The Arlington County Board on Saturday accepted two long-range plans, one aimed at preserving the Potomac Palisades, the other to set priorities for the development of recreational and open space throughout the county.
The plans were developed by two citizens task forces appointed by the County Board.
It may take years for any results to be seen. County staff members must study many of the suggestions in the reports, some of which simply recommend that policies be developed. And the county is cash-strapped and will be unable to act on other ideas, officials said.
The Potomac Palisades generally are considered to be the bluffs and parkland along the Potomac River. The report recommended establishing a special planning area that would stretch from Key Bridge north to the Fairfax County line and from the river west to a line roughly bounded by Lee Highway, Spout Run Parkway, Lorcom Lane, Nellie Custis Drive and Military Road.
The panel recommended adopting conservation and pollution control policies to protect streams, trees, wooded areas and the shape of the land.
Consideration of these suggestions was deferred because they could be superseded by the county's implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, County Manager Anton S. Gardner said.
The panel recommended that parkland in the area be maintained as natural areas and that a new zoning designation make clear that those lands could not be used for non-park purposes.
It also suggested expanding and extending pedestrian and bicycle trails to allow more enjoyment of river vistas. The panel also recommended that steps be taken to assess sites with archaeological and historical value and start public education programs stressing the importance of conservation.
The board said these measures would be done as money and staff time allows. It also directed county staff members to study the suggested new zoning for public land.
The citizens committee that studied open space recommended that Arlington acquire as much land for open space as possible. It gave the county a list of 17 properties that it said should be acquired either immediately or within the next 20 years.
The committee also recommended that the county develop an open-space policy and a master plan that would set priorities for development of future recreational and open space.
It suggested new zoning protection for parkland and open space, and that methods such as nonprofit land trusts that could get money from private sources be considered as a way of financing land acquisition.
The board, following Gardner's recommendations, agreed to develop an open-space policy and master plan, and study financing mechanisms such as a land trust fund and whether new zoning is needed.
Gardner said in a report that land acquisition would be "severely limited" because of the county's budget crunch.