From the President
As we enter the New Year and reflect upon 2013 the PDCs of Virginia continue to work regionally to deliver much-needed services to their member localities and to the Commonwealth. State and local government budgets continue to shrink and while PDCs have little control over these limited budgets, they can be instrumental in bringing local and state governments together to solve problems economically and efficiently. These regional problem-solving efforts save Virginia time and money.
For more than forty years our commissions have been working arm-in-arm with local governments; the Commonwealth of Virginia; industrial development agencies; public service authorities; and 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.
VAPDC's upcoming Winter Conference, Virginia's PDCs: Meeting Virginia's Challenges through Regional Solutions will focus on how PDCs can be instrumental in the economic success of a region and add value for all of the Commonwealth's citizens. We'll have the opportunity to hear from newly appointed Secretary of Transportation, the Honorable Aubrey Layne; Secretary of Natural Resources, the Honorable Molly Ward; the Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, Dr. Glenn DuBois; and other great speakers.
For the fourth year the Winter Conference will be held in conjunction with the VML/VACo/VAPDC Local Government Day on February 6th at the Richmond Marriott. For program information or to register for the VAPDC Winter Conference go to www.VAPDC.org. You can register and navigate around our website.
I look forward to seeing you in Richmond for the Winter Conference!
Virginia's Planning District Commissions
Cumberland Plateau PDC
Mount Rogers PDC
New River Valley PDC
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany RC
Central Shenandoah PDC
Northern Shenandoah Valley PDC
Northern Virginia RC
Thomas Jefferson PDC
Region 2000 LGC
West Piedmont PDC
Richmond Regional PDC
George Washington RC
Northern Neck PDC
Middle Peninsula PDC
Hampton Roads PDC
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,
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 is published quarterly by the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions.
The deadline for the next issue of the newsletter is
April 15, 2014
Please share your news with your peers by submitting your articles to VAPDC.
February 5, 2014
VAPDC 2014 Winter Conference
February 6-7, 2014
February 11-12, 2014
February 19-21, 2014
often for updates and news!
See 'Whats New' and check out the VAMPO Site link!
Hickory Ground Solutions Analyzing Southside PDC Region
Grant aims to accelerate manufacturing rebound
Hickory Ground Solutions, a Heathsville-based company, is seeking ways to rebuild supply chains and improve employment opportunities in the counties of Mecklenburg, Brunswick and Halifax with a contract from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Hickory Ground Solutions is teaming with Supply Chain Visions, LLC, a consulting firm based in Boston, Mass. and Arlington, as part of the SBA's "Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership" (IMCP), an Obama administration initiative aimed at accelerating the resurgence of manufacturing in the United States and create jobs in localities across the country. The program aims to create well-paying manufacturing jobs in various regions of the United States with high unemployment.
Southside Virginia use to be a regional powerhouse in textiles, but with the passing of NAFTA in 2000, the area has suffered.
Working with the Southside Planning District Commission, the Hickory Ground Solutions and Supply Chain Visions team will analyze the area to see what type of manufacturing can be developed and what it takes to do it.
They will study what resources are available and the financial impact on the community. Another goal is to increase small business participation in manufacturing and supplies.
Area businesses that are able to work together as well as local business suppliers will be identified with the hopes of creating well-paying manufacturing jobs and rebuilding supply chains throughout the manufacturing communities.
The team will look to stabilize Southside Virginia's manufacturing industry and push to grow its economy. The team's mapping methodology will provide the necessary framework to grasp the underlying supply chain flows and their interdependencies in order to identify opportunity.
"Many times business people overlook the nearby area and don't know who has what to offer," said Bart Morrison, Hickory Ground Solutions' Chief Executive Officer.
The team hopes to bridge the gap between local buyers and seller in the area as well.
TEMCI Project in Western Virginia Observes Impact
In 2010 a partnership was formed between the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development and three Planning District Commissions in western Virginia (Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission, New River Valley Planning District Commission and Mount Rogers Planning District Commission) to support the Transportation Equipment Manufacturers
Competitiveness Initiative (TEMCI). The project was established to deliver technical assistance from faculty at Virginia Tech and manufacturing extension partnerships to manufacturing companies in western Virginia focused on the production of transportation equipment. Technical assistance focused on three core areas: process improvement, product development and implementation of green technologies. Over the three year project period, a total of 23 projects were completed with 9 different companies in the western Virginia area extending from Roanoke to Bristol.
The project was funded by the US EDA Trade Adjustment Assistance program with a $1.07 million grant matched by $420,000 in private company investment. The estimated financial impact of the overall program is $53.7 million demonstrated through investments made by companies to implement strategies identified in direct technical assistance, or cost avoidance through improved processes and deployment of energy saving strategies. Further, the project is forecasting 14 jobs created while retaining an additional 26. The most significant impact of the project may not necessarily be measured in employment figures, but rather improvements made through the technical assistance that allowed firms to retain valuable contracts they otherwise would have lost due to international competition or cost avoidance attributed to improved processing methods and energy savings.
Examples of the impact are quite diverse which represents the wide variety of assistance delivered by Virginia Tech faculty and the manufacturing extension partnerships. One firm specializing in refurbishing tractor trailer trucks redesigned their process which enabled them to increase their volume from 127 trucks per year to more than 500. A logistics company redesigned the layout of their facility to accomplish a 37.3% decrease in travel time for material handlers resulting in an estimated labor savings of over $26,000 annually.
A company seeking to reduce energy costs followed recommendations to utilize gas-fired heating for their high-speed molding machines and a variable-frequency drive for their hydraulic pump control which yielded savings of more than $250,000 per year. The direct technical assistance helped one firm eliminate 3-minute delays in a process while also decreasing die changeover and set-up time by half. The same company also trained three employees to be Green Belts in Lean Six Sigma (lean manufacturing techniques) for a lasting impact. Lastly, a major truck manufacturer improved their paint application process that resulted in decreasing overtime by $70,000. Through this project the partners supporting TEMCI were able to leverage world-class resources at Virginia Tech and the manufacturing extension partnerships by way of Planning District Commissions to market the program to private companies which yielded highly innovative successes for numerous companies in western Virginia. Ultimately, the Trade Adjustment Assistance program greatly impacted the region by delivering the technical assistance needed to remain competitive in a global market place for years to come.
For further information, please contact Kevin Byrd ([email protected]), 540-639-9313, ext. 212 or Brad Mecham ([email protected]), 540-639-9313, ext. 206.
Sinking Land Increases Impacts of Sea Level Rise in Hampton Roads
By Whitney Katchmark, Principal Water Resources Planner
For the past five years, the HRPDC's work plan has focused on quantifying and evaluating the impacts of sea level rise in Hampton Roads. Since land subsidence - the compaction and settling of ground surface area - can increase flooding, alter coastal ecosystems and damage infrastructure, it is important for regional planners to understand why, where and how fast land subsidence is occurring. In Hampton Roads land subsidence is estimated at 1.1 to 4.8mm/year, which is over half of the measured relative sea level rise for the region.
HRPDC staff recently collaborated with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to evaluate all types of land subsidence measurements in the region and determine why the region is sinking. This effort culminated in a USGS Circular, Land Subsidence and Relative Sea-Level Rise in the Southern Chesapeake Bay Region, released to the public December 9, 2013. Table 3 of that circular, "Observed sea-level rise and subsidence in the southern Chesapeake Bay region," summarizes the measured rates of land subsidence from the 22 monitoring stations that have recorded data beginning in 1940. The report concludes that land subsidence in Hampton Roads is primarily a result of groundwater pumping and glacial isostatic adjustment, the flexing of the Earth's crust in response to glacier formation and melting.
With improvements to the existing groundwater model for the Virginia Coastal Plain aquifer system, future subsidence could be evaluated; however, additional monitoring data would be needed to calibrate the model and better understand how land subsidence varies within the region.
Resolve to Live Greener in 2014
By Julia B. Hillegass, Public Information & Community Affairs Administrator
Let the New Year begin! While many will resolve to shed a few pounds, find a new job or get organized in the months ahead, there is one resolution that is easy to achieve, especially for businesses-to live greener in 2014. To help you get started, the experts with askHRgreen.org have compiled a top 10 list of ways to be a conscientious environmental steward throughout the year, every year.
- Reduce Paper Use - Think twice before printing emails, share materials electronically, offer electronic funds transfer or direct deposit for your employees instead of writing checks and set your printer/copier to photocopy on both sides of the page. You'll be amazed at the paper and money this will save!
- Choose Tap, Not Bottled Water - Instead of serving bottled water at meetings and company gatherings, offer chilled tap water in glasses or tumblers. In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, replacing expensive bottled water with clean, safe, tap water is good for the budget too. On the go, join our TapIt™network-TapIt gives you free access to clean water on the go through participating café and restaurant owners around Hampton Roads. Simply take your reusable bottle into any TapIt partner café and fill it up with clean, safe tap water for free! Click for partner locations in your area.
- Get Involved - Resolve to be more involved in 2014 by joining local community clean-up events or sponsor your own event. Make it a corporate affair! Giving back to the community is a great way to build office morale.
- Recycle - There will be plenty of junk mail, plastic containers, glass bottles, cardboard, etc., to go around in 2014. If you don't have an office recycling bin, place one in a common area and make sure everyone knows what is recyclable. Generate a little healthy competition and see which department recycles most consistently.
- Cut Energy Costs - There are a number of ways to trim dollars and cents off your office energy bills. Switch to efficient light bulbs, install a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature for peak efficiency, change air filters on a regular basis and look for the EnergyStar label when replacing old electronics and appliances.
- Recycle Electronics - Give your old, unwanted electronics a second life by donating them to a second-hand store or recycling them with a responsible electronics recycler. For a list of national electronics donation programs, click here.
- BYOB (Bring-Your-Own-Bag) - Help eliminate plastic bag waste. If you're in the retail industry, train staff to ask shoppers if they need a bag at all when purchasing small items and encourage customers to bring their reusable totes. Find alternative uses for plastic bags around home or the office and recycle what can't be reused.
- Cut the Fat- If you operate a food service establishment, train staff to wipe plates before rinsing in the sink and implement best management practices for safely disposing of kitchen fats, oils and grease. This will keep both backups in your pipes and the plumber at bay!
- Commute Smarter - Join a carpool, take the bus, ride your bike or walk to work. Try it once a week and go from there! Check out HRT's Traffix program for more alternative transportation ideas.
- Go Native in your Landscaping Routine - For your company entry ways, choose native plants and trees. These plantings are water savvy, have fewer pest problems and need less fertilizer than non-native plants. To view a guide of native plants in Hampton Roads, click here.
You'll find a wealth of more green tips to implement throughout the new year at askHRgreen.org!
HRPDC Releases 2013 Summary of Permitted Groundwater Withdrawals in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area
By Tiffany Smith, Water Resources Planner on December 10, 2013
Revised Regulations Become Effective January 2014
As a follow up to HRPDC's January 9, 2013 Special Report "Groundwater Withdrawals Increase as Public Reviews Proposed Regulations," staff has continued to monitor permitted groundwater withdrawals in the Eastern Virginia groundwater management area, which is an important drinking water source for the Hampton Roads region. As of October 30, 2013, a total of 168 groundwater withdrawal permits were on record for the allocation of approximately 150.4 million gallons per day (mgd) of groundwater withdrawals from the Eastern Virginia groundwater management area for public water supply, industrial, commercial, agricultural, landscape irrigation, and other uses. Public water supply and industrial uses account for 49.5% and 47.5%, respectively, of the permitted withdrawals. Approximately 147.2 mgd of the 150.4 mgd of total permitted withdrawals (97.9%) come from the Potomac Aquifer, the largest and most heavily used source of groundwater in the Virginia Coastal Plain. Declining groundwater levels in this area continue to be of concern.
The map below (download PDF) summarizes active groundwater withdrawal permits for 2013. Each point on the map represents the general location of a permitted withdrawal. The green circles identify permits that have been issued or withdrawals that are occurring based on a certificate of groundwater rights. The yellow squares represent permits that are pending issuance. Clicking on a permit symbol in this interactive map viewer reveals the permittee, the permitted groundwater withdrawal, the water use category, and the source aquifer.
Of the 168 active permits in the Eastern Virginia groundwater management area, 143 permits remain unchanged since 2012, five permitted groundwater withdrawal area were increased, 13 were decreased, two new groundwater withdrawal permits were issued, and five permits are pending issuance. A total of six permits became inactive since 2012; one was withdrawn, two were revoked, and three expired.
January 1, 2014 is the effective date for two revised regulations that will impact the management of groundwater resources in the Eastern Virginia groundwater management area. All groundwater withdrawals of more than 300,000 gallons per month within a designated groundwater management area require a permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). As of January 1, 2014, the majority of the Virginia coastal plain physiographic province will be included in the Eastern Virginia groundwater management area and groundwater withdrawals will therefore be subject to the revised regulations.
The amendments to 9VAC20-600, Designated Groundwater Management Areas, provide for the addition of the following localities to the Eastern Virginia groundwater management area: the counties of Essex, Gloucester, King George, King and Queen, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland, and the areas of Arlington, Caroline, Fairfax, Prince William, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties east of Interstate 95. The following localities are already included in the Eastern Virginia GWMA: the counties of Charles City, Isle of Wight, James City, King William, New Kent, Prince George, Southampton, Surry, Sussex and York, the areas of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties east of I95, and the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Hopewell, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg.
The amendments to 9VAC25-610, Groundwater Withdrawal Regulations address the increasing demand on limited groundwater resources, changes to the administrative review process, and regulatory changes necessitated by new information on the coastal plain aquifer system.
Pet Waste Station Grant Program Coming Soon!
By Rebekah Eastep, Physical and Environmental Planner
Hampton Roads residents will soon be able to apply for a free pet waste station through a new grant program from askHRgreen.org. Pet waste stations encourage residents to pick up after their pets by making it easy and convenient to do so. They are also one small thing a community can do to help keep our local waterways clean.
Starting in December, askHRgreen.org will be offering free pet waste stations all over Hampton Roads through the new grant program. If your neighborhood, home owners association, or civic league is ready to make scooping the poop a priority, then you're invited to apply. How does it work? askHRgreen provides the pet waste station and you keep it up! Each pet waste station comes ready to install and includes a post, sign, bag dispenser, waste can, hardware, 400 dog waste bags, and 50 can liners. All your group needs to do is regularly empty the trash and replace the bags. That's not much to ask for a cleaner community and healthier waterways!
Pet waste may be unsightly and gross, but it is also a major source of nitrogen and bacteria pollution in our local waterways. When it rains, pet waste washes into our storm drains and eventually flows into rivers and streams. This excess nitrogen and bacteria transform the water into a cloudy, green, foul-smelling mess that lacks oxygen and becomes an aquatic dead zone. The same pollution is responsible for beach closures, fishing restrictions and warnings on eating local seafood. Installing a pet waste station is one easy way to combat water pollution in your community.
askHRgreen.org will begin accepting applications for the pet waste station grant program later this month and supplies are limited, so be sure to apply early. For more details on the program or to learn what else you can do help improve water quality in Hampton Roads, visit askHRgreen.org.
Revenue Uncertainty Impacts Local Water Utilities
By Julia B. Hillegass, Public Information & Community Affairs Administrator
Conservation and improved technologies have contributed to lower water use in Hampton Roads and across the nation. The region's water utilities' revenue is directly dependent upon the amount of water used by customers. This means that the earnings are highly variable by both personal practice and seasonality. When people use less water, less revenue is generated to support the costs of providing clean, safe drinking water and wastewater disposal.
Studies indicate that the decline in the number of individuals per household and the increased use of low-flow appliances are primary reasons for the decline in water use in single-family homes. It is estimated that a home built in 2011 uses 35% less water indoors than one built prior to 1994. This coincides with the start date of the federal Energy Policy Act.
Trends in non-residential water use, such as a sluggish economy, relocation of industry and more efficient industrial practices coupled with less revenue from new construction and water and sewer hookup fees also make water and wastewater revenues less stable.
This shift in revenue uncertainty may mean that utilities will have to adopt a more proactive and resilient business model to ensure that they are able to maintain the high quality treatment of water and wastewater we are known for in Hampton Roads--things we as consumers too often take for granted.
By Jai McBride, Principal Regional Planner
The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) authorized the creation of a process to develop Hampton Roads' first Regional Strategic Plan entitled, Envision Hampton Roads. In developing Envision Hampton Roads, the HRPDC will follow a six-step Community Based Planning approach with the first step: establishing Community Values followed by Vision, Strategy, Plan, Fund, and Build.
Community Values are the basis for a set of common regional goals, the building blocks for Envision Hampton Roads. Establishing Hampton Roads' values provides an opportunity to reflect on the past and determine how our present and future can best support sustainable and cooperative growth in our region. This task involves an in-depth analysis of what residents value about living in the Hampton Roads area. It is important because the values help elected officials and planners understand how growth, transportation and environmental issues can be solved in response to residents' most fundamental values about quality of life. The analysis also helps local leaders communicate the benefits of growth planning more effectively with residents.
Using a survey of Hampton Roads residents, the HRPDC and stakeholders look to establish this region's values. Special care will be taken to ensure that the survey has equal demographic representation. The stakeholders are a diverse group of Hampton Roads residents, as well as, Federal, State, Regional, Local, & Community-based agencies and Organizations who are assisting the HRPDC to ensure that the survey and Envision Hampton Roads are a success.
The first stakeholders' meeting was September 30, 2013, in the Regional Board Room. During this meeting potential stakeholders received an overview of State Code requirements regarding Strategic Plans and planning district commissions, background information, and the Envision Hampton Roads process. The meeting ended with a roundtable discussion of regional issues and concerns. Before leaving, stakeholders completed a questionnaire that confirmed their level of commitment to Envision Hampton Roads.
For more information regarding this initiative, please feel free to contact Jai McBride at [email protected]
Governor McDonnell Applauds Efforts to Aid Syrian Refugees
Drive Collected Over 18,000 Blankets for Refugees During One Of The Worst Winters On Record; Governor Encourages Virginians to Help Those In Need This Holiday Season
RICHMOND - December 19, 2013 - Governor Bob McDonnell applauded the efforts of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and its members, Paxton Van Lines, and Maersk to provide over 18,000 blankets to Syrian refugees in Turkey. This initiative began following a recent NVRC cultural exchange trip to the region where local and state government officials from the Commonwealth toured a refugee camp near Adana, Turkey.
Speaking about this initiative, Governor McDonnell said "The holiday season reminds all of us that it is incumbent that we help those in need in whatever ways we can. Whether at home in the Commonwealth or some far away nation, the donation of a blanket, a meal, or a new toy can go a long way towards making the holidays a happier time for those in need. The donation of these blankets could not have come at a better time, as Turkey is seeing one of its worst winters on record. I applaud the efforts of all those involved in this initiative and encourage all Virginians to donate whatever amount of their time and resources they can over the holiday season to help make the holidays better for someone else."
The blankets were collected over the past several weeks at faith-based locations and governmental offices throughout Northern Virginia. The effort was spearheaded by Purcellville Mayor Bob Lazaro, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York, NVRC Executive Director Mark Gibb, Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova, and the American Turkish Friendship Association.
After collecting the blankets, Paxton Van Lines of Springfield transported the blankets to the Port of Virginia, where Maersk Line is providing several containers to ship the blankets to Turkey free of charge. Maersk, whose U.S. headquarters is in Norfolk, will soon load the blankets on one of its vessels out of the Port of Virginia and ship the blankets to Algeciras, Turkey, before transshipping them to Mersin where a local aid group will distribute the blankets at the camp. CMA CGM and other shipping companies have also offered their assistance with this initiative.
"As winter bears down on Turkey, these blankets will go a long way towards helping the Syrian refugees," said Purcellville Mayor Bob Lazaro. "The tremendous generosity of those involved in this initiative will have a lasting impact on those in need, and I'd encourage everyone to donate what they can throughout the holiday season."
To learn more about this and other initiatives, please visit http://www.atfa.us/ or http://hizmetrelief.org/syrian-refugees/.