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County Urged to Consider Sustainability in Open Space

[ 0 ] March 15, 2021 |

On March 7, 2021, the 3 CA presidents sent  a letter to the County Board and staff  regarding Livability22202 concerns about Open Space and environmental sustainability.  The letter was generated by faulty site plan reviews of the Water Park in Crystal City and issues that arose about open space during the SPRCs for 2000 S Bell/2001 S Clark Street.

Here is a link to that letter that one of our Livability (AHCA) members, Natasha Atkins, wrote to the Senior Vice President for Development Andy Van Horn on March 5 concerning tree canopy and landscaping.  The issues Ms Atkins raises are broader than one site plan or one area of Arlington County. They are in fact indicative of the need for a more holistic and environmental approach to development throughout the County, in accordance with the County’s own policies. Our letter calls this to the attention of County officials and specifically suggests that the County consider a position of Sustainability Coordinator, reporting directly to the County Manager, who is looking at the big picture down the road, such as the position that exists in Austin, Texas.  Right now, everything is so compartmentalized that nobody is seeing how interconnected their roles are.  The fact that the Community Energy Plan completely ignored trees is telling.  Climate change will make life more challenging, in terms of unpredictable weather events, heat, and flooding.  Developers and our government all need to be thinking about the real livability of the community in the future.  They can’t view everything through a lens of planned obsolescence, and that includes the buildings and the tree canopy.  Green roofs and solar infrastructure, more sustainable buildings than LEED silver, landscaping that utilizes rather than just controls stormwater—these are all elements that should be required in new developments. Omitting them is irresponsible stewardship and poor fiscal policy, and the consequences will come home to roost.

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