Our firmís experience in producing comprehensive plans of the highest quality has roots going all the way back to 1969, when Richard Sutter -- who was then Director of the Blair County Planning Commission completed a twelve volume plan for Blair County. The firm that Mr. Sutter subsequently created has since completed nearly sixty plans at the borough, township, regional, county, and multi-county levels.
Our firm has completed over 25 zoning and subdivision/land development ordinances in the 1990's alone ranging from small boroughs and townships to rural counties.
Our firm has been involved in nearly 30 historic and cultural resource preservation plans and strategies including historic district nomination, national register nominations, historic district design guidelines, preservation plan, surveys and inventories, rehabilitation guidelines.
The firm has been involved in a variety of issues regarding the many aspects of housing. Most certainly, the condition of housing stock is a major factor in a variety of community revitalization and development activities. Housing conditions surveys have recently been completed for numerous communities in the Central Pennsylvania area: Altoona Enterprise Zone, Somerset Borough, Tyrone Borough, and Warriors Mark Townships. Building condition surveys were completed for: Altoona Greater Economic Development Corporation, Greenfield Township, Somerset Borough and surrounding townships, and Wyoming County. Building inventory studies regarding usage of structures, especially in downtown areas, have also been completed in the City of Uniontown, and Galeton Borough, Potter County. These studies often include housing, particularly in the second and upper stories of multi-story buildings.
The firm has administered a number of PA CDBG grants. In these activities, the firm is familiar with all regulatory aspects involving housing including fair housing assessment and 504 Reviews. Fair Housing Studies, required as part of the PA CDBG Program, have been prepared for the counties of: Blair, Fulton, and Huntingdon. They all were subsequently approved by DCA.
The firm has also prepared numerous market feasibility studies for FmHA, Section 515 Housing Projects for communities within Pennsylvania and Maryland. The firm also has experience in specialized housing studies. An example is the Laurel View Retirement Village Market Feasibility Study completed for Allegheny Christian Ministries, Somerset County. This study was used to create the financial backing for construction of a retirement village with a variety of housing options: single family, multi-family, apartment house, nursing home, etc.
Other housing related services include identification of historic homes, guidelines for renovation of historic properties and National Register nominations. The firm has completed numerous housing services and housing assessments to determine type, condition, and impact on land use. The firm has completed feasibility studies concerning the need for subsidized, elderly, and retirement housing. We have completed impact studies quantifying the economic impact of resort development.
Economic Development and Growth Management
RCS&A has been involved in a dozen Community Economic Recovery Program (CERP) efforts funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce since 1987. Completed studies include two for Blair County; one each for Tioga and Huntingdon Counties; one each for communities in Clearfield, Cambria, Bedford, and Somerset Counties; the Altoona Enterprise Zone; a regional analysis project for the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission; and a multi-regional analysis for SEDA-COG, the Northern Tier, and the Northeast Region. Many of these have involved state of the art data analyzes of economic structures and trends using highly desegregated data leading to the identification of economic clusters and strategic industries for business retention and recruitment. The county, regional, and state profiles developed under these CERP Projects are being used to guide policy-making at all levels of government. These CERP projects have helped define the firm as a major player in the economic development planning process in Pennsylvania.
In addition, RCS&A has been a long-term economic consultant to major regional and local development agencies. Work for these agencies has included preparation of long-term and short-term strategies, survey analysis of existing businesses, organizational development and support, enterprise zone definition, transportation corridor analysis, evaluation of potential development sites, and marketing plans and programs.
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