Livable Landscapes An Open Space Plan for Northampton County Adopted by Northampton County
Teresa Mackey, Senior Environmental Planner
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC), in partnership with Northampton County, completed Livable Landscapes An Open Space Plan for Northampton County (Plan), which was adopted by the County on Thursday, January 7, 2016. The purpose of the Plan is to guide the conservation, restoration and enhancement of the County’s open space resources and create linkages between natural resources; outdoor recreational facilities; greenways and blueways; farmland; and historic, cultural and scenic resources.
A vision statement was created to express the overall intention for the open space resources within Northampton County. The short form of the vision statement is “Our Livable Landscape” expressing ownership by the residents of Northampton County, using the term livable to express healthy lifestyles, natural diversity and community identity and using the term landscape to refer to the interconnected or interwoven open space features creating the backdrop to our everyday lives.
Our Livable Landscape – a mosaic of parks, farmland, natural areas, scenic views and historical and cultural sites promoting healthy lifestyles, natural diversity and community identity.
Presented below are the goals established for the Livable Landscapes plan. In the Plan, each goal has policies that provide more specific details associated with the goal. Implementation strategies are also provided for each goal and set of policies to describe the specific actions needed.
Goal 1 - Conserve, restore and enhance natural resources
Goal 2 - Provide and maintain an exemplary park, trail and recreation system
Goal 3 - Conserve, restore and enhance a greenways and blueways network
Goal 4 - Preserve farmland and farming to meet food production, economic and open space needs
Goal 5 - Preserve historic, cultural and scenic resources and landscapes
Goal 6 - Advance County open space resources and usage through funding, promotion, education, partnerships and other strategies
The Plan documents the accomplishments since the previous plan was published in 2002 and also presents mapping and analyses of existing resources; health, economic and environmental benefits discussion; and county park assessments. Information from existing LVPC plans (Comprehensive Plan, Greenways Plan, 1LV) and public participation were utilized in developing the Plan.
Public participation was a key component of the project. A steering committee was formed representing a wide variety of interests, including government, academia, industry, land conservation, tourism and real estate, among others, to provide input and feedback throughout the planning process. Public meetings were held throughout the county in an effort to obtain comments from a diversity of residents. A public opinion survey, mailed to a random sample of active registered voters in Northampton County, was conducted in October and November 2014 to gage interest on the different topics of the Plan. Key person interviews of four local businesses and County staff were held to solicit their ideas.
The Plan, which is available on the LVPC website at http://www.lvpc.org/livable-landscapes.html, is a tool to assist the County, municipalities, conservation organizations and other interested entities in the conservation, restoration and enhancement of the County’s open space resources.
For more information on this project, contact Teresa Mackey at (610) 264-4544.