Neighborhood Conservation Plan
From the February 2019 Forester Newsletter
Neighborhood Conservation Plan Update
by Hutch Brown, Chief Editor
Want your local sidewalk repaired? A neighborhood playground renovated? A traffic or parking issue resolved? You need to ask the County, and one way of doing so is through Arlington’s Neighborhood Conservation Program. The program has given us neighborhood identification signs, traffic-calming circles in Northside, Glencarlyn Park playground improvements in Southside, invasive plant removal from Lubber Run Park, and more. Last December, the County approved funding for renovating Edison Park playground in Greenbrier.
The program also gives each neighborhood a framework for articulating its community goals in a neighborhood conservation plan. We might like things just the way they are, but conditions around us are changing. Arlington Forest last articulated a vision for the future in 1991, so we really need an update. The County will use our revised plan to align its programs and projects with our neighborhood conditions and goals.
The County guidelines call for these major topics: Land Use and Zoning; Street Conditions; Transportation/Traffic Management; Housing (including trends); Public Facilities and Services (including schools, libraries, public safety, and other County services); Commercial/Business Areas (such as the Arlington Forest Shopping Center); Historic Preservation; and Urban Forestry (including the neighborhood parks). The guidelines also solicit information about compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
What can you do to help?: Neighborhood inputs. A small committee of neighbors (Julia Battocchi, Esther Bowring, Hutch Brown, Karen Burst, and Liz Kauffman) is working on updating the 1991 plan. Currently, we are collecting neighborhood views on Arlington Forest’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (or SWOT, for short). Please connect to this link
Neighborhood survey coming up: Based on your SWOT inputs, we will formulate a survey and distribute it to every household in Arlington Forest for completion online or on paper. The survey results will give us the basis for recommending projects in our plan. Neighborhood walkthroughs needed. County guidelines call for a list of needed repairs to sidewalks and a list of any missing streetlights. For both lists, we will need volunteers for neighborhood walkthroughs. Bob Strawn, a veteran of the 1991 plan, has already volunteered for the walkthrough for sidewalks. To volunteer for either walkthrough, please contact Liz Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writers/reviewers needed: For each topic in our revised plan, we will need a volunteer writer to describe the current situation, along with any corresponding problems and opportunities. The county guidelines can help you decide what to include, although you might need to wait for walkthrough and survey results, depending on topic. We will also need reviewers with subject matter expertise, including on the ADA. To volunteer as either a writer or a reviewer, please contact Liz Kauffman at email@example.com.
Sample text: Parts of some sections (such as Urban Forestry) have already been drafted (in which case, if you volunteer for those sections, you can review and revise). The following excerpt gives a flavor of the draft plan so far. “In 2015, the Maryland-based Old-Growth Forest Network designated a 24-acre stand of trees in Glencarlyn Park as old growth (never been logged). The stand borders the asphalt spur trail that leads from the W&OD Trail up to 2nd Street South in Glencarlyn, in a pocket just south of Arlington Boulevard. The Glencarlyn stand is one of only two recognized old-growth forests in all of Arlington (the other is in Arlington Cemetery); it contains about 100 notable trees, some more than 2 centuries old. The county has an opportunity to protect a rare Virginia old-growth stand and to post an educational sign about it.”