Interactive Online Zoning Map Helps Community Ask More Focused, Informed Questions

Upper Chichester, PA

Population: 16,901
Location: Suburb of Philadelphia
Size: 6.7 square miles

Solution Highlights

The Challenge

As Assistant Township Manager for Upper Chichester, PA, Barbara Kelley has fielded plenty of questions about zoning from residents, realtors, economic developers and her own planning staff.

The majority of questions she receives usually seek basic information, such as the property boundaries for a new home that a resident is looking to purchase. Other times, she deals with more complex queries that require precise measurements, and knowledge of unique land use requirements down to the parcel level. Even with the assistance and expertise of her zoning officer, Kelley has found that referencing detailed and relevant zoning information can sometimes take longer than expected to answer the questions thoroughly.

The Solution

In speaking with General Code at a local conference, Township Manager George Needles discovered that the company had a new solution called MapLink™, a tool that would allow staff, residents, realtors and developers to pinpoint general and detailed zoning information in an interactive online map. Digitally linked to the township’s zoning code, the tool would allow users to easily access zoning details from a computer, tablet or mobile device.  After an impressive demo, the Township purchased MapLink and Kelley and her team were given the go ahead deploy the solution in the community.

The results

Kelley admits that even after implementing MapLink she and her zoning officer still field a lot of zoning questions, but the type of call they now receive is much different. “The questions we get now are a lot more focused and informed because in many cases the person used the online map first,” said Kelley. “[Users] are able to confirm information they find on MapLink – so we aren’t starting from scratch as far as finding information. And I can send more educated emails to my zoning officer so he can help better answer their questions,” she added.

The Covid-19 pandemic was another chance for Kelley to test the value of MapLink. “From a safety standpoint, residents could get the information online without physically coming in to see us. And when they do call, I can show them the zoning while I’m talking to them. It’s a great engagement tool,” said Kelley.

Spreading the word

Kelley has seen the popularity and use of MapLink increase through one-on-one training sessions with staff and realtors, and general word of mouth.

She sees MapLink as an important tool for Upper Chichester going forward. “Everyone [in the township] talks to one another. Residents call me all the time for zoning questions on subdivisions and land development. They call me for zoning hearings and I show them MapLink, then they tell someone else. And we have some really good realtors who use it a lot who are spreading the word which is really cool,” says Kelley.

General Code is helping the Township of Upper Chichester, PA and other communities better serve the public with fast and efficient access to zoning information through MapLink. To learn more about MapLink and all of our Visual Zoning services, contact us.

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