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Our goals were to (1) ensure that community views are represented in the planning process; (2) provide a logical and readable foundation for establishing and maintaining high quality systems of parks, trails and open space. Highlights of our draft plans include:

  • Clear definitions;

  • Expanded level of service criteria;

  • Establishes a broader vision, to help the County meet existing needs as well as attract new business and high quality residential development;

  • Responds to neighborhood needs and provides a framework to upgrade underserved areas, such as Dale City and the Route 1 corridor;

  • Promotes pedestrian and bicycle networks countywide;

  • Emphasizes opportunities for water-based recreation;

  • Establishes criteria for permanent protection of parks, trails and open space for future generations;

  • Identifies specific opportunities for high priority places for parks, trails and open space (including some already owned by the County);

  • Promotes creative approaches to overcoming implementation challenges, i.e., forming a Trails Commission;

  • Highlights partnerships with neighboring localities as well as state and federal agencies;

  • Promotes an integrated approach, including specific recommendations for updating other Comprehensive Plan chapters and related ordinances;

  • Ensures a greater level of citizen involvement in future planning and implementation of goals;

  • Acknowledges development needs while conserving natural and cultural resources.

  • Provides a broader vision on how to fund park improvements and development needs;

  • Includes strong natural and cultural resources language;

  • Minimizes implementation costs by relying on existing County resources, such as the County Mapper and the Adopt a Stream program, where possible;

  • Responds to citizen views as expressed in public meetings, County-led focus groups, the 2002 Park Authority Park Needs Assessment and Prince William County Citizen Satisfaction Surveys.
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Back to Parks, Trails & Open Space RESOURCES Why are Parks, Trails and Open Space Important?

Talking Points

Citizen Presentation to the Planning Commission Timeline of Events
Parks, Trails and Open Space:

The Parks and Open Space Plan is divided into three sections: Parks, Trails and Open Space. We've kept to a few key points for each, contact us at alliance@pwconserve.org or 703.499.4954 for more information. Share your views with Supervisors -- Click here to email all Supervisors.


  • Support the parks standard of 25 acres of parkland/1,000 residents.

    Both the Planning Commission and the Park Authority Board support this standard. The Planning staff does not support this standard and instead recommends 15 acres of parkland/1,000 residents.

  • Support clear definitions. According to the Citizen Plan, Silver Lake as proposed by the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy would count as public parkland.

    Public parks are those lands owned, leased or secured under easement or use agreement by a political body for the benefit of the citizens and managed for recreation and resource protection purposes.
    Citizen Plan Parks Chapter: Definitions.

  • Support the removal of developer subsidies. No proffer "credits" for development applications that promise private parks for select residents. If it's not public, don't count it.

    These statements from the Citizen Plan should be restored to the final Plan.


  • Support a clear definition for Protected Open Space and a standard of 39% of County as Protected Open Space. Because the Planning Commission has struggled to define Protected Open Space, we offer a simplified alternative.

    ”Land that is permanently protected from development with a perpetual conservation or open space easement or fee ownership, held by a federal, state, or local government or nonprofit organization for natural resource, forestry, agriculture, wildlife, recreation, historic, cultural, or open space use, or to sustain water quality and living resource values.”

    This definition, developed by the Chesapeake Bay Program, would ensure consistency between local, state and federal standards. Properties with unenforceable covenants or temporary development restrictions are not Protected Open Space.
    Citizen Plan Open Space Chapter: OS Policy 7.
  • Staff proposal includes RPAs as “protected” open space but eliminates requirements to:
    1. Identify and map the location of RPAs;
    2. Inform landowners that portions of their property are designated as protected open space in County ordinances.

Ensure accountability and fair play. Request that these standards be returned to the Plan.
Citizens Plan Open Space Chapter: OS Policy 8, Action Strategies 1- 4.

  • Support safeguards for County-owned land. The staff proposal eliminates requirements for:
    1. Identification of permitted development on County-owned open space properties;
    2. Publication of information on long-term protection status of County-owned properties;
    3. Coordination of land use planning with Virginia 's open space goals.

Green today, but gone tomorrow? Request that these standards be returned to the Plan.
Citizens Plan Open Space Chapter: OS POLICY 3 Action Strategy 1-3; OS POLICY 4 Action Strategy 1; OS POLICY 5 Action Strategy 1


  • Support an independent Trails Commission to promote public trails, serve as a focal point for multi-agency trail efforts and ensure increased attention to the acquisition of trail segments.

The Historic Commission would provide a suitable model for creating a Trail Commission. The key responsibilities identified in the Citizen's Plan should be restored, including developing baseline criteria for creating public trails,recommending priorities for the Capital Improvements Projects budget, review of development proposals and seek partnerships with others to establish a broad range of partnerships to ensure a high quality and comprehensive Countywide trail network.
Citizen Plan Trails Chapter: TR Policy 1 Action Strategies 1 – 4; TR Policy 2 Action Strategy 1 and 4 – 8; TR Policy 3 Action Strategies 1 – 2 and 4

  • Support Trail standards that match or exceed national standards, which call for 3.25 miles of trails for every 1,500 residents and set standards for trail types, such as hiking, biking and others.

    We want more than bike trails built by VDOT. Would the bike trails VDOT builds along new roads alone satisfy Planning staff's recommendation of 1 mile of trails for every 1,500 residents? Citizens have prioritized a countywide trail network! Request that the Citizen Plan's high standards be restored.
    Citizen Plan Trails Chapter: Appendix D.

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