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Comments can be submitted any time between now and the public hearing on EMBARK at the Board of Supervisors meeting on March 20, 2018. Comments can be sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some statements that you could incorporate within your own comments as you choose:
The entire network of multi-use pathways proposed with the EMBARK Plan Amendment (PA) needs to remain conceptual, even when other parts of the PA may be approved by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors (this is noted in the staff report and confirmed by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation). Creation of trails is encouraged where space and environmental conditions allow, but these should not impinge upon or compromise Environment Quality Corridors (EQC), Resource Protection Areas (RPA), or Floodplains (FP).
All Community Business Centers (CBC) should be designated as Green Development Zones and/or Local Enterprise Zones, as described in Virginia General Assembly’s reenacted and amended legislation §58.1-3245-12 from February 2017.
More parks, open spaces, and natural areas are needed throughout the Richmond Highway corridor. All should be connected by green corridors and include improved streetscapes with native trees and shrub plantings. The goal should be to establish a large network of interconnected spaces and natural areas, thereby improving the environmental conditions for us and our native wildlife.
Friends of Huntley Meadows Park objects to re-zoning or adding residential as an option to any land parcel designated as an EQC, RPA, or with land area in the FP, especially in the Dogue Creek Wildlife corridor between the Potomac River and Huntley Meadows Park and Little Hunting Creek.
All utilities along Richmond Highway should be undergrounded along the entirety of the highway using the VDOT Road Widening Project construction as the ideal time to do this. Partial funding for the undergrounding work should come from partnerships with the utility companies, which will earn significant new revenue when increased density is realized.
Streams should be day-lighted wherever possible. New buildings should be tiered lower towards the streams to enable sunlight to reach the stream corridors, resulting in a healthier and more diverse restored ecosystem.
VDOT and Fairfax County should take effective steps to capture and prevent trash generated along Route 1 from getting into local streams, including at Little Hunting Creek and Dogue Creek crossings.
Storm water management ponds should never be placed in or near EQCs, RPAs, or in FPs, so as not to damage these environmentally sensitive areas.
Native trees and shrubs should be planted for (i) noise abatement instead of using concrete sound walls and (ii) alongside all trails to provide shade and encourage year-round use.
Additional historic viewshed analysis must be required for redevelopment of ALL land units in the Hybla Valley CBC (proposed PA requires this for Woodlawn CBC only).
In both the Woodlawn and Hybla Valley CBCs, the PA language must require that building materials be non-reflective and a dark color to blend in with the viewshed background. This will reduce adverse impacts upon the Historic Huntley viewshed; it should be required for all historic viewsheds.
Historic educational signage should be added throughout the corridor to honor ecological resources, historic events, buildings, and locations where the physical structures may no longer exist (e.g., Old Potomac Path).
These comments have been developed by FOHMP after more than two years of public meetings with Fairfax County Staff and the EMBARK Advisory Group. Including these items in the proposed PA and implementing them as part of the core vision of the CBCs will improve environmental conditions along the Richmond Highway corridor, for all of us today and for many years into the future. I look forward to joining FOHMP’s comments with yours in contributing to the vision for a healthier environment to support those of us who live, work, and play along the Richmond Highway corridor.
In addition to your EMBARK comments to the Department of Planning and Zoning, please consider testifying and/or submitting written comments for the Board of Supervisors public hearing. Your participation will be very helpful in relaying our vision and hope for the future of the Richmond Highway corridor, including Huntley Meadows Park.
Thanks for all you do helping to protect Huntley Meadows from external development threats, including those that could emerge from the Richmond Highway corridor. See you on the trails!
Cathy Ledec, President