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PWC Comprehensive Plan, Parks & Open Space Chapter
Feb. 19 2007 Public Meeting
Community Comments on Open Space


Open Space group covered a wide range of topics, and even dealt with concerns regarding trails at the end.  Much discussion was centered on the Davis Ford tract near Occoquan Forest, and how to ensure that land was used for passive recreation/open space rather than a sewage treatment plant or school.

One suggestion was to mandate that lands acquired by the county must stay as county-owned land.  If lands were transferred to other county agencies, it was proposed that transfer costs should be based on the original acquisition cost, so no agency could make a short-term "profit" by disposing of land.

One proposal was to inventory the different types of open space already protected in the county.  As part of the inventory, the county should create maps showing the specific places and identifying the definition(s) of open space used in the inventory.  This inventory could be used in a "build out" analysis, projecting how the county may look after another 25 years of development.

The group discussed the need to consider the cost of mandating open space for new development, and how increasing the proffer commitments could affect new home prices.  It also noted the value of connecting open space into greenways that provide valuable wildlife corridors and habitat.  Corridors for wildlife through private land (such as common areas owned by HOA's) would not be suitable for public trails, but could provide great benefits for wildlife.

The group also noted that implementation of existing plans and proffers may be more important than creation of new requirements, and follow-through is essential to make plans into reality.

Citizen Comments Recorded During the Meeting:

  1. Reference Davis Ford Road sewage treatment plant, 57 acre site, currently owned by PWC Service Authority land needs to be preserved - overflow endangers water supply - preserve wildlife habitat - site unsuitable for school, decision made not to locate middle school there - make it a passive recreation area

  2. Open space goal should be established in terms of acres, as a % of county land, not tied to population (i.e., number of acres / 1000 people).

  3. Open space includes passive recreation; parks include active recreation and passive recreation.

  4. Protected open space is defined as untouched by development.

  5. There should be a county defined plan for residential communities; proffers should be better defined, proffers should be enforced.

  6. Is there a county plan for the Neabsco creek area. There should be a county-wide plan. Follow through on plans.

  7. Preserve open space, examples are Merrimac Farm and wetlands in Cedar Run area, wetlands near Manassas airport/Manassas City.

  8. Plan for expected growth (plan for preserving and protecting open space given expected population growth in county).

  9. Set ambitious goals for preserving space (> 39% open space in county).

  10. Open Space and Parks should be separate chapters in the Comprehensive Plan; mixing parks and open space ties hands.

  11. Protect wildlife corridors within PW County; connect to corridors in other jurisdictions.

  12. Provide for limited intrusion by public trails into wildlife corridors and wildlife preserves.

  13. Inventories and maps of many kinds are needed:
    •  trails
    •  greenways, wildlife corridors;
    •  open space;
    •  agricultural land
    •  forested land;
    •  wetlands.

  14. We have the opportunity to establish PW County as a model for defining and preserving open space in Northern Virginia .

  15. Consider the economic impact of proffers, the additional costs to home buyers.

  16. There is no build out analysis for the county, one is needed:
    •  need accurate inventory of already developed land: residential, commercial;
    •  need inventory of land to be developed;
    •  need accurate inventory of parks and open space;
    •  identify acceptable growth rate;
    •  need county defined goals for specific time in future: 30 years?
    •  funding sources should be identified.

  17. Discussion regarding proffers and enforcement of proffers:
    •  proffers for parks are monetary more often than land;
    •  developers build small neighborhood parks, which are turned over to HOAs;
    •  developers build trails within HOAs, and within parks;
    •  developers have built soccer fields on park land.

  18. Need mechanism for accepting land donated for parks. Park Authority is working to establish a park foundation which would permit that.

  19. Land owned by the county must be retained by county.

  20. Identify county-owned land currently not used or planned for any purpose; consider it for parks and open space; Dove's Landing (or Dove's Overlook) is an example.

  21. Land transfers between different county agencies should be restricted to original land cost.

  22. Condemned land, if it is to be resold, should be offered to original owner first.

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Citizen Comments about Parks
Citizen Comments about Trails
Back to Feb. 18 2007 Public Meeting Main Page
Back to Parks, Trails & Open Space Main Page
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