VAPDC Connections

Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions - July 2012

In This Issue
President's Message
Summer Conference
NRV Regional Open Access Network
Region 2000 Adds Emergency Communications
From the President

As you know, July brings the 'new year' for VAPDC and for me this year, the end of my tenure as your VAPDC president.  Serving on the VAPDC board of directors has given me a better perspective and some new ideas on how PDCs work regionally to solve state and local issues economically, efficiently, and effectively.  Your PDCs are doing a great job representing your local jurisdictions as well as working hand-in-hand with the Commonwealth to make important things happen!

The past two years have realized many exciting accomplishments for VAPDC. Our new and very-much-improved website is up and running. Read more in this newsletter about the new features and benefits you can find at Bill Leighty and his team from DecideSmart have been working with the Association to develop and execute its strategic plan. This effort is helping to move VAPDC forward along with supporting our member PDCs and the many entities our PDCs work with to promote regionalism and efficiencies in government.

More than 100 PDC staff members, commissioners, sponsors, speakers and guests will gather in Virginia Beach at the end of this month to celebrate the past year and VAPDC's accomplishments, as well as, look forward to 2012-2013 and the many opportunities we have to see our organization, and our PDCs grow and prosper. Online registration for the conference will be open through July 20th.

VAPDC continues to make great progress as an Association in working with state agencies and providing a forum where PDCs can network and exchange best practices to Create Regional Opportunities. I look forward to continuing to work with all of Virginia's PDCs as VAPDC's Immediate Past President. Get involved and help us continue approaching issues from a regional perspective to find solutions that work for Virginia.


President, VAPDC
  • Lenowisco PDC
  • Cumberland Plateau PDC
  • Mount Rogers PDC
  • New River Valley PDC
  • Roanoke Valley-Alleghany RC 
  • Central Shenandoah PDC
  • Northern Shenandoah Valley PDC
  • Northern Virginia RC
  • Rappahannock-Rapidan RC
  • Thomas Jefferson PDC
  • Region 2000 LGC
  • West Piedmont PDC
  • Southside PDC
  • Commonwealth PDC 
  • Richmond Regional PDC
  • George Washington RC
  • Northern Neck PDC
  • Crater PDC
  • Middle Peninsula PDC
  • Accomack-Northampton PDC
  • Hampton Roads PDC
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Virginia's PDCs: Working Strategically
for the Commonwealth's Future

July 26-28, 2012
The Cavalier Hotel, Virginia Beach

The 2012 VAPDC Summer Conference will once again be held at the Cavalier Hotel at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, July 26-28, 2012. As always the Summer Conference provides an opportunity for Commissioners, PDC Staff, and Private Sector Partners to come together to network, learn, and share best practices.


The program will begin with lunch on Thursday, July 26 and go through the final session, the morning of July 28. New to the program for 2012 will be a PDC Lightening Round of 'Show and Tell'---bring your ideas to share and brag on the great things your PDC/RC is doing to promote regionalism! You'll only have a minute or two so be prepared to hit the highlights and talk fast. The program will also include updates from JLARC and DHCD; sessions with selected Virginia Cabinet Secretaries; and much more.


There's a twist on the traditional schedule this year. The 'big event' normally on Friday evening will be on Thursday night and will feature a sunset cruise on the American Rover. Since 1986, the American Rover's red "tan bark" sails have been one of the signature sights of the Hampton Roads area. The American Rover will sail the smooth waters of the Elizabeth River and Hampton Roads Harbor on a 2-Hour Sunset Cruise. On board guests can lend a hand with the sails, take a turn at the helm or just sit back, relax and enjoy the experience. The American Rover is Coast Guard Certified and Inspected to carry up to 149 passengers. She is 135 feet in length and is a three-masted topsail schooner. There is ample comfortable seating with shade topside. Below decks there are two smartly appointed climate-controlled lounges, ship's store and bar, and clean, comfortable rest rooms. Transportation is included from the Cavalier to Norfolk where the American Rover will depart.


On Friday night there will be a reception with dinner on your own to follow. PDC Chairs (or designee) and their spouses will have the opportunity to dine together on the top floor of the Cavalier hotel overlooking the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.


Make plans to attend the 2012 VAPDC Summer Conference and explore the many opportunities for networking, learning, and sharing best practices. All meetings will be held in the contemporary Cavalier Hotel Oceanfront, but conference participants can stay either there or at the Grand Cavalier on the Hill. Use code "VAPDC" when booking to receive the group rate of $149 single/double at Cavalier on the Hill and $164 single/double at Oceanfront Cavalier. Early reservations are advised. The group cut-off date is July 25, 2012.


For more information on the VAPDC Summer Conference visit
New River Valley's Regional Open Access Network

In early 2003 a group of leaders from education, local government, private business, and economic development came together through the New River Valley Planning District Commission (NRVPDC) to assess the telecommunications infrastructure in the region. The result was the New River Valley Telecommunications Plan with a goal to develop an open-access service network involving inter-county, intra-county and local access through regional coordination and collaboration.  In 2008 the New River Valley Network Wireless Authority was created, with members from Pulaski County and Giles County, to help accomplish this goal.


Currently, the Wireless Authority is partnering with Citizens Cooperative out of Floyd, Virginia, to implement an $11.5 million/186 mile open-access fiber network project. The counties involved include Wythe, Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, and Botetourt and the City of Radford. This middle-mile broadband internet project, New River Valley - Regional Open Access Network (NRV-ROAN), is funded by $9.2 million in grant funds from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Matching funds are being provided by the Authority, Citizens Cooperative, and the Virginia Tobacco Commission.


On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, representatives from local and state organizations held a joint ribbon cutting ceremony for this project and the renaming of the New River Valley Competitiveness Center to the New River Valley Business Center. The Business Center, along with numerous schools and other public facilities in the region, will receive increased internet bandwidth as a part of this project. NRV-ROAN is scheduled to be completed by December 2012.


For further information, please contact Kevin Byrd ([email protected]), (540) 639-9313, ext. 212.

Region 2000 Adds Emergency Communications to List of Services Provided


The Region 2000 Local Government Council has now added emergency communications to the list of regional services we provide.


In February four jurisdictions asked the Local Government Council to provide organizational and staff support to the Region 2000 Radio Communication Board who manages microwave and repeater towers and radio switching systems serving over 3,000 public safety and general government mobile and portable radios.


New equipment to serve a network of fourteen microwave towers covering 1,200 square miles needs to be installed by 2014 to replace aging equipment.  Bedford County and City, Amherst and Lynchburg asked the Local Government Council to manage the procurement process, secure financing for the project and then hold title to the equipment until the loan is repaid.  Region2000


Using the authority under the Regional Cooperation Act, the LGC borrowed $13.1 million from Bank of America (3.01% for 15 years) and contracted with two vendors for the replacement and installation of the equipment. 


The LGC will also serve as staff to the Radio Board, manage the Board's finances and provide procurement services to various vendors to maintain the equipment.

Shenandoah Valley Regional Energy Efficiency Program Nears Completion

Jurisdictions Implement Energy-Efficient Upgrades based upon Energy Audits

The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC) has completed the second phase of its Shenandoah Valley Regional Energy Efficiency Program for municipal building upgrades throughout the region. The improvements are among those recommended by Roanoke-based Spectrum Design as part of an energy audit of 48 public buildings throughout the Central Shenandoah Region.

The full findings of the energy conservation studies were presented to representatives of each of the jurisdictions in the fall of 2011. As a result of the findings, projects in 20 communities are have been completed.

"This program has helped Rockingham County prioritize its energy-related capital improvements and put its resources where we will see the greatest savings", says Stephen King, Deputy County Administrator. The County has replaced approximately 300 light fixtures in the Rockingham County Jail with more energy-efficient light bulbs and electronic ballasts.  "The Jail is a building that is in use 24/7", says King "and making improvements in this area should have long lasting and immediate results."


In Grottoes, the Town upgraded approximately 300 lights in the Grand Caverns to LED lighting and made HVAC upgrades at the Stone House Gift Shop.  "Not only does this lighting upgrade reduce the Town's energy use, but this type of lighting also helps reduce the damaging algae that grows in the cave.  Algae impacts cave systems, especially show caves, as the lights generate an incredible amount of heat which can alter the natural environment of the cave and the creatures living in it", says, Avery Daugherty, Grottoes Town manager.  "We're not only saving money, but we're also mitigating a potential harmful impact to this natural resource."

The other towns in Rockingham County are also taking advantage of the grant and implementing a variety of energy saving projects in their public buildings including:

Bridgewater - Window and Lighting Upgrades in Town Hall
Broadway - Various energy improvements in several town facilities 
ayton - Solar Street and Park Lighting
Mt. Crawford - Window Replacement, Insulation, Lighting Upgrade at Ruritans Building
lkton - Window Replacement, Insulation, and Lighting Updates in Town Hall
Timberville - HVAC Upgrades at the Police Station and Town Hall

It has been projected that if all of the recommended upgrades were implemented, the region could save approximately $300,000 annually in energy costs.  On average, the payback to complete the recommended projects is estimated to be 12 years or less.

"Many of these structures are more than 50 years old, built long before energy efficiency was a priority," says Bonnie S.  Riedesel, Executive Director of the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.   "The energy audits recommended each of these projects as having the greatest impact in reducing energy consumption and costs.  We're pleased that through this grant we assist the jurisdictions in making some of these improvements that will have long-term benefit to their communities."

The project, under direction of the CSPDC, is being funded through the Virginia Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program administered by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy.  A total investment of $640,000 will be invested in the region.  In addition to the energy audits, the grant provided up to $22,000 in funding for each jurisdiction to complete the upgrades.

For more information about this effort, contact Mr. Robbie Huff with the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission at [email protected].

Hampton Roads Gets a Reality Check on Future Growth

Nearly 300 regional leaders and citizens from both the Peninsula and the Southside gathered at Old Dominion
University's (ODU) Ted Constant Center on May 17, 2012 for the Hampton Roads Reality Check event. The task at hand was to decide where the 350,000 more people projected to live in Hampton Roads by 2035 will live, work, and play. That is equivalent to adding another Hampton and Chesapeake to the region.

There were 30 different tables and each group discussed how to distribute housing units and jobs by placing LEGOs on a large map of the region without any jurisdictional boundaries. The participants were also encouraged to use markers and string to indicate where they wanted to plan new roads, mass transit, or preserve conservation areas.

The preliminary results of the exercise were compiled during the lunch hour and presented to the participants in the afternoon. There was a strong consensus among all the tables toward urban redevelopment and development along existing transportation corridors. The participants also highly favored more mass transit, envisioning high speed rail extensions not only to the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach but also up the I-64 corridor on the Peninsula as well. Some tables got creative and proposed a high speed ferry system throughout Hampton Roads.

The final results from the event will be compiled into a report to be distributed later this summer. The results will also be shared with local elected officials at a future HRPDC board meeting. ODU's E.V. Williams Center for Real Estate and Economic Development (CREED) will be analyzing and summarizing the results and producing the final report.

The Reality Check Hampton Roads event was presented by the Hampton Roads Chapter of the Urban Land Institute (ULI). ULI developed this event which has been held in several other regional throughout the country including Baltimore, Washington DC, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Tampa Bay. Supporting partners of Reality Check Hampton Roads include Old Dominion University, CREED, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, and the Hampton Roads Partnership.

For more about Hampton Roads Reality Check, visit