Fairfax Forward is an effort to develop a new model for comprehensive planning in Fairfax County, as a replacement for the Area Plans Review or APR process. The following presentation will describe the new model and include information about how you and your community can be involved.
Last time our staff spoke with the community in fall 2011, we asked you to evaluate your experience with the most recent Area Plans Review process as part of the APR Retrospective. We shared results of an online survey and sought your feedback on what worked well and what needed improvement, in order to determine how to proceed with future planning efforts. Since our last meeting, we have been reviewing what we heard and have been engaged in Fairfax Forward, an effort to develop an alternative means to manage and review the Comprehensive Plan.
In order to set the stage for the new model, allow us to briefly summarize what we learned from the retrospective comments. In general, we heard both positive and negative aspects about the Area Plans Review process. For example, many people stated that the APR process was an inclusive process, which allowed for anyone to nominate a change to the plan at any scale within a magisterial district, but the proposed changes were too focused on individual amendments and too reactive to individual nominations. The process became too parcel-specific and the outcome of amendments that were adopted was more like a rezoning document with very specific development conditions. Other people noted that APR allowed for many opportunities for community involvement, such as submitting nominations, participating in task forces, and speaking at public hearings; however, it was no longer common for communities to envision their future by submitting nominations. Instead, more common was the reliance on task forces as a means to simply review nominations. Finally, we heard that APR allowed the review of a number of nominations relatively efficiently, but the structure was too rigid and oriented to the process. There was little opportunity to modify nominations, and the process did not allow for countywide amendments or a means to amend the Policy Plan. As a result, many parts of the Plan were not reviewed and not enough emphasis was placed on monitoring the Plan as a whole. We recognized with these results that a more substantial change to the way we do business needs to occur, which moves beyond APR and suggests an alternative means of reviewing the Plan in the future.
The Fairfax Forward effort intends to do just that. In this effort, our task has been to develop a model that incorporates four primary goals: First, the review of the Plan should continue to occur in a systematic and structured manner. Having an order to review will allow for expectations to be established about what is being reviewed, when it will be reviewed, and how long it will take.Further, planning activities need to expand community participation and explore ways to involve community members earlier in the process. General education and knowledge about planning in the county needs to be improved with a greater variety of strategies available for public outreach. A wider range of community members should be involved in the formation of proposed changes, not just during the review. The model should allow for more flexibility in the review and the ability to review what makes sense. The geographic boundary of proposals should be logical and correspond to planning areas. There should be some relationship of the proposal to the Concept for Future Development, which is the guiding vision of the plan, and long-standing policy, and reasonable modifications should be allowed to the proposal when necessary.And finally, we recognized a need to prioritize monitoring the implementation of Plan recommendations and to keep all parts of the Plan up to date and relevant, rather than individual recommendations. This includes the ability to monitor where planned development potential is available in the county and whether we are achieving the policy goals.
The first step in working towards these goals has been to bring many parts of the Plan up to date and into a more usable format, which we have been completing this year. We have completed an evaluation of the State of the Plan and a Plan amendment database, have brought the Comprehensive Land Use Plan Map and the Concept for Future Development up to date, and are currently working on editorial updates to portions of the Plan.
The State of the Plan was published in May 2012 and focuses on the last ten years of planning and development activity. The document, available online, provides amendment statistics, planning trends that have emerged from proposed amendments, and compares existing and planned development potential in activity centers. For more information, the web address for the document is shown on this slide.
The Board of Supervisors adopted a revised Comprehensive Land Use Plan Map on June 19th, 2012. The map has been converted to an electronic format, using Geographic Information Systems technology to include amendments, adopted since its last publication in 1995 and some existing conditions. The map will be available online now and will continue to be updated routinely as future amendments are adopted.
The Board of Supervisors also adopted an updated Concept for Future Development and Land Classifications System and Concept Map on June 19th, 2012. As you may know, the Concept is the roadmap for the Comprehensive Plan and was last adopted in concept by the Board of Supervisors in 1990. This new update converts the map to an electronic format with an update to reflect future Metrorail stations in Tysons Corner and Dulles Toll Road. Some of the land classifications are updated as well to reflect current policy.
Editorial updates of the Overview and Character sections of the planning districts and planning sectors are currently underway to reflect existing conditions and background information about these areas. Many of which have not been reviewed since the 1990s. The drafts will be available online for review and comment towards the end of the summer. And finally, a Plan amendment database has been created that allows amendment history to be searched by geography, type of amendment, and outcome. We are working on developing an online program for this database as well.
Once these tasks are completed in 2013, we propose to launch into our new planning model, which we believe to be a more contemporary approach to how we conduct planning in this county. This new model would replace the Area Plans Review process. The format will be changing into an ongoing work program. The work program will track planning activities for a three year period. Review of the items listed on the work program will be reviewed in the interim, informed by plan monitoring efforts. It will have four components: Activity center planning, Neighborhood planning, Policy Plan and countywide amendments, and Board authorized Plan amendments and special studies.
Activity center planning and neighborhood planning will be organized around the land classifications of the Concept for Future Development. Activity center planning will begin with suburban centers, and move through transit station areas, community business centers, industrial areas, and the urban center. Neighborhood planning will focus on areas outside the activity centers, such as suburban neighborhoods and low density residential areas. The scope of the individual studies will be designed on a case by case basis to meet individual needs of a particular area, as is done in our current methodology for special studies. As a result, we are not talking about wholesale review of areas or policies, but rather a focused approach that works through a collaborative effort among stakeholders to pinpoint evolving community needs or changes in circumstance that warrant a review of Plan recommendations. The format would also encourage opportunities to, if nothing else, editorially review sections of the Plan text to verify that the information contained in the text remains accurate, relevant, and understandable.
A primary difference of this approach from APR relates to the previously mentioned statement of collaboration. The new format seeks to encourage a greater amount of general education about the Comprehensive Plan and more proactive, community involvement in planning studies. The format will allow opportunities to conduct outreach activities, such as land use colleges, which provide general information about planning and promote dialogue about the Comprehensive Plan without attachment to a particular proposal. During studies, there will not be a one-size-fits-all approach to public participation, but rather an individualized plan developed to meet the needs of the particular study. In general, plans would intend to engage the community earlier in the process, while ideas are being formed, and through a wider range of engagement methods.
In conclusion, the new model proposes a shift in the way that we conduct planning in the county, which would replace the Area Plans Review process. We are proposing a new system which we believe responds to repeated concerns expressed about the APR process. It expands community engagement through a more collaborative effort. It allows the community and staff to more holistically and proactively managed the Comprehensive Plan and the future land use in the county, and it keeps the Plan more up to date and relevant to today’s needs.
If you are interested in keeping informed about the process and receiving an announcement when the draft work program is available, you can call or visit our office, send comments to the email address shown on the screen, visit the Fairfax Forward website and submit comments anonymously, or sign up for the Comprehensive Plan listserv. Thank you for listening.
Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoningwww.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/fairfaxforward.htmDPZFairfaxForward@fairfaxcounty.govJune 2012
Evolution: 2011 AREA PLANS REVIEW RETROSPECTIVE:•Evaluate APR Process • Community meetings and online survey • What worked well? What could be improved? 2012 FAIRFAX FORWARD:•Find alternative means to manage ComprehensivePlan and planning activities
Evolution:2011 Area Plans Review Retrospective• Common themes: • Open to almost all ideas, but review too reactive to parcel-specific nominations • Community involved, but no longer community driven • Provided order to review, but process too rigid
Evolution:2012 Fairfax Forward• Goals of proposed planning strategy: • Maintain systematic approach • Expand community involvement • Promote logical and flexible review • Emphasize plan monitoring and maintenance
Housekeeping:- State of the Plan- Comprehensive Plan amendment database- Comprehensive Land Use Plan Map- Concept for Future Development Land Classification System and Concept Map- Editorial updates: Overview & Character sections
State of the Plan, Published May 2012http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/projects/state_of_the_plan.pdf- Evaluation of Plan activities- Focus on last ten years- Amendment statistics: - 300+ amendments adopted- Common themes in adopted amendments - Supporting development in mixed-use centers - Preserve stable, residential areas- Changes to existing and planned development potential particularly in activity centers: - 80% of planned non-residential development - 74% of planned residential development
Comprehensive Land Use Plan Maphttp://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/comprehensiveplan/compplanmap.htm- Adopted June 19, 2012- GIS-based map - Amended through BOS action May 2012- Update some existing conditions - public parks - public facilities
Concept for Future DevelopmentBOS Public Hearing June 19, 2012
Housekeeping:- State of the Plan- Comprehensive Land Use Plan Map- Concept for Future Development Land Classification System and Concept Map- Editorial updates: Overview & Character sections- Comprehensive Plan amendment database
2013 Planning Alternative: Activity center Neighborhood planning planning Comprehensive Plan Amendment Work Program BOS-authorized Policy Plan and amendments & countywide special studies amendments Informed by ongoing plan monitoring efforts
Concept for Future Development: - Suburban Centers - Transit Station Areas - Community Business Centers - Industrial Areas - Suburban Neighborhoods - Low Density Residential Areas - Tysons Corner Urban Center
Community Involvement:- Increased education and outreach component- Earlier and more wide-ranging engagement- Individual studies: Range of participation methods tailored to type of amendment - Community meetings - Working groups - Social media
Conclusions:Comprehensive Plan Amendment Work Program - Respond to survey/community comments - Expands community participation in planning - Ability to look holistically at parts of the Plan - Ability to proactively conduct planning - Keeps Plan in a more up to date and relevant format
Call or visit the DPZ office:(703)324-138012055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 730Fairfax, VA 22035Send an e-mail:DPZFairfaxForward@fairfaxcounty.govVisit the website/ submit comments anonymously:www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/fairfaxforward.htmSign up for the Comprehensive Plan listserv:www.fairfaxcounty.gov/email/lists
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