Spring 2012  •  Issue 2
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 In this issue:  

 

Water Analysis for Zion Crossroads

In January, Fluvanna County requested that the TJPDC develop a fiscal impact analysis on a proposed water infrastructure project in the Zion Crossroads area. The proposed waterline would extend to the Women’s Prison from the Lake Monticello system and would then expand to the remainder of Fluvanna County’s Zion Crossroads Community Planning Area.

The purpose of TJPDC’s Return on Investment (ROI) study is to provide insight to local decision-makers on whether this waterline would be cost effective for the County. The final results provide figures for the short- and long-term implications of an expanded public water and sewer system and also identify ways the area could develop under different growth scenarios. These growth forecasts will help guide zoning and land use strategies in the Zion Crossroads area.

By the end of March, staff completed the ROI model and then presented its results to the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors in early April. Once local decision-makers complete their review of the model results, TJPDC staff will submit a final report with the findings, methods and land use recommendations.

For more information, contact Will Cockrell at TJPDC at wcockrell@tjpdc.org or 434-979-7310 x440.


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TJPDC Public Service Training Offerings

The TJPDC continues to offer training opportunities as part of the Public Service Training program. Following are the dates and times for upcoming training offerings being held at the TJPDC’s Water Street Center:

April 30, 2012, 4 pm to 5 pm
What’s Happening in the Housing Market?
Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors (CAAR) Executive Director Anne Gardner and CAAR President Brad Conner will present information on housing sales, current inventory, consumer demand and available financing during a workshop being held on Monday, April 30 from 4 to 5 p.m. The presentation will include an analysis of the local market, trends in housing prices, a look at what indicators say about the health of the local housing market and what the future may hold. This event is geared toward planners, housing specialists, and advocates, economic development staff and interested members of the public. It will be held in the TJPDC Water Street Center at 407 E. Water Street in Charlottesville. There is no cost for the event, but registration is required due to limited seating. To register call 434-979-7310 x 210 or email register@tjpdc.org.

May 1, 2012, 11 am to 1:30 pm
Local Impacts from the 2012 General Assembly
This session will summarize key issues affecting localities from the 2012 General Assembly, with a focus on important budget happenings and legislative actions.

May 24, 2012
Local Government/School Board Relationships
This session will explore ways to maintain and enhance working relationships between local governing bodies and local school boards.

The goal of this initiative is to provide our member governments with better access to high quality training. We hope that Public Service Training will help elected officials and appointed officials and staff members to be better prepared for the complexity of local government issues and enable our member governments to better serve their communities.


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TJPDC Corporation Established as a Non-Profit

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission incorporated the TJPDC Corporation to serve as a non-profit arm for the agency. On January 31, 2012, the IRS informed TJPDC Corporation that it was exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the code. The mission of the TJPDC Corporation is to promote regional cooperation and collaboration among government, the private sector, and community organizations to improve the quality of life for citizens in the planning district region. The Corporation will assist community efforts in the areas of housing, environment, community development, transportation, workforce and economic development, local food, arts and universal design. It actively supports the work of the TJPDC by broadening the funding base for TJPDC initiatives and acting as an ‘implementation arm’ for selected projects.


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HOME Action Plan for 2012-2013 Available for Public Comment

The City of Charlottesville and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) invite all interested citizens to comment on the draft Year 2012-2013 Action Plan of the Consolidated Plan. The Consolidated Plan and the Action Plan guide the use of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds in the City of Charlottesville and federal HOME funds in the TJPDC region (City of Charlottesville and counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson). Funding levels for the coming year are estimated at $587,250 for HOME and $425,318 for CDBG. Comments will be accepted through April 26.

A public hearing was held by the TJPDC earlier in April, while Charlottesville City Council will hold a public hearing on May 7. The Action Plan is posted here, and can be picked up at the TJPDC office at 401 E. Water Street. It also is available by contacting Kathy McHugh at the City of Charlottesville at 434-970-3315, or Billie Campbell at TJPDC at bcampbell@tjpdc.org or 434-979-7310 ext. 230.


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Increasing the Use of the THA Toolkit

On March 30, TJPDC completed work on its third grant from the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities for work on the Transportation and Housing Alliance (THA). This grant, which began in October, 2010, was to be used to increase the use of the THA Toolkit, the first edition of which was unveiled in June of 2007. This was followed by a continuation grant that awarded funds to use the toolkit to carry out projects. Feedback from sub-grantees helped shape the second edition, which featured fact sheets on using the Toolkit for specific planning products and a new section on jobs. The third grant was focused on increasing the use of the THA Toolkit across the state and included the following work:

  • Training at statewide and regional conferences and seminars on the THA Toolkit and its application in planning work. Nearly 150 people were trained at presentations made at the 2011 Virginia Transition Forum, the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association annual conference, the Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference, the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) conference and the Governor's Housing Conference.
  • Case studies with the six member localities in the planning district on zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations and for development review process to identify barriers to inclusive and accessible communities.
  • An assessment tool to evaluate local policies and procedures, identification of common barriers and model language for revision of ordinances, regulations and processes.
  • Four regional training sessions, training over 120 planners and Planning Commissioners across the state.

The THA Toolkit, Assessment Tool and other materials are posted at http://www.tjpdc.org/housing/thatoolkit.asp. For more information, contact Will Cockrell at wcockrell@tjpdc.org or 434-979-7310 x440.


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Livable Communities Project Completes Workshops

1community Logo

The Livable Communities Project completed its Community Outreach Workshop series the end of March with the session on Historic and Scenic Resources. The six-event series solicited public input for the updates of the Comprehensive Plans for the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, and the Long Range Transportation Plan.

The Livable Communities Project is a nearly $1 million endeavor awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant program. TJPDC received the award on behalf of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to develop a regional implementation plan for the MPO area. For additional information, please visit the Livable Communities website at http://www.1-community.org/.


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Hazard Mitigation Plan Update

Hazard Update

Over the last quarter, TJPDC has shifted from analyzing hazards in our region to facilitating public participation to determine effective mitigation strategies. The Hazard Identification and Analysis and Vulnerability Assessment sections of the Hazard Mitigation Plan have been approved by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. The mitigation strategy phase continued with a public meeting on February 8, focusing on goals to educate the public to be personally prepared for disasters, to reduce the impact of hazards on regional infrastructure, and to protect people, especially vulnerable populations, from harm during hazard events. Input is also being collected with an online survey, which all residents in the region are encouraged to fill out. It can be accessed here. TJPDC staff is working with the Hazard Mitigation working group, Local Emergency Planning Committees, and local government staff to generate a series of recommended action items specific to each locality. For more information, contact Daniel Nairn at dnairn@tjpdc.org or 434-979-7310 x290


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Virginia Outdoors Plan Input Session

DCR

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation held two public meetings at the Water Street Center in March to gather regional input for the 2013 Virginia Outdoors Plan. These events were intended to provide a forum to help:

  • Increase public access to waterways;
  • Develop trails that connect regionally, such as the James River Heritage Trail and the Rivanna River Greenway;
  • Expand partnerships and collaborative efforts to connect the region's natural, historic and recreational resources;
  • Cooperate with watershed-focused groups on outdoor education and stewardship programs; and
  • Recommend state-designated Scenic Rivers and Scenic Byways

The Virginia Outdoors Plan is the state’s comprehensive plan for meeting outdoor recreation, land conservation and open space needs. Established in 1965, it provides guidance for all levels of government and the private sector and assists the state in prioritizing projects and allocating funds for outdoor recreation and land conservation. The plan was last updated in 2007.

The Charlottesville meetings were part of a series of public input sessions scheduled statewide. For more information and to view the 2007 Virginia Outdoors Plan, visit: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/recreational_planning/vop.shtml


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Transportation: MPO and RideShare Keep Busy

MPO Activities
For much of the beginning of 2012, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has been developing the Cville Bike mApp, a free, bike mapping application for iPhone and Android phones. The App allows cyclists to record their trips and send trip information to the MPO for transportation planning purposes. This input-gathering effort will help inform the cycling portion of the Long Range Transportation Plan, which is currently being developed for final approval in May, 2014.

The App will is available for download from iTunes and Google Play. When activated, the App taps into a phone’s GPS. During the trip, the App records GPS points every few seconds. Once the trip is complete, the user can anonymously upload the information to the Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO. The App also records some qualitative data such as trip purpose, weather, cyclist capability (beginner, intermediate or advanced) and affiliation with the University of Virginia. The MPO will be collecting cycling data between mid-April and mid-May. You can help local planners and elected officials improve cycling in Charlottesville and Albemarle by using the App! For more information, contact Sarah Rhodes at srhodes@tjpdc.org or 434-979-7310 x360.

Clean Commute Day

Clean Commute Day Coming in Early May
The Commuter Information Team is proud to host the 22nd annual Clean Commute Day in the Central Virginia region, Friday, May 4. Area commuters are encouraged to take the “Clean Commute Pledge,” promising to use a commute option other than driving alone for at least one day. Participants who make the pledge are eligible to win valuable prizes, with the grand prize winner to receive two tickets on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional Service, good for travel to any location along the route from Charlottesville to Boston.

To encourage participation, area transit services are helping the community “clean commute” for free. CAT is offering FREE bus rides all day on Friday, May 4, and JAUNT is offering free rides to all commuters boarding a bike the entire week of the event.

Join the celebration on Friday, May 4 at the Community Chalkboard on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall from 11 am to 2 pm. Representatives from RideShare, JAUNT, UTS and CAT will be there providing information and giveaways. You can take the “Clean Commute Pledge” at CommuterInformation.com and pledge cards will also be available at the celebration. Commuter Information works to enhance the quality of life and mobility of people in the Thomas Jefferson Planning District by promoting alternatives to single occupant vehicles through private-public partnerships, community outreach and individualized service. The Commuter Information Team is composed of RideShare, JAUNT, CAT, UTS and Greene County Transit.

RideShare Participates in Better Business Challenge Workshop
The Better Business Challenge held a workshop on March 20 entitled “Stop Throwing Your Money Down the Drain.” The workshop focused on things businesses can do to use less of our valuable resources that we all depend on – water and fuel. RideShare Program Manager Lisa Horanyi gave a presentation on the tools that RideShare offers, as well as what some employers in the area are doing to make better use of these resources. Participants learned ways to save by making smarter purchases as well as making small changes to habits with water usage and driving.


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Data and Scenarios Submitted for Chesapeake Bay TMDL Model

The TJPDC, in partnership with the Rivanna River Basin Commission (RRBC), is working under a Small Watershed Grant from EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program via the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, to provide assistance to TJPD local governments in developing plans to meet Chesapeake Bay cleanup requirements. The TJPDC and RRBC worked together to provide technical assistance, including data compilation and analyses of alternative scenarios, to assist local governments in determining the most cost-effective solutions to achieving Chesapeake Bay clean-up goals. For more information, contact Steve Williams at swilliams@tjpdc.org or 434-979-7310 x110.


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Eco-Logic Presentation
DEQ

TJPDC Executive Director Steve Williams participated in the Eco-Logical Peer Exchange held March 21 and 22 in Washington, DC. The Federal Highway Administration awarded an Eco-Logical grant to TJPDC to support the integration of regional green infrastructure planning with its transportation planning program. The project resulted in the development of several tools to assess conflicts between regionally-important natural resources and transportation projects in the planning phase of infrastructure development. TJPDC is using the tools as part of its update of the Long Range Transportation Plan. The final Eco-Logical report is posted at http://www.tjpdc.org/environment/index.asp.


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TJPDC Requests Governor to Act on VRS Bill

The TJPDC sent a letter to Governor McDonnell outlining locality concerns with SB 497, which requires local government and school division employees to pay the 5% employee contribution to the VRS, and that localities and school boards offset the increased contributions to be paid by their employees with a corresponding pay increase. The letter requested that the governor propose an amendment to the bill to provide an option for localities to require their employees to pay the 5% member contribution; or in the absence of this first option, to propose an amendment to allow localities the option of delaying the bill’s requirements for a year. The letter notes that a local option provision would allow localities to analyze the budget implications that exist in their locality, and then make a determination that best suits local needs and desires. It also highlighted the difficulties of accommodating this mandate in the midst of tight local and school division budgets being crafted. Subsequently, the governor proposed amending the bill to allow local government employers to phase-in the new requirements over a five-year period; those amendments were accepted by the legislature.


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Inside TJPDC—New Commissioners and New Staff

In January, four new members were appointed to the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, the twelve-member board that directs the PDC and which consists of two representatives appointed by each local governing board, more than half of whom are local elected officials. New members include:

  • Kathy Galvin, representing the Charlottesville City Council
  • Chris Dumler, representing the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors
  • Eddie Deane, representing the Greene County Board of Supervisors
  • Allen Hale, representing the Nelson County Board of Supervisors

Genevieve (Gennie) Keller, citizen representative for the City of Charlottesville and chair of the City’s Planning Commission, was elected as Treasurer to replace Dennis Rooker, who rotated off the Commission.

Wood Hudson recently joined the TJPDC team as the Senior Environmental planner. Wood relocated from Washington D.C., where he worked for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, mostly on watershed planning for the Anacostia River and other smaller watersheds in the Capitol Region. He was responsible for GIS and coordinating seasonal field work ranging from fisheries monitoring to stream restoration. Wood has a background in environmental policy/science and urban planning. He received his undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from Rollins College, and his master’s degree in Urban Planning for the University of Virginia.


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Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission
PO Box 1505 - 401 East Water Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902
www.tjpdc.org
(434) 979-7310