VAPDC Connections

Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions - January 2013

In This Issue
President's Message
VAPDC Winter Conference
2013 Sponsorship
VAPDC Website
VAPDC Connections
Floyd Co Facility
Crater Region JLUS
RV-ARC Re-branding
Utility Directors Identify Concerns
HRPDC Launches Training Site
NSVRC Housing Project
From the President

Cliff Scaling or Cliff Sailing?


   As we enter the New Year and reflect upon 2012 we continue to look for indicators of an improved economic climate. Most of us continue to tighten our belts both personally and professionally; and local government is where shrinking budgets are felt the most. While PDCs have little control over limited local budgets, they can be instrumental in bringing local governments together to solve problems economically and efficiently.

   For more than forty years our commissions have been working arm-in-arm with local governments, industrial development agencies, public service authorities, as well as private business and industry on projects which contribute to the overall progress in the communities which they serve. VAPDC and its 21 PDCs across the Commonwealth continue to work on community issues with regional cooperation and collaboration. We continue to have many opportunities for our regional commissions to strengthen their ties with local governments and communities, using their unique talents and resources to solve many of the challenges they may face. Regional commissions have many tools with which to help, such as grant writing assistance to locate funding for various needs; partnering with industrial development authorities on industrial prospects; and many areas where the knowledge and experience of our commissions can be of such great value.

   VAPDC's upcoming Winter Conference, Virginia's PDCs: Saving Public Dollars through Regional Efficiencies will focus on how PDCs can be instrumental in the economic success of a region. For the third year the Winter Conference will be held in conjunction with the VML/VACo Local Government Day on January 31st at the Richmond Marriott. For program information or to register for the VAPDC Winter Conference go to You can register and navigate around our new website. We continue to add information and resources so check back often!

   I look forward to seeing you in Richmond for the Winter Conference!


Woody Harris

President, VAPDC

Thank You 2013 Sponsors

Virginia's Planning District Commissions

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

Join Our Mailing List 

Registration is open for VAPDC 2013 Winter Conference

January 31 ~ February 1, 2013

 Virginia's PDCs: Saving Public 
Dollars through Regional Efficiencies


Richmond Downtown Marriott


VAPDC will once again join VML and VACo for the annual Local Government Day on January 31, 2013. That evening following the day's activities, VAPDC will kick off its 2013 Winter Conference with a dinner/reception at the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park. On Friday, the conference will feature an awards breakfast followed by several speakers and end with lunch.


Details and Registration

2013 VAPDC Sponsorship Opportunities

The Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions (VAPDC)

Sponsorship opportunities are now available for 2013.


Commitments are needed by January 22 to be included as a sponsor for the VAPDC Winter Conference this month!


Three level of sponsorship are available: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. All sponsors receive the following:


~Recognition on the VAPDC Website

Company profile in Winter and Summer conference registration materials


~Company logo or listing on signage at the Winter and Summer conferences


New this Year:

~Sponsors become Associate Members of VAPDC, receiving member discounts on conference registration along with other benefits.


Other recognition and perks are offered for each level of sponsorship.

To view all the details of 2013 sponsorship opportunities and to become a sponsor, 

click here


2013 VAPDC Website:

We are very excited to announce the completion of the new VAPDC membership management system on our VAPDC Website. As you know the new website has been up and running for a while and is being populated with new information frequently. This newest feature will serve you better allows potential Associate Members to join online, register for conferences, sign up to be a sponsor and much more! VAPDC members can also login to the system and update their personal profiles. Our next step is to work with each PDC/RC representative designated to populate the online database with PDC/RC staff and commissioners.


Check the website often for new information and features. 


Email Jeanne Ali with any questions or comments.

VAPDC Connections 

VAPDC Connections is published quarterly by the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions.


The deadline for the next issue of the newsletter is

April 5, 2013

Please share your news with your peers by submitting your articles to VAPDC.

New Production Facility Coming to Floyd County

   A new kind of business center is on the horizon for Floyd County. The "Innovation Center" (its working title) will be designed to host multiple tenants engaged in industries such as high-performance and biotechnology manufacturing and is expected to be operational by mid-year 2014.


  The center will be paid for through several grants awarded to Floyd County's Economic Development Authority (EDA). Funding has been received from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Revitalization Commission, the US Economic Development Administration, and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). On October 25th, Earl Gohl, Co-Chairman of ARC visited Floyd County and presented the EDA a check for ARC's funding - $369,000 - bringing the total investment in the project to $2.3 million. 

   These grants will fund design and construction of a building that will provide several tenant spaces suitable for clean room production and energy-efficient features for sustainable operation of the facility.  The building will be 14,000 square feet on five acres in the Floyd Regional Commerce Center.

    The project is now moving into the design phase: Wiley|Wilson of Lynchburg, Virginia, was selected to design the building. The firm was selected through a competitive process from a pool of 12 proposals submitted to the Floyd County EDA.

   "This facility will appeal to entrepreneurs looking for a place that can handle their need for clean room-compatible space. We think they'll find real value in Floyd County - the opportunity to grow with access to a skilled workforce. They'll also get the benefit of the Floyd County rural lifestyle with access to the R&D environment of nearby major research universities," according to Floyd County Economic Development Director, Lydeana Martin.

   The building will be owned and operated by the Floyd County EDA. BC Genesis - a local biomedical firm in temporary facilities at the Jacksonville Center annex - will be the building's first tenant. Leasing is now available for three or four more tenants in approximately 10,000 square feet of remaining space in the center.

   PDC staff is working with the project management team and providing grant administration for the project. For further information, please contact Christy Straight ([email protected]), 540-639-9313, ext. 209.

Crater Region Commences Joint Land Use Study in Cooperation with Fort Lee
   In December, the Crater Planning District Commission signed a contract with Benchmark CMR, Inc. to assist the Crater Region in undertaking a joint land use study in cooperation with Fort Lee.  The Planning District Commission is sponsoring this effort on behalf of the local governments surrounding Fort Lee:  Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George Counties, and the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg, utilizing funding from the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment.

   As a result of the combined BRAC construction projects completed in 2011, Fort Lee has acquired 6.5 million square feet of new facilities.  The daily population has risen from 32,000 (2005) to nearly 45,000 and approximately 70,000 soldiers will now train at Fort Lee annually.  According to an economic impact analysis, undertaken via a blanket contract by the U. S. Office of Economic Adjustment and released in December, Fort Lee contributes approximately $2.4 billion to the Crater Region's economy annually.

   A joint land use study (JLUS) is a basic planning process designed to identify encroachment issues confronting both the civilian community and the military installation and to recommend strategies to address the issues in the context of the local land use process.  The JLUS is being conducted in a collaborative manner involving a variety of stakeholders, including the local elected officials, local planning directors, PDC staff, Fort Lee Command staff, National Park Service (Fort Lee is adjacent to Petersburg National Battlefield property), U.S. Department of Justice (a federal correctional institution is a Fort Lee neighbor), and community business leaders, including representatives of the development community.  Public meetings are planned throughout the one-year effort.

   Encroachment is being broadly defined in this effort.  It not only includes nearby land development, but will also encompass lighting, frequencies, airspace, environmental issues, transportation access.


  There are two primary goals associated with the Fort Lee JLUS:


1.   Encourage cooperative land use planning between the installation and the surrounding jurisdictions so that future civilian growth and development are compatible with the training and operational missions of Fort Lee; and


2.   Find strategies to reduce operational impacts on adjacent lands, including environmental impacts of those operations.


   Additionally, the JLUS will incorporate the goals which have come out of Fort Lee's Installation Strategic Sustainability Plan, which has had the participation of PDC staff during it development.

Out with the Old, In with the New: 
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission Takes on Re-branding Effort
During 2012, theRoanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission developed a re-branding strategy to more effectively promote the work of our organization and member governments. Part of this re-branding involved an organizational assessment of the Commission's brand and various programs we support, as well as an assessment of our website and public relations strategies. The co-branding of our many programs under the Commission's banner required that we take a careful look at our logo so that programs could be better linked together. In order to create visual consistency among the Commission's many programs, a new logo was designed and a strategy for co-branding our various programs is being implemented. This image is just one small part of a broader initiative aimed at helping us promote our mission and better highlight the services and programs we offer to the region.  Commission staff also administers the regional ride share program, RIDE Solutions,which also developed a new logo and website.

By Tiffany Smith, Water Resource Planner 


Regional concerns "appear to have been largely ignored"

   HRPDC is urging DCR to address major concerns with the
proposed regulation reauthorizing and amending the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) general permit for discharges from small municipal separate storm sewer systems (Phase II MS4 General Permit) [4 VAC 50 60]. In a December 2012 comment letter, HRPDC identifies issues with Section I.C., Special Conditions for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and highlights inaccuracies with DCR's data inputs to the Chesapeake Bay model, reliance on model-derived information, DCR's utilization of model outputs, and the need for specific revisions and implementation guidance.
   HRPDC's comments focus on the proposed regulation's reliance on baseline pollutant loading rates for nitrogen, phosphorus, and total suspended solids. These loading rates ultimately determine the pollutant reductions required in each jurisdiction subject to the Phase II MS4 General Permit. There are compounding flaws in the approach used to derive baseline loading rates. As the regulation is currently written, the pollutant reductions already achieved by local governments in Hampton Roads will be discounted, and localities will be forced to implement additional measures and potentially employ more costly solutions to achieve permit compliance.
   This is not the first time HRPDC has alerted DCR to these issues. Most recently, HRPDC staff provided a statement at the September 28, 2012 meeting of the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board (
click here to read more). DCR remarks during the September 28th meeting indicated the agency's intent to correct specific "oversights" in the draft language to allow locality reporting of water quality management improvements implemented between 2009 and the July 2013 effective date of the new Permit. However, as of December 18, 2012, the corrected language had not been released and it is remains unclear if the revised Section I.C. will be made available before the end of the comment period. HRPDC is urging DCR to provide the opportunity for public comment on the proposed language for this important section of the Permit.
   The HRPDC Joint Environmental Committee finalized comments on December 13, 2012, following endorsement of draft comments at the November 15, 2012 HRPDC Executive Committee Meeting. The public comment period continues through January 4, 2013. Notice of the proposed regulation is available for review in the November 5, 2012 issue of the
Virginia Register of Regulations.

According to the agency statement, the proposed regulation sets forth guidelines for the permitting of discharges of stormwater runoff from small municipal separate storm sewer systems (small MS4's) in urbanized areas. Small MS4's include systems owned or operated by municipalities, federal facilities, state facilities (including VDOT), and universities.

By Tiffany Smith, Water Resource Planner

  HRPDC is voicing significant concerns with the proposed Groundwater Withdrawal Regulations (9VAC25-610), which were recently released by DEQ for public comment. HRPDC's
December 2012 comment letter urges DEQ to make public drinking water systems the highest priority users, provide longer permit terms; and provide more appropriate evaluation of drought well permits and innovative management practices.
   HRPDC articulated the same concerns in October 2010 when the regulatory advisory panel process concluded. The proposed regulation fails to address these concerns and remains essentially unchanged from the 2010 draft language. Regulatory impacts to Hampton Roads water utilities include:

* Potential changes in the amount of water localities and businesses can withdraw;
* Potential increases in water costs to citizens;
* Changes in water use restrictions during droughts;
* Potential competition between public drinking water systems and other users for limited water supplies. 

The HRPDC Directors of Utilities Committee finalized comments on December 5, 2012, following endorsement of draft comments at the November 15, 2012 HRPDC Executive Committee Meeting.

Concurrent with DEQ's notice of the proposed Groundwater Withdrawal Regulations (9VAC25-610), the agency published notice of proposed amendments to the Eastern Virginia Ground Water Management Area (GWMA) Regulation (9VAC20-600). Both notices are available for review in the October 22, 2012 issue of the Virginia Register of Regulations. The public comment period for both regulations continues through January 11, 2013.
   The action for 9VAC25-610 proposes amendments to address the increasing demand on limited groundwater resources and to change the administrative review process to incorporate new information on the coastal plain aquifer system. All groundwater withdrawals of more than 300,000 gallons per month require a permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

The regulatory action to amend 9VAC20-600 proposes expansion of the Eastern Virginia GWMA (map) to include the remaining portion of Virginia's coastal plain to mitigate impacts of groundwater withdrawals and maintain a sustainable future groundwater supply. Currently, all localities in Hampton Roads, except Gloucester County, are located within the GWMA. The proposed amendment would add Gloucester and many other localities outside the region to the GWMA. The coastal plain aquifer system is an important drinking water source for the region. Declining water levels in the GWMA continue to be of concern. 

By Katie Cullipher, Senior Environmental Planner


   HRPDC recently launched, a new website designed to help localities inform and train individuals working in the food service industry on proper maintenance of grease control devices and the harmful effects of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) on the region's sanitary sewer systems. The site offers two FOG certification programs: one for food service establishment employees and one for grease haulers. Certification is required by some local ordinances.
   "We're thrilled to announce that we now have a central resource for the region's grease haulers and food service employees to receive the education and training required to help prevent harmful sanitary sewer overflows that are caused by improper handling and disposal of grease," said Julia B. Hillegass, public information and community affairs administrator for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.
   Employees can quickly and easily become certified by registering to take the free test available at The website also offers a wealth of training materials and resources from detailed presentations and step-by-step instructional guides, to posters that can be downloaded and printed for display above kitchen sinks.

NSVRC Housing Project Wins State Award    

   The Toms Brook School Apartments Project, which entailed remodeling an abandoned school building into affordable apartments and a community center, was recognized at the 2012 Governor's Housing Conference as the "Best Preservation/Revitalization Effort" in Virginia for its blending of affordable housing with historic preservation and adaptive reuse of the old School building.  The Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC) was project manager for two major grant funding sources, and also administered the management team that guided the project. An NSVRC staffer served as facilitator of the management team and also serves as the Toms Brook Town Planner. 





   The old Toms Brook School has been a priority revitalization project for the Town of Toms Brook and Shenandoah County since it closed its doors in 1992. Built in 1939, the Toms Brook School was a primary education school for nearly 63 years and one of many community schools along Virginia's Route 11 corridor. The School closed in 1992 after the consolidation of the Shenandoah County School system into three (3) campuses. After closing, the building suffered from disrepair and neglect and was subject of numerous failed plans for redevelopment before People Inc. acquired the site in 2011. 

   Citizens of Toms Brook never lost pride in the school's history or the desire to repurpose the building into a community asset. The Town, Shenandoah County and People Inc., in partnership with one another, have been working to make the building an asset again for the community. Shenandoah County was awarded $576,342 from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in 2010 through the  Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to kick-start the revitalization process.  As the developer and owner of the Toms Brook School, People Inc. purchased the site and leveraged the CDBG funds to secure the remaining $2.5 million dollars in funds through Low-Income Tax Credits (LITC), Historic Tax Credits, and HOME Investment Partnership funds made available through the state and the Northern Shenandoah Valley HOME Consortium. A management team comprising of Town, County, Regional Commission and People Inc. representatives was formed to guide the process. The project started construction in December 2011.

  Special consideration regarding design, preservation and restoration were required for the project via the Historic Tax Credit program. The program creates an incentive to maintain existing features of the building which denote characteristics of the past as a community school, including blackboards, room doors, existing closets, windows, and the old gym's fixtures, while also meeting the goals of the CDBG grant to assist low and moderate income people. The result is affordable 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartment units that have historic components incorporated into their design.

   When complete, the old classrooms and cafeteria spaces will be converted into 14 accessible apartments meeting universal design and 504 accessibility standards and will also be energy-efficient. The building will receive Earth Craft Virginia and Energy-Star certifications.

   An additional feature of the project includes conversion of the old gym to a community and recreation space available to residents and community members. The Town of Toms Brook plans to use the space for Town meetings and public hearings on a regular basis. People Inc. has already initiated its outreach and marketing to solicit and qualify potential tenants for a January 2013 move-in. 

   An Open House was held on Sunday, January 13, 2013 from 1PM until 5PM to showcase the project and its affordable units. Attendance for the afternoon was estimated at approximately 1000 people, including people of all ages representing several generations of area citizenry. The free event included the debut of an NSVRC documentary film on the School's history and redevelopment. It can be viewed on YouTube, under the title "Toms Brook School Apartments Documentary."  Though it is the first of its kind, NSVRC looks forward to future film and photo-documentation of projects with similar importance in local communities.  



Classroom remodeling underway...