Updated, 01-28-2014, 1:42pm: You can now view a new website for the Facilities Study.
- Adopt charter, appoint committee members
- Collaborating on broad-based community facilities study
- Committee to propose facility siting criteria, processes in Fall 2015
- Resident Forum will offer community-wide participation
The Arlington County Board today, in a joint work session with the School Board, adopted a charge, and appointed 24 members to the Facilities Study Committee for the Arlington Community Facilities Study, a long-range, collaborative planning effort that will build a consensus framework regarding the community’s future funding and facility needs.
The study will inform County and School Board decision-making related to needs such as new schools, fire stations, and public vehicle storage sites in the context of the region’s projected growth over the next 5, 10 and 20 year timeframes.
“This is a great start to a much-needed community planning effort,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “We’ve put together a great group of Arlingtonians who I know will work hard in the coming months to develop the framework for addressing our community’s important facilities needs. My colleague, John Vihstadt, and I look forward to working closely with this group and with the community to ensure broad participation and an outcome that will help us make critical decisions when we update the Capital Improvement Plan in July 2016.”
The Board voted 4-0 to adopt the charge and 4-0 to appoint the committee members. (Board Member J. Walter Tejada was absent). The School Board unanimously approved the appointees during its January 22 Public Meeting.
APS Board Chairman James Lander welcomed the initiative. “We are grateful for another opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues on the County Board and members of the community,” Lander said. “We hope this process will be a proactive and positive step to address issues that will allow us to move forward quickly and add the critically needed seats to meet the instructional needs of our growing student enrollment.”
Key questions the study will address:
- What are our facility needs for schools, fire stations, recreation, and transportation vehicle and other storage?
- How do we pay for these needs?
- What principles and criteria should we use to help us decide where to locate them?
- In the context of changing demographics and economics, what opportunities and challenges are there in our aging affordable and workforce multi-family housing stock?
- What do changes in the Federal government presence and the residential and private commercial marketplace mean for County revenues?
The 24-member Study Committee, jointly appointed by the County Board and School Board, represent a cross section of the community and are charged with:
- Examining and reconciling existing demographic and economic forecasts for 5, 10 and 20 years into the future to produce a single set of forecasts for County and Schools use;
- Identifying strategic community challenges, constraints and alternative strategies to address them;
- Determining Arlington’s key facility assets and needs based upon an existing inventory of existing physical assets;
- Reviewing likely revenue projections for the next 20 years based on an analysis of trends; and
- Proposing criteria and a process for siting any new County or School facilities or adding new or expanded uses to existing facilities or sites.
Former County Board Chair to lead committee
The two Boards named John Milliken, a retired partner with Venable LLP, who served on the County Board from January 1981 through March 1990, and Planning Commissioner Ginger Briggs Brown, chair and vice chair of the Study Committee.
“This is an opportunity to take a step back and ask what are our long term needs for public facilities, and what are our likely resources to meet those needs,” said Milliken. “Fortunately, Arlingtonians are hands-on participants in local government and schools issues and we have an experienced group of citizens ready to take up these important strategic questions.
Brown said she looks forward to “involving the community in an open process to reach a shared understanding of Arlington’s opportunities and challenges. We understand future financial and facility resources are finite. The Study Committee will try to quantify those resources and lay out some choices for the community and the two Boards to consider.”
Former Director of Community Planning, Housing and Development Susan Bell will serve as the liaison between the committee and County staff. Hynes, Vihstadt, APS Board Chairman Lander and APS Board Member Nancy Van Doren, will serve as the two Board’s liaisons to the study committee.
The study committee will report to both Boards in September and November 2015. Proposed criteria and facility-siting process recommendations will be presented in September and will inform the development of the 2017-2026 Capital Improvement Plans (CIPs). The final report in November may include recommendations for next-step public processes.
Broad community input will inform the study committee and the outcome of the study. A series of educational forums through June 2015 are expected to serve as the basis for
dialogue between the Study Committee and the broad community. Forums are expected on the County’s demographics, the County and region’s economic drivers, and public facility funding, among others.
On January 1, 2015, County Board Char Mary Hynes announced a long-range planning effort aimed at developing a framework for assessing the County’s public facilities and establishing criteria for locating new facilities and financing their construction.
The Arlington Community Facilities Study – A Plan for the Future responds to the challenges posed by growing school enrollment and increased need for County facilities on limited public land in an era of constrained budgets.