Pennsylvania Chapter of APA 2010 Annual Award Winners

2010 Awards Ceremony

The PA Chapter of APA recently held its Annual Awards Program at the 2010 Annual Conference in Lancaster, PA. The following individuals and organizations were honored for their excellent contributions to planning in Pennsylvania. Congratulations!

Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan

Cultivating Community: A Plan for Union County’s Future
Union County Planning Commission

Creating a planning ethic in an area that has not traditionally done extensive planning is always challenging. Through an extensive public participation process, use of well-known outside experts, and creation of alternative development scenarios, Union County has accomplished this difficult task, creating an excellent county plan that will also function as three multi-municipal regional plans.

Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice

PGHSNAP: Pittsburgh’s Neighborhood Data and Map Resource
City of Pittsburgh, Department of City Planning

Nowadays, most data and information does not come through published books, printed reports, or bound data sets; instead, people search for data electronically. Pittsburgh, recognizing this new reality, has created a dynamic online data and map center for both more sophisticated users, like investors and government agencies, and more general users, such as residents and community groups. This trend-setting online resource has two main components: a profile area that shows basic demographic data and physical characteristics of a community and an action planning area that overlays different types of information to guide policy decisions.

Planning Excellence Award for Implementation

Mechanicsburg: Geared for Progress
The Borough of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, PA

Sometimes, in older developed communities, it’s difficult to get action on planning initiatives. That has not been the case in Mechanicsburg. In less than a decade, the borough has used most of the tools in a planner’s toolbox, including adoption of a strategic plan, a new comprehensive plan, a new historic district, a historic preservation guidebook, a shade tree commission ordinance, a new zoning ordinance, traditional neighborhood development zoning, a new subdivision and land development ordinance, enabling legislation for a downtown revitalization organization, a property maintenance ordinance, and a rental inspection ordinance. The borough has attracted new businesses, leveraged significant state and federal money, installed new traffic signals, and renovated the community pool. Overall, the elected officials, volunteers, and local activists in the borough have done a tremendous job of improving their community.

Planning Excellence Award for Public Outreach

Landscapes2, Chester County’s Comprehensive Policy Plan
Chester County Board of Commissioners

It’s often very difficult to get public input on important planning issues. People are busy; they don’t understand complex planning issues and laws; and they can be difficult and expensive to reach. For its new comprehensive plan, Chester County decided that traditional outreach approaches were not enough. In addition to public meetings, a steering committee, and focus groups, the county took advantage of web technology and social networking to reach residents, including an interactive web-based map, an online survey, a Facebook page, an e-mail list serve, and a current website with an eBook version of the plan.

Student Project Award

When Sunbury Builds It … They Will Come, The Sunbury Master Plan
Department of Landscape Architecture, The Pennsylvania State University

Working with real clients and places is excellent training for students, and they often come up with innovative ideas and approaches that others haven’t considered. This is the case with Pennsylvania State University Landscape Architecture department students who have worked with the town of Sunbury on specific recommendations made in a prior plan. Using this prior plan as a stepping stone, the students conducted detailed evaluations and made useful suggestions in a variety of areas, including parking, circulation, streetscaping, alley design, park design, and historic preservation.

Planning Leadership Award for Professional Planner

William C. Payne

Planning is not a profession for impatient people who have to see the results of their work immediately, particularly if they work in the Commonwealth’s more distressed communities. By the very nature of their work, planners look at the long term. William Payne, who has spent decades leading revitalization efforts in Delaware County and the City of Chester, has seen the results of his impressive efforts, as he helped plan for many major projects in the city, including Harrah’s Casino and Racetrack, the PPL Stadium, the Wharf at Rivertown office development, University Crossing mixed use development, and the Wellington Heights mixed-income housing development.


Many Thanks to the 2010 Awards Committee!

Thanks to members of the Awards Committee for the time and hard work they contributed to carefully review all awards nominations.


Brian O’Leary, AICP, Chair

Robert M. Behling

Cindy Campbell

Graciela Cavicchia, AICP, PP

Denny Puko

Brandi Rosselli, AICP

Vaughn Stebbins, AICP