Cultural Resources.
~ Promote Historic Study Area education.
~ Make the Township’s Historic Building survey more accessible
by placing it online.
1 Narrative supplied by Jerry Francis of the Lower Merion Historical Society.
2 The Philadelphia region, which includes Montgomery County and eight other counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is a complex and dynamic region. With a population of over 5.2 million people (in 1994), the Philadelphia region (the Philadelphia PMSA and the Trenton PMSA) is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the United States.The nine counties in the region are completely subdivided into cities, townships and boroughs; there are no unincorporated areas. In addition to the counties, school districts and numerous water and sewer authorities, there are 352 municipal governments.
3 For purposes of this report, the region is defined as the nine counties covered by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, including Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia and Montgomery in Pennsylvania and Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Mercer in New Jersey.
4 Villages include: Bala, Cynwyd, Gladwyne, Villanova, Merion, Bryn Mawr, Rosemont, Ardmore, Wynnewood, Penn Valley, General Wayne, Penn Wynne, Belmont Hills and Haverford.
5 Generally, the more dense the neighborhood, the more functional open space should be. In lower density areas children are able to play in their own yards (private), in higher density areas open space is more public and multi-functional.
6 DVRPC Data Bulletin #77, Municipal, County and Regional Population Estimates 2000 – 2003, dated August 2004.
7 DVRPC 2030 Long Range Plan
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