Fairfax County is preparing to update the Environmental Excellence 20-Year Vision Plan (Environmental Vision) and the public is urged to weigh in via an online survey. First adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2004, the Environmental Vision is not a strategic plan, but was designed as a guideline to help direct the county’s environmental initiatives and actions.
In October of 2015, the board tasked staff with the review of the document to determine if an update was needed. They also called for a process to obtain the community’s input in that decision, and for recommendations for any revisions. This led to the conducting of an online survey in June 2016, and a series of public meetings the following month. Written testimony on the subject was also encouraged. The input collected was summarized in a presentation which can be found, along with the actual survey results, and the written testimony received, on the county’s website.
The draft Environmental Vision — the subject of the latest opinion survey appeal — is a result of that review and those comments. Incorporating the public’s feedback has seen the addition of a Climate and Energy section in the proposed revision, a greater emphasis on combating climate change issues and an expanded commitment to environmental stewardship.
The format of the survey is to present the highlights from each of seven core service areas: Land Use and Growth, Transportation, Water, Waste Management, Parks and Ecological Resources, Climate and Energy, and Environmental Stewardship. The survey participant is then asked to indicate whether they have recommendations about a short vision statement on each topic, and the same again regarding the supporting objectives for each. If the respondent answers “Yes,” a new box appears for those recommendations or comments to be recorded.
According to a post by Board Chairman Sharon Bulova, the survey could take about 10-20 minutes, but the feedback received “will have a lasting impact for years to come … and help shape our environmental policy language.”
The actual 2017 draft Environmental Vision takes a lot more than 10 or 20 minutes to read, coming in at 35 pages. Reading it is not a pre-requisite to taking the survey, but it provides insight about the core service areas, what has been achieved to date, and what is on the environmental agenda.
The board is expected to adopt the final, updated version sometime this year. A link to the survey can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov, search Environmental Vision Update.