Parks, Zoning Top Tentative List of City Goals
City Council ranks priorities as it prepares to hash out biennial planning document
Developing a riverfront park, enacting a unified zoning ordinance and constructing multi-use recreational trails are at the top of a tentative list of priorities which the City of Fredericksburg may tackle over the next two years. This, according to a draft version of the Biennial City Council Goals and Initiatives document for fiscal years 2011 through 2013.
Over the last few days, members of the City Council have been tasked with individually prioritizing an unranked list of 43 initiatives which the city might like to move forward with by 2013. Each member of the City Council took that unranked list and assigned each initiative one of three priority designations (first, second or third tier priorities).
Council members could only assign 10 first priority rankings, 15 second priority rankings and 18 third priority rankings. Once compiled, the average scores for each initiative were tabulated and ranked by city staff.
The resulting document paints a general picture of the upcoming priorities of the council as a whole, however this ranked list is not necessarily indicative of how the final version of the Council Goals and Initiatives document will look when adopted by the City Council later this year.
Assistant City Manager Mark Whitley says the rankings are a designed to see where the Council generally stands on some important upcoming issues as the final Biennial Goals and Initiatives document is hashed out. From there, it's up to old fashioned politics to determine its final form.
"It's another tool in the decision making and prioritization process," says Whitley. "When the group gets together, the group dynamic can take over and they'll say 'let's move this one up, let's move this one down.'"
The ranked list of initiatives is divided into three color coded categories. The top 11 ranked initiatives are labeled Tier A, denoted in green, the middle ranked initiatives are labeled Tier B, denoted in yellow, and the lowest ranked initiatives are labeled Tier C, denoted in red.
The initiatives which make up Tier A are listed below:
- Initiative 1A - Historic District Character and Vitality - Riverfront Park - "Complete design of Riverfront Park, acquire easements for Riverwalk, Build Riverwalk, encourage resident use of park."
- Initiative 3B - Economic Vitality - Development Ordinances - "Prepare and adopt a unified development ordinance for zoning, subdivision and land use regulation."
- Initiative 5A - Parks Recreation and Open Space - Pathways - Build a significant portion of the Virginia Central Railway Trail, the Rappahannock Heritage Trail and the Cowan Boulevard Trail.
- Initiative 8C - Governance and Communications - Organizational Review - "Pursue and organizational review at the functional level (consultant's study)"
- Initiative 1B - Historic District Character and Vitality - Courthouse - "Solicit proposals under PPEA, execute comprehensive aggreement."
- Initiative 2B - Character of the City and Neighborhoods - Property Maintenance - "Develop a program to pursue aggressive abatement of blighted properties."
- Initiative 6B - Public Saftey - Commnity Police Officer - "maintain and continue the community policing program."
- Initiative 1C - Historic District Character and Vitality - Downtown Revitaliation - "Encourage use of tax abatement program private property improvements."
- Initiative 6E - Public Safety - Courts - "Implement the U.S. Marshall's Report recommendations for courthouse security."
- Initiative 4E - Sustainability and the Natural Environment - River Enhancement - "Initiate discussions with Stafford County to dredge the Rappahannock River."
- Initiative 7D - Transportation - Train Station - "Continue to assist Virginia Railway Express with construction of train station and platform improvements.
Rounding out the bottom of the 43 item list are initiatives which seeks to promote local food initiatives and community gardens, another which seeks to develop an adopt a graffiti ordinance, an a plan to install energy efficient LED traffic signals.
The City Council will eventually take the feedback generated by the rankings and produce a biennial planning document for public comment, before adopting a future version of it, says Whitley. He expects that a version of the new Goals and Initiatives document could make its way before council for a public hearing soon, perhaps at the second council meeting in January or the first council meeting of February.
The full ranked draft Goals and Initiatives, along with a supplemental document which details the math behind the rankings, are available as PDFs to the right of this article.