Chapter 5 Update: Natural Resources and Environment


Urban planning for the future should address how environmental goals can be incorporated in the development of the City’s thriving urban activity center. This should be done in such a way that not only are natural resources protected and improved, but the community reaps the maximum benefit from integrating natural resources with the built environment. 

The existing Natural Resources and Environment chapter, written in 2005,  contains extensive narrative descriptions of the geography, geology, air quality, waterways, and flora and fauna of the City. Its vision focuses upon the protection, preservation, and restoration of the natural environment. Such defenses are essential, and indeed are required by laws such as the Clean Air Act and the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act.

Read the 2005 Natural Resources and Environment Chapter

The revised chapter is framed in the context of adapting to anticipated change: population growth, redevelopment in the City, and climate change.  It addresses air quality and climate; stormwater, streams, and natural springs; urban forestry and biodiversity; and solid waste.

Planning for the Future

The City's Vision Statement on Natural Resources and the Environment (or related to it) discuss:

  • Climate and Air: Reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants by 20 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2050 to mitigate the City’s impact on climate change, reduce community exposure to harmful air pollution, and enhance livability.
  • Stormwater, Streams, and Natural Springs: Protect the water resources of the City and the Chesapeake Bay from the adverse effects of pollution and climate change, reduce flooding, and improve water quality.
  • Urban Forest and Biodiversity: Protect and enhance the network of trees, green spaces, and naturalized land on public and private property throughout the City, and the native plants and wildlife it supports. Integrate urban forestry goals across all City programs, projects, and efforts concerned with environmental sustainability and resilience issues. 
  • Solid Waste: Reduce solid waste to zero to eliminate the harmful pollution associated with waste disposal; and expand the City’s composting program to include 75 percent of residential properties.

Chapter Update Timing

May 7, 2018Planning CommissionKickoff Meeting (Link to Video)
May 16, 2018Tree CommissionKickoff Meeting (Link to Minutes)
May 17, 2018Environmental Sustainability CouncilKickoff Meeting
June 18, 2018City Council
(Work Session)
Kickoff Meeting (Link to Video)
August 18th, 2018General PublicCommunity Meeting
August - September 2018General PublicFarmers Market Pop-ups and Survey
April 15, 2019Planning Commission (Work Session)Draft Chapter Presentation (Link to Video)
May 20, 2019City Council (Work Session)Draft Chapter Presentation
May-September 2019Boards and CommissionsDraft Chapter Presentation
Fall 2019*Planning CommissionFinal Action on Draft Chapter
Fall 2019*City CouncilFinal Action on Draft Chapter