VAPDC Connections

Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions - October 2013

In This Issue
President's Message
Thank You 2013 Sponsors
2013 Sponsorship
VAPDC Website
VAPDC Connections
2014 Winter Conference
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission Receives NADO Innovation Award
Reduction in Water Usage Presents Financial Trouble for Water Utilities
Governor McDonnell Appoints HRPDC's Whitney Katchmark to State Advisory Board
Jailors Unlock Disaster Lessons for Regional Emergency Planners
Southside PDC Celebrates National Recognition
Udderly Fantastic "Bike The Valley" Website.
Fields of Gold Agritourism Work Session Advances Strategic Plan
CSPDC and NSVRC Host Shenandoah Water Supply Summit.
CSPDC Facilitates Community Wildfire Protection Plan in Augusta County.
Pulaski County Adult Day Services
Nominations for the 2013 VAPDC Awards.
The VAPDC 2013 Summer Conference.
Route 99 Corridor Retail Feasibility Study
From the President


As the leaves begin to fall and election day nears (and yes, that IS my favorite holiday) it's an appropriate time to reflect on both where we've come from and where we're going.  Our overall theme of collaboration and saving our taxpayers money was emphasized at our Summer Conference at Wintergreen.  As an association, VAPDC has been working to demonstrate the theme organizationally by forging stronger alliances with similar statewide groups. 


At the recent Virginia Rural Summit, there was a great representation from the PDCs with at least eight directly represented including about a half dozen executive directors.  As one wise-guy noted (yes, I wish I had thought of this myself) we almost had enough for a quorum of our executive board!  The Virginia Rural Center is undergoing leadership change as Glen Sink is retiring and being succeeded by Christy Morton as Executive Director. 


VACO President Jack Miller was an active participant at our Summer Conference and is an absolute master at networking.  He will be followed by Harrison Moody from Dinwiddie County who has been actively involved with Crater PDC for a number of years.  Outgoing VML President Ed Daley had a wonderful message in his President's report in the latest issue of Virginia Town and City:  "Another area in need of emphasis is for local leaders to make better use of the resources offered through regional service programs and volunteers.  I hope that Virginia Town and City will highlight the work of our regional planning commissions in the promotion of regional service next year."  David Helms, Mayor of Marion, VA will take over the reins of VML in October.  We look forward to continuing the strong working relationships we've enjoyed with all of these groups.


Looking ahead, many of Virginia's PDCs and Regional Commissions have already adopted resolutions of support for our Collaborative Governance Initiative, an effort to have the Governor and General Assembly further and more effectively utilize regional strategies in advancing a positive agenda for our state and our citizens.  We'll be meeting with key officials in state government and the Legislature in the coming weeks, and will need to maintain our efforts through the coming 2014 legislative session. 


My thanks to those of you have helped in our efforts, who have given of your time and talents freely to assist with this work, and who have done so without complaint and in good humor!  The federal government may be enduring a brief slimdown (it hasn't shut down... I had a note from IRS just this week!) but VAPDC and our member PDCs and RCs will continue work to strengthen our efforts, build our relationships and increase our effectiveness.  As always, we can use your help!  Thanks, and I'll see you in the trenches!




Woody Harris

President, VAPDC

Thank You 2013-14 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 
2014 VAPDC Sponsorship Opportunities

The Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions (VAPDC)

Sponsorship opportunities are now available for 2014.


Four levels of sponsorship are available: Platinum, 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 2014 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.


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

January 15, 2014

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

for the VAPDC 
2014 Winter Conference scheduled for February 6-7, 2014 in Richmond, VA
often for updates and news!  
See 'Whats New' and check out the VAMPO Site link!

Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission Receives NADO Innovation Award


The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission was recently awarded a 2013 Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation for its 2013 Regional Report Card: A Compilation of Regional Cooperative Initiatives & Activities. This marks the 6th time since 2007 that the Regional Commission has received an Innovation Award, which recognizes regional development organizations for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation's regions and local communities.

In addition, the Regional Commission's Executive Director, Wayne Strickland, was elected to the NADO 2013/2014 Board of Directors. The NADO Board of Directors oversees the association's budget and operations and develops policy on issues affecting regional development organizations. "We are honored to have Wayne Strickland serve on NADO's Board of Directors.  Wayne brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge and leadership on regional community and economic development issues to the national level," stated Joe McKinney, NADO Executive Director.  "Most importantly, Wayne is focused on helping our nation's local communities pursue comprehensive regional strategies for remaining economically competitive in today's rapidly changing global environment." 

Reduction in Water Usage Presents Financial Trouble for Water Utilities

By Whitney Katchmark, HRPDC Principal Regional Planner, September 25, 2013


Water usage in Hampton Roads has decreased by 10% in the last decade even though our population has grown.  Residents and businesses are using less water.  Although water and sewer utilities are happy that water conservation has taken hold, the unexpected decrease in water use can create a financial challenge for utilities.  The cost of treating water and wastewater is at least 80% fixed. Fixed costs like debt service, billing and customer service staffs, and pipe maintenance don't get any cheaper even though customers are using 10% less water.  Utilities in Hampton Roads and across the nation are taking a close look at their rate structures and considering new rates that rely less on per gallon billing and include flat fees per account.  HRPDC's whitepaper "Water and Wastewater Utilities, Designing the Rate Structure of the Future (PEP13-12)" provides more details about this issue.  The HRPDC Commissioners encouraged staff to provide more public outreach about this issue so upcoming newsletters will feature key facts about this trend.  
Governor McDonnell Appoints HRPDC's Whitney Katchmark to State Advisory Board

By Joe Turner HRPDC Communications Manager, 

September 25, 2013

The HRPDC's Whitney Katchmark was recently appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell to serve on the Virginia Water Resources Research Center State Advisory Board. She assumes the seat formerly held by John Carlock, who retired as HRPDC Deputy Executive Director in January 2013.


As the HRPDC's Principal Water Resources Planner, Ms. Katchmark works with utility directors and stormwater managers from the region's jurisdictions and understands the need for better research and data to implement state regulatory policies and develop effective local programs. Her appointment to the Board provides her the opportunity to share the local government perspective and advocate for water research needs that are not being met.


Created by the General Assembly, The Water Center offers resources and support to researchers, educators, and decision makers throughout the state. It exists "for the purposes of developing, implementing and coordinating water and related land research programs in the Commonwealth and transferring the results of research and new technology to potential users." (Code of Virginia, 23-135.7:8)


"This is a great chance to encourage collaboration between local governments and research programs at Virginia universities to support evolving water resource management programs," said Ms. Katchmark.

For more information on the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, visit their website Here.

Jailors Unlock Disaster Lessons for Regional Emergency Planners

By Robert Lawrence, HRPDC Senior Regional Emergency Management Planner, July 22, 2013


An often overlooked segment of government provided emergency planners with demonstrated lessons at a table-top exercise on July 10th at the Chesapeake Conference Center.

Exercise for the Peninsula Jails, Newport News Police Academy

Local and regional jails participated in their third and final table-top exercise this year, filling a conference room with over 100 representatives from sheriff's offices, nine different jail systems, local emergency managers,  and subject matter experts from the Department of Corrections, Virginia State Police, Department of Health, Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management and others.  To pull this event off, the Hampton Roads Inmate Evacuation Committee (HREIC)  planned the exercise scenario to stretch the limits of each jail system's plans and autonomy when presented

Southside Jails Exercise, HRPDC Regional Board Room

with a catastrophic hurricane scenario.  The exercise was funded by a Department of Homeland Security grant managed by the HRPDC and coordinated by CRA, Inc.


This exercise built upon results from two separate sub regional exercises; the first occurred on at the HRPDC Regional Board Room on May 9th for Southside jails and the second on May 21st for Peninsula jails at the Newport News Police Academy.  This series of exercises forged important relationships among participants and gave each jail corrective actions or recommendations to improve their plans and capabilities should a disaster strike.

Combined Regional Jail Exercise, Chesapeake Conference Center 

Southside PDC Celebrates National Recognition for the

Tobacco Heritage


Only a year after opening, the South Boston section of the Tobacco Heritage Trail is booming with walkers, cyclists and the occasional horseback rider.  The community has embraced the trail and made it a part of their daily lives, but that's not all!  The Tobacco Heritage Trail-South Boston has been recognized as a National Recreation Trail.


 On September 12, 2013 locals, elected officials, including State Senator Frank Ruff, attended a celebration on the Tobacco Heritage Trail.  Under the shade of trail trees, Joe Morgan of the Virginia Bike Federation addressed the group followed by the presentation of

(Left to right) Southside PDC Chairman and Vice-Mayor, Coleman Speece; South Boston Mayor, Ed Owen; and National Park Service, Ursula Lemanski

the National Recreation Trail award by Ursula Lemanski of the National Park Service to Mayor Ed Owens. 


 The event was concluded with a reception at the Prizery, where attendees saw a "Then and Now" slide show of pictures of the Tobacco Heritage Trail's first year in South Boston.  Food for the event was catered by Bistro 1888 and Berry Hill Health and Rehab Center donated a trail "birthday" cake for the event. 


The Prizery is an arts and culture center created by the renovation of a building where tobacco was "prized" or pressed layer by layer into hogshead barrels.  Today, among other things, the Prizery contains a tobacco museum and a Tobacco Heritage Trail facility with lockers, restrooms and showers that trail goers may use.  

Udderly Fantastic "Bike The Valley" Website

By Nancy Sorrells


It began as an idea formulated at a committee meeting, but soon a cow with a bicycling helmet was pedaling her way forward, eager to share the "udderly" fantastic news that cycling opportunities abound in the southern Shenandoah Valley.

The Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee that launched the website is part of the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPD), a planning agency within the Commonwealth of Virginia that has local government representatives from five counties, five cities, and 11 towns within a region of almost 3,500 square miles. The agency brings planners and citizens together to provide high quality planning services for the region - everything from disaster preparedness to greenways development.

For a decade the bicycle-pedestrian committee at the planning district has helped communities develop bike plans, sponsor bike rodeos, work with transportation officials to improve road facilities, and institute bicycle helmets giveaways at festivals.

But the committee, many of whom are avid cyclists, knew that something was missing. That something was getting the word out to locals and visitors alike that there was a hidden treasure in the hills and valleys of the Shenandoah. This was a bicyclist destination for all. Whether it is on road or off road, a 10-mile jaunt through the countryside or a grueling century up and down mountains, this region has it all for cyclists. Or so the committee reasoned. It was a resource the group wanted to share with the world.

The outgrowth of this discussion was that donations of both money and time from local governments, local bike clubs, and grants, particularly from the Virginia Tourism Corporation, were coupled with hard work from committee members and CSPD staff. The result was the birth of the Bike the Valley website. Read the entire article Here.

Fields of Gold Agritourism Work Session Advances Strategic Plan 


Government officials, planners, Fields of Gold participants, and small business analysts gathered this summer in a day-long work session to take the critically-acclaimed Fields of Gold agritourism economic development initiative to the next level of growth. Hosted by the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC) and facilitated by Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development, the work session refined the mission, developed goals, set priorities, and drafted a strategic plan for the future of Fields of Gold.


With the CSPDC recently receiving several grants to move the program into maturity, including a $35,000 planning grant from the Governor's Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) and a $60,000 Building Collaborative Communities grant, the planning session began building the foundation for the regional agritourism consortium to not only develop and market a robust website, but to create a sustainable organizational framework for outreach and education in support of the region's farms and agriculture-related businesses. For more information on the Fields of Gold program, Click Here

CSPDC and NSVRC Host Shenandoah Water Supply Summit 


CSPDC and NSVRC Host Shenandoah Water Supply Summit

The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC) and the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC) recently hosted the Shenandoah Water Supply Summit at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. With a goal of maximizing water management efforts in the Shenandoah River watershed, they unveiled the results of extensive planning studies and scientific articles published by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Because nearly all Shenandoah Valley localities tap into one ultimate water source, organizers were aiming to build a cohesive regional perspective. Participants were provided with current data, tools to support water resource management decision-making, practical applications and an opportunity to network with region water managers and users, locality representatives, regulators and other stakeholders. 


The Augusta County Board of Supervisors recently adopted the Augusta County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).   CSPDC worked closely with the County's fire rescue officials and the steering committee, which was made up of government officials, concerned citizens, and forestry representatives, to create the plan. The CWPP is a proactive planning step towards reducing loss of life among residents and first responders and mitigating property damage and resource depletion in the event of wildfires in woodland areas of the County.  Having a CWPP gives Augusta County a strategy for assisting communities in decreasing wildfire vulnerability.  With an emphasis on communications and education that empowers residents to prepare and keep themselves and their homes safe, the plan also stresses collaboration, prioritizing fuel usage, and reduction of structural ignitability as key ways to prepare for wildfire events.

Pulaski County Adult Day Services


Pulaski County has been awarded a $700,000 construction grant through the Department of Housing and Community Development's Community Development Block Grant program.  These grant funds will help to renovate and convert the former Newbern Elementary School into an adult day services facility and fall prevention center.  Adult day services provides day respite for family members, health oversight of elderly or disabled adults, and social, physical, and cognitive enhancement of function - a level of care currently not available in Pulaski County.  With the number of persons 65 and older projected to rise to 25% of the County's population by 2030, Adult Day Services is one of the key alternatives to nursing home care for older adults.



The Fall Prevention Center will address the problem of falls in older adults by providing comprehensive fall risk assessments, including history of falls and disease; balance and gait assessment; medication assessment in order to reduce inappropriate medication use in older adults; vision and hearing assessment; home hazard assessment; muscle-strengthening classes, and ongoing follow-up.  The Center will be the only one of its kind in southwest Virginia.


The County will be under contract with the Department of Housing and Community Development by December of 2013, with construction slated to begin the summer of 2014.


For further information, please contact Jennifer Wilsie,

540-639-9313, ext. 204.

Nominations for the 2013 VAPDC Awards 


The VAPDC annually solicits nominations for the Baker Achievement Award, the Dixon Award, the deVoursney Best Practices Award and State Legislator of the Year Award

Deadline for submissions:  December 1, 2013

Robert W. Baker Achievement Award

Nomination Form

Intended to recognize persons who have been involved directly in planning district commission activities and who have contributed significantly to promoting regional planning and development in Virginia.  These activities should impact more than one PDC.


Gordon N. Dixon Award
Intended to recognize an executive director, a VAPDC commissioner or a PDC commissioner, who has provided leadership and made outstanding contributions to promoting the concept of regionalism in the Commonwealth.

Robert M. deVoursney Best Practices Award

Nomination Form

Recognizes a PDC or a regional organization that has initiated or heightened an innovative approach or activity of regional significance.  This award recognizes innovation, excellence, commitment and/or service to the advancement of regional planning and multi-jurisdictional cooperation.


State Legislator of the Year Award

Nomination Form

Intended to recognize a State Legislator who has provided leadership or has contributed significantly to promoting regional planning and the PDC's in Virginia.


Please submit names of any candidates you or your commissioners would like to nominate for these important awards.  Please submit nomination forms with appropriate back-up documentation.  These awards will be presented at the VAPDC Winter Conference.


Nominations should be mailed by December 1st to:


Gail P. Moody, Co-Chair

VAPDC Awards Committee

Southside Planning District Commission

200 S. Mecklenburg

South Hill, VA 23970

The VAPDC 2013 Summer Conference 


The VAPDC 2013 Summer Conference enjoyed a new venue this year and hosted more than 90 PDC staff, commissioners, and guests. On the eastern slopes of the beautiful blue ridge mountains at Wintergreen Resort, participants enjoyed some timely and relevant presentations.  Topics included Washington Policy Update & National Trends in Regional Planning by Joe McKinney, Executive Director, NADO; Virginia's Evolving Demographics-Opportunities & Challenges by John Martin, President & CEO of Southeastern Institute of Research; and Engaging PDCs in Blueprint Virginia by Barry Duval, President & CEO of Virginia Chamber of Commerce.  Bill Shelton, Maureen Kelley, and James Shaw also were on the agenda and discussed Entrepreneurship & Economic Development-Capitalizing on Your Community's Assets. The Summer Conference ended with Trails & Tourism-Capitalizing on Virginia's Natural Assets presented by Allen Hale and Charles Fink.  Speaker presentations and more can be found on the VAPDC website at under Resources/VAPDC Conference Archives. 

Mecklenburg Receives Scenic River Award for the Meherrin River


On Friday evening, October 12th, Mecklenburg and Lunenburg Counties officially accepted a Scenic River designation for their shared section of the Meherrin River at an awards gala at the State Capital building in Richmond.  This event, held by the Scenic Virginia organization, was well attended by county and state government officials, as well as many involved in scenic and historic preservation efforts throughout the state.  The event was kicked off with an appearance and welcome from Governor Bob McDonnell who spoke of the importance of preserving and cherishing the incredible natural resources in Virginia.


The Meherrin River, best known in Mecklenburg for the Max B. Crowder Memorial Park at Whittle's Mill, is a completely separate body of water from the Roanoke River and associated lakes.  The Meherrin offers several canoe and kayak launch sites, and has offered its own unique stories and historical significance to Mecklenburg and Lunenburg Counties dating back to the 1700's, and to the local Native American population for thousands of years before that.  Its incredible history is matched by its scenic beauty, offering kayakers, canoers and fishermen stunning views and tranquility year-round.


This scenic designation evaluation was requested from Scenic Virginia by Angie Kellett, Director of Economic Development for Mecklenburg County, Beverley Hawthorne, Director of Community Development for Lunenburg County, and sponsored by State Senator Ruff and Delegate Wright.  The evaluation progress involved several evaluations of the river and a multi-day trip down the river to gain first-hand knowledge of the scenic and historic significance of the river.


Present at the awards ceremony to accept the designation for Mecklenburg County was Tourism Coordinator Justin Kerns, pictured above with several Scenic Virginia trustees.

Also receiving Scenic River designations at this event were the Dan and Banister Rivers, with several representatives from Halifax County, the Town of Halifax and Danville in attendance to accept these designations.