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Comment on Parks Element of Comprehensive Plan

The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) released the draft policies for the Parks & Open Space Element Update of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital for public review and comment through Monday, May 7. Public comments may be submitted online or by mail.

Last updated in 2004, the Draft Parks & Open Space Element is important because the National Capital Planning Commission uses this element as policy guidance for review of projects and long-range plans that impact federal parks and open spaces like Rock Creek Park, Lincoln Park, Anacostia Park, and Banneker Park (located south of the National Mall not far from the new Wharf development).

The update introduces policies that address current issues, such as adapting designed landscapes or balancing commemorative works with active uses in parks. The element includes information and policies referencing the Capper-Cramton Act that provided federal funding to acquire parkland in the region and authorized NCPC to review development projects in these parks to ensure their protection. It also incorporates information from recent planning studies such as the Small Parks Management Strategies Study completed by NCPC and the National Park Service.

After the public comment period is closed, the draft element will be updated. Later in the year staff will ask the NCPC to adopt it.

The proposed C is structured around six guiding principles that create a cohesive vision through improved stewardship, utilization, maintenance, planning, and design, as follows:

  1. Protect the Parks and Open Space Design Legacy
  2. Provide Stewardship of Natural and Cultural Resources
  3. Provide Access to and Connections between Parks and Open Space
  4. Balance Multiple Uses within Parks
  5. Balance Commemorative Works within Parks
  6. Build Partnerships and Coordination among Multiple Landowners and Jurisdictions

NCPC will host two public open houses for the public and the media to learn more about the updates:

  •  Wednesday, March 21 (6:00 p.m. — 7:30 p.m.)* Rescheduled for April 11th
  • Thursday, April 12 (10:30 a.m. — noon)

NOTE: Due to anticipated weather, the Draft Federal Parks & Open Space Public Element Update Open House scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, March 21 is cancelled. The meeting has been rescheduled to the evening of Wednesday, April 11. It will take place from 6:00-7:30 pm in the offices of the National Capital Planning Commission (401 Ninth Street, NW).

The meeting on Thursday, April 12 (10:30 am–noon) will take place as originally scheduled, also at the National Capital Planning Commission Offices (401 Ninth St NW, Suite 500).

Each meeting will cover the same content.


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