In a joint work session yesterday with the Arlington County Board and Arlington School Board, the Community Facilities Study
Committee presented its recommendations for a new siting process
for future County or School facilities or expansions. The siting process is intended to improve upon current practices and function as a project management tool to make siting decisions efficiently, effectively and with ample community input.
“The great work this committee has done over the last nine months has resulted in a set of principles both organizations can use to guide siting decisions as well as clear process suggestions that include active community participation,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “For the first time we have a common set of principles that can be used by both the County and Schools. This collaborative approach to using our scarcest resource - land - will be key to successfully meeting the facility needs of our growing, changing community.”
In her thanks to the group, School Board Chair Emma Violand-Sánchez said, “The School Board appreciates the dedication of this committee to help us plan for the future. While school enrollment is increasing rapidly, we also know that our community faces a challenge of limited resources in available land and revenue.”
She continued “The Community Facilities Study Group’s recommendations aligns with the process we are using currently with the South Arlington Working Group, and I believe these recommendations will help guide and streamline the Schools’ and County’s siting processes for future projects, and will help us work more closely with the County to address long-term capacity needs for Arlington’s children and families.”
View the proposed Siting Principles and Process
document. The Study Committee will present additional recommendations in its Final Report, which is scheduled to be presented to both Boards at a second Joint Work Session on November 10, 2015
The Committee proposed six principles to guide all siting processes, recommendations and decisions:
- Be as transparent as possible: share information broadly and communicate regularly
- Time and funding are limited: undertake siting processes in a timely and cost-conscious manner
- Use resources efficiently: explore multiple-use facilities and designs that could be adaptable over time
- Balance County-wide and local needs
- Guide discussions and decisions with established plans, policies and goals
- Distribute facilities equitably across the County as much as possible
While many facility siting decisions made in Arlington over the last 20 years have led to successful outcomes, public facility projects are becoming more complex as the County’s population grows and available land and resources become more limited. Previous siting processes from the 1990s that guided decisions on County government facilities have become less relevant and are no longer applied consistently.
The Committee’s proposal outlines a process that is intended to be used for significant County and School facility projects that require a physical location, either due to relocation or the construction of a new facility. The process could also be adapted to determine the preferred use(s) for a known site that is available for development.
The framework consists of four phases and identifies steps and outcomes of each phase:
- Scope identified use and process
- Identify potential sites
- Evaluate short list of sites
The principles and process place a strong emphasis on civic engagement and communication with a broadly defined public.Study kicked off in January
In January 2015, the Arlington County Board and the Arlington School Board launched a broad-based, year-long community facilities planning effort. The two Boards appointed a 23-member Study Committee
to build a consensus framework regarding the community’s future funding and facility needs, and to identify key challenges facing Arlington now and in the future, which, if left unaddressed, could threaten Arlington’s overall sustainability. The consensus framework will inform County and School Board decision-making related to meeting the community’s requirements for additional school, fire station, vehicle storage sites and other facility needs in the context of Arlington’s and the region’s projected economic and demographic growth.
To learn more about the Community Facilities Study, visit the County website