THE PARK PLANNING PROCESS
Like the population of Fairfax County, the demand for park and
recreation options to serve county residents continues to grow. In
order to meet the demand of the community for places to recreate,
while at the same time protecting and preserving the county’s
precious natural and cultural resources, the Park Authority has
established the park master plan process to guide future
improvements and changes to park property and facilities.
What is a Park Master Plan?
A park master plan establishes a long-range vision of future park
uses and features and is specific to a given park. Framed by Park
Authority and Fairfax County policies, a park master plan
integrates a detailed knowledge of the individual park conditions
with the desires of the community to provide a document that will
guide and inform future uses within that park. Public input is a
critical component in the development of a park master plan.
What is the typical planning process?
At the start of the planning process, a staff team is assembled
with broad areas of expertise to develop a well-informed, balanced
perspective on the park. The master plan team hosts a public
meeting to share information about the park, providing an
opportunity to introduce the project and park details, and to
carefully listen to the community’s input on the future of the
park. Park users, neighbors and stakeholders are notified and
encouraged to share their insights throughout the planning process.
The master plan team develops a draft concept plan for the park,
incorporating the community’s input. Once a draft plan is prepared,
it is published on the project webpage for public review and
comment. An additional public comment meeting is held to present
the draft master plan to the community and listen to the
The community’s comments are carefully considered and the draft
plan is adjusted as needed. While not all individual preferences
can be accommodated, the Park Authority strives to provide a fair
process and a balanced park network that addresses a variety of
needs and issues.
Following public comment and plan adjustments, a final version of
the park master plan is presented to the Park Authority Board for
approval. Plan implementation requires that capital funding be
allocated to more detailed design, engineering and construction.
Capital funding is typically provided by voter approved park
general obligation bonds or other sources of alternative funding
such as development proffers or donations.