The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ (COG) Board of Directors has announced that the City of Manassas Park will take part in regional planning efforts this year along with 18 other member jurisdictions as a result of a vote at the organization’s Annual Meeting in December.
Recognizing the need to ensure that more of the metropolitan Washington region’s 4.6 million residents have a voice in regional decision making, COG voted to amend its bylaws to offer Manassas Park full representation. The revised bylaws give the city of 11,000 residents the right to participate in regional planning activities and to vote on various measures of regional concern in areas including transportation, the environment, homeland security, public health, economic development and affordable housing. City officials, who accepted the invitation to join, have until March 1 to submit a formal request for membership.
"Despite our size, Manassas Park is glad finally to have an authoritative role in major decisions affecting the Washington region," City Manager David Reynal said.
Manassas Park has long been recognized as part of the metropolitan Washington region, but its limited population has been a barrier to membership in COG until now. Other similarly small jurisdictions obtained membership years earlier through a grandfather clause or through their parent counties, but the independent City of Manassas Park had no such avenue for entry. The December amendment makes a one-time exception for the city, which has consulted with COG on various issues in the past without voting or other membership rights. In September, for instance, the city manager and superintendent of schools joined conference calls regarding the region’s emergency response to Hurricane Isabel. The city’s membership in COG ensures that city officials will be alerted of regional issues and concerns and will have a voice in resolving them.