Chapter 5 Update: Natural Resources and Environment

Environment for Everyone: Environmental Sustainability, Resilience and Natural Resources Chapter of the City’s Comprehensive Plan

Chapter 5 Environment for Everyone was unanimously adopted by City Council on February 10, 2020.

In 2022, the Environmental Programs Coordinator presented an overview of chapter five sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Citizens for a Better City, available in the recording below.

Chapter 5 Overview Video - League of Women Voters Event

Planning for Environmental Sustainability, Resilience and Natural Resources

Urban planning for the future should address how environmental goals can be incorporated in the development of the City’s thriving urban activity center. This should be done in such a way that the community is able to reap the maximum benefit from integrating natural resources with the built environment while also ensuring natural resources are protected and improved.

Natural Resources and Environment Chapter Update

The revised chapter is framed in the context of adapting to anticipated change. Increasing population and significant land redevelopment are driving vibrant growth in the City. Demographic projections indicate that the City’s population will grow by 42 percent by 2045. Redevelopment affects an average of almost eight acres of commercial and residential property each year, and more than 180 acres of commercial property and 1000 homes may be candidates for future redevelopment. Changes in demographics and land use are taking place at a time when the climate is also changing. Climate models for the Metropolitan Washington region predict gradually increasing average temperatures, greater temperature extremes, increased precipitation, and more frequent and severe storm events. The review of the Natural Resources and Environment chapter of the comprehensive plan was an opportunity to consider how development and investment in the City should respond to the City’s changing environment.

Vision and Goals

The vision statement for the chapter, which is a general statement of what we want to achieve, is as follows:

Increase the resiliency and environmental sustainability of the City by protecting, enhancing and expanding the City’s natural resources; increasing the use of green infrastructure; reducing consumption and waste of both energy and materials; and using all possible means to achieve beneficial environmental impacts and enhance community quality of life.

The following goals, which should be integrated across all City policies, programs and projects, are based on the vision statement above:

  • Climate, Air and Energy: Enhance livability, sustainability and resilience. Protect the community from air pollution and the effects of climate change, while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the City.
  • Stormwater, Streams and Natural Springs: Protect the water resources of the City and the Chesapeake Bay from the adverse effects of pollution and climate change, reduce flooding, and improve water quality.
  • Urban Forest and Biodiversity: Protect and enhance the network of trees, green spaces and naturalized land on public and private property throughout the City, and the plants and wildlife it supports.
  • Consumption and Waste:   Avoid waste generation and reduce the harmful pollution and financial costs associated with waste management and disposal.
  • Community: Inform, educate, and engage the community in environmental action. Maximize the City’s capacity to address environmental issues through participation in regional, statewide, national, and international organizations.

Public Engagement Schedule

The public engagement process included more than 35 opportunities to learn and give feedback about the Environment for Everyone Chapter. See the schedule below.

May 7, 2018Planning CommissionProject Launch
Link to document | Link to video@0:53m
May 16, 2018Tree CommissionRegular Meeting
May 17, 2018Environmental Sustainability CouncilRegular Meeting
June 18, 2018City CouncilWork Session
Link to document | Link to video@0:22m
June 20, 2018Tree CommissionRegular Meeting
June 21, 2018Environmental Sustainability CouncilRegular Meeting
August 18, 2018General publicCommunity Meeting
August/September 2018General publicFarmer’s Market pop-ups
April 15, 2019Planning CommissionWork Session
Link to document | Link to video@1h19m
April 18, 2019Arts & Humanities CouncilRegular Meeting
May 1, 2019Recreation & Parks BoardRegular Meeting
May 5, 2019Citizens Advisory Committee on TransportationRegular Meeting
May 9, 2019Village Preservation & Improvement SocietyRegular Meeting
May 16, 2019Chamber of CommerceRegular Meeting
May 20, 2019City CouncilWork Session
Link to document | Link to video@1h47m
June 4, 2019Economic Development AuthorityRegular Meeting
June 6, 2019Environmental Sustainability CouncilRegular Meeting
June 27, 2019Historical Commission and Historic Architectural Review BoardRegular Meeting
September 3, 2019Planning CommissionWork Session
Link to document | Link to video@2h57m
September 4, 2019Architectural Advisory BoardRegular Meeting
September 16, 2019City CouncilWork Session
Link to document | Link to video@13m
September 18, 2019Library BoardRegular Meeting
September 19, 2019Environmental Sustainability CouncilRegular Meeting
October 8-31, 2019General PublicSurvey (on-line)
October 23-31, 2019General PublicSurvey (paper, at MRSP Library)
October 17, 2019Human Services Advisory CouncilRegular Meeting
October 17, 2019General PublicRegular Meeting of Environmental Sustainability Council
October 23, 2019General PublicPop-up in Mr. Brown’s Park
December 2, 2019Planning CommissionWork Session
Link to document | Link to video@1hr49m
January 6, 2020City CouncilWork Session
Link to document | Link to video@1h2m
February 3, 2020Planning CommissionChapter adoption by resolution
Link to document | Link to video@3m
February 10, 2020City CouncilChapter adoption by resolution
Link to document | Link to video@1h6m