Public Land for Publc Good (PL4PG) Gets Official Ax
On December 4, 2014, we growled after a near-unanimous vote by the Arlington County Civic Federation, and urged the Arlington County Board to start over with the so-called Public Land for Public Good (PL4PG), saying the County Board should incorporate a community process from the outset. In growling, we said:
"Civic Federation committees provided especially valuable work that enabled the Civic Federation to push back against the Arlington County Board's efforts to steamroll PL4PG through the bureaucratic labyrinth. Especially noteworthy was the work of Suzanne Sundburg and the Revenues & Expenditures (R&E) Committee (full disclosure: I am a member of the R&E Committee).
"You can read her 8-page report here. Of special interest is the report's acknowledgement the County's PL4PG effort "was in direct response to Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) and affordable housing activists' collection of 10,000 petition signatures asking for more affordable housing to be constructed on Arlington's public lands." (emphasis in the original)"
A month later, on January 8, 2015, we growled again after "Arlington County Manager Barbara Donellan told delegates of the Arlington County Civic Federation that she "aims to put ‘Public Land’ mess in rear-view mirror," or at least that was the headline of Scott McCaffrey's online story today in the Arlington Sun Gazette."
That brings us to this morning. The headline in the Arlington Sun Gazette reports the "Arlington board officially axes Public Land for Public Good effort." Here's the core of the Sun Gazette report:
"Board members opted to “set aside” – as a statement tactfully put it – the draft Public Land Site-Evaluation Guidelines, which were adopted in 2014 but immediately provoked a community backlash.
"Supporters of open space saw the document as an invitation to start building affordable housing and other facilities on parkland, and community groups ranging from the Planning Commission to the Arlington County Civic Federation voiced concern about a top-down heavy-handedness that went against the community-based process best known as the Arlington Way.
"On Jan. 1, County Board Chairman Mary Hynes unveiled her plan for a community-facilities study, designed to take the place of the Public Land for Public Good process, and on Jan. 23 the County Board and School Board agreed on the panel’s framework and composition.
"Hynes said the process would result in “a full, thoughtful and very public discussion this year, aimed at building consensus around how best to address our facilities needs.”
The county's press release, issued on Wednesday,that put the fork into the PL4PG initiative is here, and includes three bullets:
- Community Facilities Study public planning effort to replace draft guidelines
- No stand-alone affordable housing on officially designated parks
- Lubber Run Community Center, Jennie Dean Park/Shirlington Crescent, Salt Dome planning to move forward
For information about the community facilities study, and links to its 24 committee members, see the following press release.
Kudos to the County Board for choosing to listen to the residents and taxpayers of Arlington County.