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 and available at this link, 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.
The revised draft chapter is framed in the context of adapting to anticipated change. Increasing population and significant land redevelopment are driving vibrant growth in the City. Demographic projections indicate that the City’s population will grow by 42 percent by 2040. Redevelopment affects an average of almost eight acres of commercial and residential property each year, and more than 180 acres of commercial property and 2000 homes may be candidates for future redevelopment. Changes in demographics and land use are taking place at a time when the climate is also changing. Climate models for the Metropolitan Washington region predict gradually increasing average temperatures, greater temperature extremes, increased precipitation, and more frequent and severe storm events. The review of this Natural Resources and Environment chapter of the comprehensive plan is an opportunity to consider how development and investment in the City could respond to the City’s changing environment.
The draft Vision statement for the chapter, which is a general statement of what we want to achieve, is as follows:
Increase the resiliency and environmental sustainability of the City by protecting, enhancing and expanding the City’s natural resources; increasing the use of green infrastructure; reducing consumption and waste of both energy and materials; and using all possible means to achieve beneficial environmental impacts and enhance community quality of life.
The following draft goals, which would be integrated across all City programs, projects, and efforts concerned with environmental sustainability and resilience issues, are based on the vision statement above:
|May 7, 2018||Planning Commission||Project Launch|
|May 16, 2018||Tree Commission||Regular Meeting|
|May 17, 2018||Environmental Sustainability Council||Regular Meeting|
|June 18, 2018||City Council||Work Session|
|June 20, 2018||Tree Commission||Regular Meeting|
|June 21, 2018||Environmental Sustainability Council||Regular Meeting|
|August 18, 2018||General public||Community Meeting|
|August/September 2018||General public||Farmer's Market pop-ups|
|April 15, 2019||Planning Commission||Work Session|
|April - June, 2019||Boards & Commissions: Arts & Humanities Council; Citizens Advisory Committee on Transportation; Environmental Sustainability Council; Historic Architectural Review Board; Historical Commission; Recreation & Parks Board; Tree Commission|
Other civic organizations: Village Preservation & Improvement Society; Chamber of Commerce
|May 20, 2019||City Council||Work Session|
|September 3, 2019||Planning Commission||Work Session|
|September 4, 2019||Architectural Advisory Board||Regular Meeting|
|September 16, 2019||City Council||Work Session|
|September 18, 2019||Library Board||Regular Meeting|
|September 19, 2019||Environmental Sustainability Council||Regular Meeting|
|October 17, 2019||Human Services Advisory Council||Regular Meeting|
|October 17, 2019||General public||Regular Meeting of Environmental Sustainability Council|
|December 2, 2019||Planning Commission||Work Session|
|January 6, 2020*||City Council||Work Session|
|February 3, 2020*||Planning Commission||Action|
|January 10, 2020*||City Council||Action|