Spotlight Feature

Community Member Recognized for Planning Leadership

July 31, 2014 — Inta Malis, Planning Commission member and Form Based Code Advisory Working Group chair, was recently honored with the American Planning Association’s (APA) Virginia Chapter’s Citizen Planner Award. On July 22, she was recognized for 10 years of leadership in Arlington County during an awards ceremony at the APA Virginia Chapter’s annual conference.

Planning Commission Member Inta Malis (left) receiving an award from the American Planning Association's Virginia Chapter with Arlington County Planner Jennifer Smith (right).

Planning Commission Member Inta Malis (left) receiving an award from the American Planning Association’s Virginia Chapter with Arlington County Planner Jennifer Smith (right).

“Inta is at the top of the list of those that have made substantial contributions to who we are as a community today,” said County Board Chair Jay Fisette during his public recognition of Malis at the July 24, 2014, Board meeting.

She has been an integral community leader behind the Columbia Pike Initiative Plan, the Neighborhoods Area Plan, and the adoption of two Form Based Codes. Her dedicated work is helping to bring investment back to the Columbia Pike corridor.

Malis took the last major planning phase for Columbia Pike to new levels. She successfully led a community working group that benefited from her ability to understand and balance competing interests as well as her technical knowledge in areas ranging from Form Based Codes to economic analysis to transportation planning. She used her role to unify staff’s ideas and objectives with those of housing advocates, developers and neighborhood representatives. She is both action-oriented and inclusive. Her desire to learn from diverse stakeholders helped her build the trust necessary for bringing people together and moving discussions forward.

“The award winning Columbia Pike plan has been recognized nationally for achieving something that has never been accomplished before — marrying smart growth and transit oriented development with the preservation of affordable housing,” said Malis. “I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had and I share this award with the County staff, the Board and everyone else who has worked so long to create the vision for Columbia Pike.”

The planning process behind the revitalization of Columbia Pike is itself a recipient of multiple awards. This effort culminated in the adoption of a long-range plan (the Neighborhoods Area Plan) and the County’s second form based code (Neighborhoods Form Based Code). Ultimately, this plan and the precedent-setting, new form based code will help preserve 6,200 affordable housing units with the intention of maintaining diversity and creating a mixed-income community. Malis’ leadership ensured that the community vision and County goals for transforming Columbia Pike into a lively, mixed-use main street were at the heart of every discussion.