SCOPE OF WORK (January 31, 2008)

 

ASAP Research to Help Estimate

an Optimal Sustainable Population Size

for the Albemarle/Charlottesville Community

 

Table of Contents

 

          The organization—ASAP                          page   1

          Objectives of this research                               1                

          Background and need                             2

          Overall research strategy                                  4

          Structure and project management                     5

          The individual studies

1.      Ecosystem services                           6

2.      Environmental footprint analysis 8

3.      Population impacts on

single environmental variables        

a.      Stream health (Provisional)       10

b.      Air quality (Provisional)             11

c.      Safe water supply (Provisional)  12

4.      Residents’ opinions                            13

5.      Character of a community                  14

6.      ‘Best place to live’ methodology           15

7.      Economic costs of growth                  16

 

THE ORGANIZATION—ASAP 

 

Since its creation in 2002, Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population (ASAP) has worked to educate our community about the effects of local population growth on natural resources and community well-being, to argue that “smart growth,” while necessary, is not sufficient, and to promote policies regarding local development that recognize the need for sustainability.  Every thoughtful community, we contend, should identify its optimal sustainable population size and use that number (or range) as a planning tool to guide zoning and other land use regulations.  To further this aim, and to enrich the community dialog about growth, ASAP has an active program of community education and public advocacy (for more about the organization, see our website at www.ASAPnow.org).

 

OBJECTIVES OF THIS RESEARCH

 

This project aims to help identify an optimal sustainable population size (or, more accurately, a range) for the localities of Charlottesville (Virginia) and surrounding Albemarle County, covering 750 square miles with a combined total of about 135,000 residents[1].  The specific public policy question is: How big can this community grow and still ensure a quality of life current citizens expect and deserve, protect our environment, and maintain the character of our community?  For example, would a population size of 200,000 be optimal and sustainable?  Half a million?  A million?  

 

A second objective of the initiative is to develop a methodology that can provide a model for other communities to help estimate their “right size.”

 

The research described here is the responsibility of ASAP, though our organization is working with partners who support certain elements (e.g., Albemarle County may fund part of the investigation of our community’s biological carrying capacity).

 

BACKGROUND AND NEED 

To ensure a thriving community not just for today but for generations to come, planners and decision-makers work on the presumption that they can largely control most of the essential elements in a locality: the mix of housing stock, the availability of potable water, the quality of public education, the opportunities for employment, the network of roads, the extent of natural resource protection, the level of local tax revenues, etc. 

Missing from this list of components for strategic planning is the recognition that leaders might control the size of a community’s population.  Yet population size influences—and is influenced by—all these other elements of society, and affects the very character of a community.  Leaders have tended to assume that growth is inevitable, and—spurred by influential members of a community who profit from expanding markets—often assume that growth is invariably good.

The objective of “managing growth,” as opposed to promoting or accommodating growth, has only emerged in professional planning in the last twenty years.  An assessment of the fiscal, environmental, and social costs of population growth is now increasingly a part of comprehensive planning in the United States.  The ASAP study modestly extends growth management to make the “scale” and “size” of community an additional guiding element in a community growth management strategy.  In addition to dealing with spatial issues (e.g., anti-sprawl “smart growth” goals, or “new urbanism” tactics), the definition of an optimal sustainable population size enhances a community’s capacity to assess cumulative effects of growth. 

Despite planners’ and decision-makers’ inclination to avoid examining local limits to growth, most localities implicitly define theoretical “caps” through their land use policies (zoning, for example, imposes a maximum build-out population for any finite area).  Such limits are largely arbitrary, however, with little if any basis in a thoughtful effort to identify an optimal sustainable population size. 

In our area the concept of an optimal sustainable population size (OSPS) is a natural extension of the 1998 Sustainability Accords, developed by citizens representing the six localities that form the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, and incorporated into the Comprehensive Plans of both Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville.[2]  Of the seven basic principles underlying the Accords, one is:

 

In a Sustainable Community, the members understand that there are limits to growth. 

 

And one of the 15 Sustainability Accords affirms that our community will

 

Strive for a size and distribution of human population that will preserve the vital resources of the Region for future generations.  

 

It is now appropriate for our community to translate this admirable vision into public policy, and into specific “limits to growth.”

 

In 2006 ASAP proposed to the Albemarle County supervisors that the “limits to growth” be specified through research aimed at estimating the community’s optimal sustainable population size and that the county’s Comprehensive Plan be amended to incorporate this optimal size as a planning tool[3].  ASAP observed that “the community” for this exercise should include the area and residents of both the city and the county, since we are functionally united economically, socio-culturally, and geographically.  Though Charlottesville’s population of approximately 40,000 has remained essentially stable for over 30 years, the city is significantly impacted by Albemarle County’s growth – averaging over 2% per year for the past three decades (a rate that leads to a doubling time of about 35 years).  There is widespread agreement that this growth is causing or exacerbating environmental problems (e.g., loss of open space and biodiversity, decline in stream health) and impacting quality of life (e.g., through increased traffic congestion, school redistricting, higher taxes).[4]

The supervisors responded to ASAP’s request by noting that the County Department of Community Development lacked the resources to undertake such a project. 

 

Several months later ASAP volunteered to lead a first phase of the project, a one-year study to explore the feasibility of several methodological approaches.  ASAP explained to County supervisors that the actual work would be conducted by volunteer teams of experts and community members, supplemented where appropriate with specialist consultants.  A subsequent phase, if deemed appropriate on the basis of the results in the first phase, could focus in greater depth on the most promising analytic approaches; leadership of this second phase would be determined later.  A simultaneous parallel track could utilize the first-phase findings to involve community stakeholders in discussions about our community’s “right size” and the public policy implications. 

 

ASAP asked the City and County to contribute to the estimated $90,000 cost of the first phase of the project, with ASAP pledging to raise the balance (subsequent calculations increased the proposed budget of the project to $110,000).  On June 6, 2007, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors voted to set aside $25,000 for ASAP to study the “carrying capacity of the County’s ecological systems and where they are most vulnerable to the intrusions of human activity,”[5] leading toward estimates of a sustainable population size.  The County’s actual appropriation of the funds is contingent upon:

o        the Board’s approval of the consultants ASAP intends to engage;

o        ASAP’s obtaining matching funds from other sources; and

o        the Board’s approval of a detailed scope of work prepared by ASAP.

 

On August 6, 2007, the Charlottesville City Council voted to provide $11,000 to the project, an amount proportional to the County’s contribution based on population size.  Like the County, the City’s funding is contingent upon the City’s approval of the scope of work and ASAP’s ability to raise matching funds from other sources. 

 

ASAP has now obtained funds to match the County and City grants.  Over 80 ASAP members and friends have contributed approximately $26,000 (a list of these donors is available on request), and the Pittsburgh-based Colcom Foundation has awarded ASAP a grant of $50,000 for this project.

 

OVERALL RESEARCH STRATEGY

 

Because no community, as far as we have been able to determine, has undertaken research to define its optimal sustainable population size, there is no established methodology for ASAP to replicate.  As a result, ASAP will look at a number of approaches that have been developed to better understand the “fit” of a human population size to a finite area.  Some approaches tap residents’ values and preferences, others attempt to measure environmental carrying capacity.[6] Some concentrate on ecological impacts of human population growth, others examine the economic costs of growth. Some of these efforts have been developed primarily for use at a global or national, rather than a local, level.  Though none was explicitly designed to define a local area’s “right size,” ASAP believes that a judicious configuration of these approaches can contribute to an answer to the policy question:  How big can we grow and still protect our environment, ensure a quality of life current citizens expect and deserve, and maintain the character of the community?

 

The initiative will be undertaken in two phases.  The first phase, consuming about one year, will simultaneously examine the feasibility and usefulness of seven promising methodological approaches (one of which, “Population impacts on single environmental variables,” has several sub-studies).  Topics in this array of approaches will likely resonate differentially with various constituencies in the community: policy makers, average voters, legal specialists, environmental activists, business leaders, etc.  We do not yet know which approaches will be fruitful in terms of yielding compelling and policy-relevant results.    

 

This “Scope of Work” describes only the first phase of the project.  If the results of the first phase indicate that it is feasible and cost-effective to identify an optimal sustainable population size for the Charlottesville-Albemarle community, a second phase will be proposed, aimed at more definitive research and translation of the findings into public policy.  The second phase, lasting between one and two years, would include the collection of new data, more extensive data analyses, and greater attention to forums and focus groups with stakeholders within our community and with experts outside it.  Leadership of this second phase, as well as the role of local governments, will be decided later. 

 

It should be noted that any calculation of a community’s optimal sustainable population size is not immutable; it will evolve as community values change (e.g., regarding the desirability of various levels of residential density), as technology improves (e.g., regarding recycling of water), as environmental conditions are altered (e.g., climate change occurs), and as better data and analytical methods become available.  Thus estimates of a “right size” should be revisited periodically, possibly in conjunction with updates of local Comprehensive Plans.

 

 

STRUCTURE AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT

 

The optimal sustainable population size research project (the “OSPS Project”) is composed of seven methodological approaches (“studies”).  The methodological approaches (described below) will be separate and simultaneous examinations by individual (though occasionally overlapping) Study Teams.  A Research Steering Committee will oversee the Study Teams’ research efforts.  A parallel Outreach Committee will focus on links between this Project and the community, encouraging informed discussion with stakeholders[7] about the research results and funneling feedback to the researchers. 

 

The Research Steering Committee is responsible for management of the Project, including specifically:

 

This committee will consist of the following:

 

§         Chair: Jack Marshall, Ph.D., retired population anthropologist; directed social science/family planning research at the World Health Organization/Geneva; President of ASAP

§         Timothy Beatley, Ph.D., Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, School of Architecture, UVA 

§         Michael Collins, AICP, CZA, Town Planner for Orange, VA.; leader (1994-98) of the Thomas Jefferson Sustainability Council

§         Richard Collins, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Urban and Environmental Planning and founder of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation, School of Architecture, UVA 

§         Thomas Olivier, Ph.D., a specialist in conservation biology

§         Jeff Werner, MP, AICP, Charlottesville-Albemarle Land Use Field Officer for the Piedmont Environmental Council; member of Albemarle County Fiscal Impact Advisory Committee

                                        

The Steering Committee is responsible for preparing this ‘scope of work.’  It has also recruited qualified researchers and, where appropriate, national experts to serve as consultants for each of the research approaches.

 

The Outreach Committee consists of the following:

 

§         Chair: Richard Collins, Ph.D.

§         Al Weed, Nelson County farmer, Chair of Public Policy Virginia, and Vice President of ASAP

§         Laura Horn, specialist in development and marketing of innovative information and technology products

§         Francis Fife, retired banker and past Charlottesville Mayor and City Councilor, chaired Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority.

§         Jeff Sobel, M.Ed., financial officer at Region Ten; previously Executive Director of ASAP

§         Jack Marshall, Ph.D.

 

 

THE INDIVIDUAL STUDIES

 

[Funds set aside by Albemarle County will be applied exclusively toward studies of the biological carrying capacity of the community: research on ecosystem services, environmental footprint analysis, and single environmental variables.]

 

1.   Ecosystem services

 

 

Population growth and land use practices likely pose threats to ecosystem services within the Albemarle-Charlottesville community.[9]  For this initial phase, we propose to use existing data sets and tools to identify and quantify ecosystem services and attempt to define, in a preliminary fashion, thresholds for population variables (i.e., size, density, and distribution patterns) at which such services would no longer be sustainable—or at which point the costs of mitigation (if possible) are unacceptable.

 

 

a.     Review previous work that provides empirical and theoretical research on the topic, focusing on analyses of ecosystem services disrupted by population size, distribution, or composition. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (http://www.millenniumassessment.org/) and the many follow-on scientific publications will provide the basis for this literature review.  Regionally, work currently being performed by the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation on estimating ecosystem services will provide important methodological models for a local-scale study in the Albemarle-Charlottesville area.  Existing tools that estimate ecosystem services, such as American Forests’ CityGREEN (http://www.americanforests.org/productsandpubs/citygreen/) will also be explored for use in this project.

 

b.     Identify and quantify a suite of ecosystem services that are locally influenced and from which residents in Albemarle-Charlottesville receive benefits.  Ecosystem services that will be targeted for this study include [the list may be adjusted as the research proceeds]: control of stormwater runoff volume; water infiltration potential; water purification (i.e., control of nitrogen, phosphorous, heavy metals, sediments, etc.); air purification; (i.e., removal of carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, etc.); and carbon storage and sequestration.

 

c.      For each ecosystem service, identify thresholds for population variable(s) at which such services would no longer be sustainable given current land consumption patterns.  For example, at what population level are offsets in carbon emissions provided by forests exceeded by carbon emissions generated by residents?  Or, at what point will water bodies exceed a regulatory limit for a particular pollutant, or become severely degraded?  For some critical ecosystem services, we may also be able to estimate ultimate or effective limits to growth, beyond which population growth is unsustainable.  We will also identify the relative sensitivity of the selected ecosystem services to population growth.  If time allows, we will test the theoretical effectiveness of different policies or strategies (i.e., cluster development vs. conventional development) for mitigating impacts on ecosystem services.  The scale of analysis will be sub-areas within the Albemarle-Charlottesville area, such as watersheds or focused localities for planning (e.g., for “Master Planning” in county Development Areas).

 

d.     Convene meetings: possibly a kick-off workshop with local stakeholders to discuss critical ecosystem services for our community and for this study; and a meeting to present and discuss our findings and a draft report.

 

e.     Suggest preliminary recommendations for restoration and/or conservation activities or strategies.

 

f.       Prepare a final written report.

 

§         Tom Olivier, Ph.D., ASAP Project Steering Committee

§         graduate student(s) at Shippensburg University working with Prof. Jantz (to be determined)

§         Buck Kline, Regional Forester, Charlottesville Office of the Virginia Department of Forestry; head of Virginia Department of Forestry’s Ecosystem Services Working Group

§         Tom Dierauf, retired Head of Applied Research, Virginia Department of Forestry

§         graduate student(s) at UVA working with Prof. Tim Beatley (to be determined)

 

 

 

§         A final written report detailing the methodology, findings, and implications of the analysis

§         A geographic database of the landscape variables that are important for quantifying ecosystem services

§         Effective graphics displaying the study results suitable for PowerPoint or Internet-based presentations

§         At least one workshop/meeting as outlined above

 

 

2.   Environmental footprint analysis

 

 

This study will be undertaken in collaboration with Mathis Wackernagel and his consulting firm, Global Footprint Network (GFN) of Oakland, CA.

 

 

a.     Determine the biocapacity within our 750 square mile community.

 

b.     Define our consumption in terms of the per capita footprint of the community (in Phase 1, it will be assumed that the Charlottesville-Albemarle per capita footprint is the same as the U.S. average).

 

c.      Use these calculations to estimate the carrying capacity, at current levels of consumption, of our community.

 

These tasks will be accomplished in steps:

 

i.                     Obtain the necessary data.  This first phase of the study requires only existing data sets and summary statistics available from Albemarle County, Charlottesville, and state agencies.  Dr. Wackernagel (and GFN) will provide the local study team with specific data request sheets regarding the area’s biocapacity (data regarding local residents’ consumption will not be needed in this phase of the study, since it will be assumed that our per capita footprint is the same as the U.S. average).

ii.                   Analyze the data.  Dr. Wackernagel (and GFN) will guide the biocapacity calculation by setting up templates, in an Excel-type format, that will show all land types, their productivity, and yield and equivalence factors to translate them into global hectares.

 

d.     Convene a workshop for local stakeholders and the media to discuss a preliminary report, with an effective graphic presentation.

 

e.     Prepare the final written report, with guidance and feedback from GFN.

 

Other team members:

§         Thomas Olivier, Ph.D., coordinator of the local team

§         Michael Collins (AICP, CZA, Town Planner for Orange, VA)

§         graduate student(s) at UVA working with Prof. Tim Beatley (to be determined)

§         interested members of the linked groups listed below (to be determined)

 

 

 

§         a final written report detailing the methodology and the implications of our environmental footprint for a sustainable human population in the 750 square mile Charlottesville-Albemarle area

§         effective graphics displaying the study results (on PowerPoint) suitable for presentations

§         at least one public workshop presenting results for discussion 

 

 

3.   Population impacts on single environmental variables:  In addition to examinations of population’s impact on the systemic health of the environment, we can also try to determine whether there are thresholds of our community’s expanding population at which selected individual components of our environment are threatened, impaired, or extinguished.  These studies will be undertaken only if resources – funds and qualified researchers – become available.

 

3a.  Stream health  (PROVISIONAL[11])

 

 

 

a.     From the StreamWatch program, obtain the data set for stream biological

conditions and landscape attributes, population estimates for sub-watersheds in the Rivanna basin, and GIS shape files.

 

b.     Separate out the data covering just Albemarle County and Charlottesville.

 

c.      Re-analyze this disaggregated data set (using models developed by StreamWatch) and, if feasible, extrapolate to suggest sustainable population size(s) for the Albemarle-Charlottesville community.

 

d.     Prepare a final written report

 

 

 

 

3b.  Air quality  (PROVISIONAL)  

 

 

 

a.     Review literature to determine (a) thresholds of air pollutants for which local data is or might soon be available (i.e., ozone and fine particulate matter [sizes PM10 and PM2.5]); (b) previous studies relating air pollution to population size.

 

b.     Determine what correlation, if any, exists in the recent past between measures of air quality and size of Virginian communities.

 

c.      Examine any evidence regarding the relationship between air quality and the population size (and growth) of the Charlottesville-Albemarle area.  [Note that no air quality monitor currently exists in the Charlottesville-Albemarle community, though a state-of-the-art monitor will be installed at Albemarle High School in the coming months.]

 

d.     Present the preliminary results at a community workshop, which ASAP will help organize.

 

e.     Submit a final written report.

 

 

 

 

 3c.  Safe and secure water supply  (PROVISIONAL)

 

 

 

a.     Review l literature to determine current thinking about water as a limit to growth.

 

b.     Summarize current plans for expanding the water supply for Charlottesville and the Albemarle County growth areas, and state the population size this expansion is intended to support.

 

c.      Examine existing data regarding available ground water in the Rural Areas of Albemarle County, and discuss implications for a population size this source is likely to support.

 

d.     Determine the theoretical possibility, in our community, of capturing in reservoirs enough water to support much larger populations.

 

e.     Examine the feasibility of recycling water for large-scale community consumption.

 

f.       Present the preliminary results at a community workshop, which ASAP will help organize.

 

g.     Submit a final written report.

 

 

 

 

4.   Residents’ opinions

 

 

 

a.     Identify local surveys over the past 25 years in which relevant data appears regarding optimal population size, population growth rates, efforts to control growth, and quality of life (including perceived effects of growth); assess data for reliability and relevance.

 

b.     Identify patterns of residents’ views about local growth, in terms of (among other things):

§         Changes in opinions about growth and optimal population size over time

§         Differences in opinions by urban/rural residence, owner/renter status, length of local residence, age, socio-economic status, and other characteristics

 

c.      Assess how results from questions about rates of growth might be useful in determining opinions about optimal population size (which is not asked directly in available surveys).

 

d.     Prepare a final written report, to include graphs and tables.

 

e.     Prepare a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the report.

 

f.       Present the PowerPoint summary and participation in a workshop for local stakeholders and the media to discuss the study results

 

 

 

§         Final written report

§         Participation in workshop to present and discuss results

 

5.   Character of a community

 

 

 

a.     Critically review literature, both theoretical and empirical, that attempts to link the size and scale of American communities with other community variables that bear on “character”.  Such variables might include (but not be limited to) crime, community activism, water quality, diversity, cultural opportunities, tax burden, etc.

 

b.     Outline a model, based on existing literature, that illustrates distinguishing characteristics of communities at varying sizes (e.g., 50,000, 100,000, 150,000, 250,000, etc.).

 

c.      Examine reports from Charlottesville-Albemarle over the past 15-20 years from surveys and visioning exercises that suggest what kind of community local residents want for themselves.

 

d.     Meet with groups of local residents to discuss the results of the literature review and adjust the model.

 

e.     Submit a final written report to ASAP.

 

 

 

§         A final written report detailing the results of the literature review and the model illustrating distinguishing characteristics of communities at varying sizes

§         At least one public workshop presenting results for discussion.

 

 

 

 

6.   ‘Best Place to Live’ methodology

 

 

 

a.     Identify the attributes which contribute to the quality of life in Charlottesville.  Categories include climate, crime, health, education, transportation, recreation, arts and culture, neighborhoods, and other social elements.

 

b.     Use quantifiable metrics to provide benchmarks for analysis and comparisons:

 

c.      Identify and assess the future effect of new pressures and issues in our changing world.  Such factors, in addition to population growth, include the realities of higher energy costs (for gasoline, natural gas, heating oil), and telecommuting.  

 

d.     Present the preliminary results at a community workshop.

 

e.     Submit a final written report.

  

 

 

 

 

7.   Economic costs of growth

 

 

 

a.     Estimate the buildout populations of both the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle, based on the proposed zoning and other land use policies in their Comprehensive Plans (build on previous estimates calculated by the Thomas Jefferson  Planning District Commission and by Piedmont Environmental Council).  Estimate the approximate date at which buildout will occur (or provide several plausible scenarios).

 

b.     List the categories of economic costs and sources of revenue for both the county and the city.

 

c.      Estimate, for each category, the economic costs of the infrastructure necessary to provide for the population size at buildout, and estimate the revenue from each source (distinguish costs necessary because of population growth from those resulting merely from maintenance and replacement).

 

d.     Calculate the net economic costs (or benefits) attributable to population growth, and the impact on tax rates.

§         If practicable, find a means to undertake the calculation combining the city and the county.  

§         If the city and county calculations must be handled separately, aim at ensuring comparable analysis methodologies.

§         If necessary, focus on Albemarle County, and if possible use the CRIM (Cost Revenue Impact Model) computer program available through the Fiscal Impact Specialist (Steve Allshouse) on the County staff.  Recognize, however, that CRIM does not take into account several categories of significant economic costs that are outside the responsibility of County government (e.g., water and water treatment, solid waste disposal, road construction and maintenance).

 

e.     For the build-out population, provide several cost estimates based on:

§         the proportion of residential to commercial development.  This mix would first be established by evaluating the “base line” fiscal reality of the community’s existing development, as well as modeling the potential mix of development possible under current planning and zoning.  From these could be inferred a “ratio” of residential to non-residential mix which would suggest, in intervening years and with hypothetical populations, a mix of development which would be equal to or exceed a revenue–neutral fiscal evaluation.

§         from the scenarios—that is, the projected necessary mix of residential and non-residential uses necessary to maintain a positive fiscal impact—development alternatives can be examined which allow the community to evaluate each scenario’s impact on quality of life standards.

§         the population distribution (compact versus sprawled development), if the available fiscal model(s) allows such an analysis. 

 

f.       Present the preliminary results at a community workshop

 

g.     Submit a final written report

 

Other team members: Dave Shreve, PhD in Economic History; others to be determined.

 

 

 

§         Periodic written reports

§         Final written report detailing findings and recommendations

§         Availability to the media and interested parties (local officials, urban planners, etc.) to discuss the findings.


 

[1] The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Demographics & Workforce Section (www.coopercenter.org/demographics/), reports that the provisional estimate of Albemarle County’s 2007 population is 93,601; Charlottesville’s estimated 2007 population is 41,274.

 

[2] See pages 3 and 4 of the Introduction to the “Natural Resources & Cultural Assets” section of Albemarle County’s Comprehensive Plan.  The City of Charlottesville’s 2007 Comprehensive Plan (page 173, Chapter Eight on Environment) observes that “The…Sustainability Accords were included as part of the 2001 Comprehensive plan”; the document also incorporates the “2003 Environmental Sustainability Policy.”  Local governments are obligated to use their respective Comprehensive Plans to help guide their decisions.

[3] Endorsing ASAP’s request to the county were the League of Women Voters, Sierra Club Piedmont Group, Citizens for Albemarle, and Rivanna Conservation Society.

[4]The County’s Comprehensive Plan acknowledges these consequences of growth and development.  For example, the “Growth Management and Facilities Planning Goals” of the Land Use Plan explain that “Resource protection is the basic theme behind the County's growth management approach” (page 3).

[5] Albemarle County Board of Supervisors discussion, 6 June 2007.

[6] Funds provided by Albemarle County will be devoted solely to research to measure the community’s environmental carrying capacity.

[7] “Stakeholders,” in this document, refer to people and organizations in the community who are interested in, are affected by, or perceive themselves to be affected by, the ASAP Project or its policy implications.  Among the more conspicuous stakeholders are local government officials; business groups; environmental, social, and community NGOs; and those involved with strategic planning.

[8]These services are discussed several places in Albemarle County’s Comprehensive Plan.  For example, in the “Natural Resources and Cultural Assets” section, discussing the importance of protecting agricultural and forestry resources (page 2), it is observed that “Undisturbed forest areas protect critical slopes, reduce surface runoff, and protect air quality.”

[9]See, for example, the Albemarle County Biodiversity Work Group Report, October 2004, page 19.

[10] Albemarle County’s Comprehensive Plan, in the Rural Areas chapter (page 39), recognizes the value of this approach: “Ecological Footprint Analysis is an accounting method for estimating the land area that a community needs to supply its resource needs.  It is similar to fiscal impact studies already used by the County, but rather than expressing costs in dollars, it measures impacts in acres. Such a method could be used to estimate the outcomes of both County policies and proposed land uses.  Adapting this method could provide a tool for considering impacts on ecosystem services (air and water quality, septic absorption, climate mitigation, soil productivity, etc.) and natural systems caused by permitted or proposed land uses, as well as other activities.”

 

[11] Until ASAP identifies qualified researchers to undertake the three studies of single environmental variables described in this document, and obtains funding for them, these potentially useful components of the project can not be undertaken,

[12] Murphy, John (2006) Population density, water quality, and stream health in the Rivanna River Basin: A summary of the StreamWatch 2006 report.  Ivy, Virginia.  Page 1.

[13] Presentation by Dr. Dudley Rochester at the November 15, 2007, ASAP open meeting.

 

Mathis Wackernagel Biography

Claire Jantz Biography

Copy of June 6, 2007 Board minutes

Return to regular agenda