Loyal readers of this blog may recall that I have written before about waiting for the release of Arlington County’s Land Acquisition and Preservation Policy, recently re-christened as the Parkland/Open Space Acquisition and Preservation Plan or “POSAPP.” Seven-years in the making, the draft POSAPP is now available on the web.
The county has asked the public for comments before Nov. 5, 2012 so if you want your voice heard sooner rather than later, you will need to send your comments before the deadline to Bethany Heim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By way of background, POSAPP originated as Priority 2 in the county’s Public Spaces Master Plan, adopted by the Arlington County Board on Dec. 10, 2005. (For comparison, in December 2005, Barack Obama was just finishing his freshman year in the United States Senate). The master plan set a goal to “develop a land acquisition policy.”
While many in the park and open space community -- including the author of this blog -- may have comments regarding numerous parts of the POSAPP, I would like to raise with my readers an overarching policy question: should the county commit itself to maintaining the current ratio of parkland and open space to population as the county continues to grow?
According to Arlington’s “Profile 2012,” the numbers speak for themselves.
The county had 212,800 residents on July 1, 2012. By 2020, the number of Arlingtonians is expected to reach 233,400, a growth of almost 10%. How can we meet the park and open space needs of our growing population?
One way to do so is to set a county policy of keeping our ratio of parkland and open space to population the same in 2020 as it is in 2012. According to the POSAPP, that ratio is now 7.9 acres per 1,000 residents. (County Staff has promised to explain the methodology behind this number in the next draft of the POSAPP). Although the POSAPP acknowledges that “a growing community will strive to acquire additional parkland to keep pace with this measure,” the POSAPP stops far short of setting this as a goal.
What do you think? Should the county commit itself to maintaining the current ratio of parkland and open space to population as the county continues to grow? The deadline for public comments is just around the corner!