Agenda 21 and Henrico County Part 1: McBride Dale Clarion

 

(While Henrico County has not officially embraced Agenda 21, many of its concepts have filtered into county planning and other county government functions. This is the first of a multi-part series.)

Just who is McBride Dale Clarion? They are the  Cincinnati, Ohio office of  Clarion Associates.

What is their relation to Henrico County? A founding principal (partner, I presume)  of McBride Dale Clarion, Greg Dale, headed the development of the 2026 Henrico County Comprehensive Plan (see: January 22, 2009 Planning Commission Public Hearing 2026 Draft Plan). Future posts will highlight the areas of the 2026 Henrico County Comprehensive Plan that show the influence of Agenda 21 ideas, and how these aspects of the plan affect citizens of the county.

It’s important to understand the philosophy behind the firm that spearheaded the development of our county’s comprehensive plan. A look at Clarion Associates’ web site gives some insight to the company’s mission, philosophy and business practices.

For example, in the section regarding Sustainable Community Plans:

Sustainable community plans strive to integrate environmental, community, and economic goals in a way that allows for future generations to live in a healthy, thriving world and have the same opportunities we have today. Sustainability is not just about building green – it involves development patterns, mobility, energy conservation, environmental quality, urban food production and security, and public health in our communities. Clarion Associates has worked across the nation preparing sustainability plans and strategies that integrate a range of sustainability topics with more traditional comprehensive plan elements.

The site  includes reports like  “Embracing Sustainability in Community Plans“, “Saving the World through Zoning“, “Energy Conservation Strategies and Climate Action Plans

This may not seem significant now, but as we travel through the Comprehensive Plan, an understanding of the point-of-view of the people who helped the county develop the plan will aid us in understanding elements of the plan.

As a side note, go back and review the comments from the January 22, 2009 Planning Commission Public Hearing. Most of the residents speaking up at this meeting are from local bicycling associations and “Smart Growth” groups like Envision Henrico and Partnership for Smarter Growth. Please don’t misunderstand: I am not insinuating that all members of these groups are knowledgeably advocating for Agenda 21. I am merely noting the significance of the fact that most of the comments are from individuals who favor aspects of Agenda 21, such as emphasis on walking/ bicycling/mass transportation,  “mixed-use development” (think Short Pump Village), focus on wetlands and other environmental concerns, lowering “carbon footprints” etc. The fact is, most of us knew nothing about Agenda 21 three to four years ago, but advocates for aspects of Agenda 21 were actively engaged with our county government at that time.