Four Mile Run Valley Policy Framework Hearings set for May

Published on April 25, 2018

  • Public hearings before Planning  Commission, County Board

  • First coordinated development of Area Plan, Parks Master Plan

  • Long-term vision for Four Mile Run Valley area

  • Conceptual plan for Jennie Dean Park

The Arlington County Board has set public hearings in May and consider adoption of the draft Four Mile Run Valley Policy Framework. The framework highlights the overall vision and conceptual plans for the area, and identifies the policy-related actions needed to realize the vision.

"Since 2016, our Four Mile Run Valley Working Group of residents and stakeholders has shaped, along with staff and the broader community, a long-range vision and the plans and actions needed to realize that vision for Four Mile Run Valley," Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said. "We know that there are still some concerns about the draft framework, and look forward to hearing from the public at the public hearings in May. With this Request to Authorize, the County Board invites public comments on the draft framework between now and May.

The Board voted unanimously at its Tuesday, April 24, 2018 meeting to advertise a May 7, 2018 public hearing before the Planning Commission, and to hold a Board hearing and consider adoption of the draft Four Mile Run Valley Policy Framework on May 19, 2018.

About the Four Mile Run Valley process

A comprehensive planning effort has tied together an Area Plan for the mostly industrial area south of Four Mile Run Drive and east of Shirlington Road; a Park Master Plan for Jennie Dean Park, Shirlington Park and the Shirlington Dog Park and the ongoing design of the Nauck Town Square.

This is the first Area Plan and Parks Master Plan developed together in a coordinated manner by the County. The approach allowed for community discussion of a long-term vision for the whole Four Mile Run Valley area, including retaining industrial buildings and uses; opportunities for arts-related uses; identification of concept-level park, recreation and open space improvements through a master planning process, and balancing goals for improved parks, recreation, open spaces and community facilities with goals for private ownership and development.

The framework is a precursor to the development and adoption later this year of an Area Plan and Parks Master Plan.

The draft framework summarizes the planning process and briefly reviews existing conditions. It also synthesizes the common themes, guiding principles, vision statement and conceptual drawings that illustrate the future of the Four Mile Run Valley area. Policy guidance, essential to fulfilling the vision, are included and outline potential environmental, land use, open space and transportation actions to be taken over time to institute the changes sought for the area.

Study area

The area studied focuses around the Four Mile Run stream and a floodplain that is bounded by Interstate 395 to the east, Arlington Mill Drive to the south, Barcroft Park to the west and Four Mile Run Drive to the north. Much of the area is zoned for industrial uses, and there are warehouses, catering, a brewery and a concrete plant within the study area. There also are many properties used for commercial services, such as auto repair and pet services. It is one of the last remaining contiguous areas planned and zoned for industrial uses in the County.

The Parks Master Plan study area included Jennie Dean Park, Shirlington Park and Shirlington Dog Park, Arlington's largest dog park. However, in a May 2017 work session, the County determined that no new concept should be developed for Shirlington Dog Park.

Public engagement

From the beginning of the process, public engagement included bi-monthly meetings with the Board-appointed Four Mile Run Valley Working Group, which included representatives from the three neighboring civic associations, property and business owners, area non-profit organizations, advisory boards, and commissions. The group met more than 30 times to review and comment on staff and consultant analysis, preliminary concepts and the draft Policy Framework.

Staff also held a community forum, a community open house, check-ins and review sessions with the three nearby civic associations upon request. There were a dozen sessions with civic associations, advisory boards and commissions to review the draft Policy Framework. The framework was posted online, and more than 200 comments were received. The County Board held two work sessions as the planning effort progressed, one in May 2017 and another in February 2018.

View documents related to the Four Mile Run Valley planning process.

To read the staff report and the advertisement approved by the County Board, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 49 on the agenda for the Saturday, April 21, 2018 Regular County Board Meeting.

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