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We are thrilled to announce our Conference Theme:

"Revolutionary Planning"

We are living in extraordinary times. How we lived, worked, and communicate has changed dramatically in just a few short years. Additionally, as research broadens and technology advances, planners are faced with an ever-changing landscape in which to discover new ways of meeting community needs. With the growing demand for more affordable housing, the threats of climate change, the emergence of new business concepts like data centers, the associated conflicts of economic growth versus affect on natural resources, and more reliance on renewable energy, we call on planners to share their revolutionary planning strategies in response to these unprecedented challenges.  

Tentative 2024 Conference Program:

Speaker biographies, keynote details, & plenary session information coming soon!

Please note that the program & schedule are currently tentative and are subject to change.

For our Mobile Tour schedule and details, visit out Special Events page.

Sunday, July 21, 2024 

1:00pm-5:00pm | MOBILE TOURS

1:00pm-5:00pm | MOBILE TOUR - Virginia Capital Trail: Where the world comes to ride

The Virginia Capital Trail Mobile Workshop will traverse the popular Virginia Capital Trail from Milepost 0 at Jamestown Settlement to James City County’s Chickahominy Riverfront Park. The Capital Trail is a paved, 10-foot wide, car-free shared-use path between Jamestown (milepost 0) and Richmond (milepost 51.7). The route will start in the parking lot of the Jamestown Settlement. The ride is 14 miles out and back, with a rest stop at Chickahominy Riverfront Park at mile 7 and snack and discussion stop at Spoke & Art at mile 11. The ride concludes back at the James City County Marina, which is also home to the Billsburg Brewery. E-bikes will be provided. This mobile bike workshop is suitable for bike riding skills from novice to advanced. More details here.

1:00pm-5:00pm | MOBILE TOUR - Coaster 101

Busch Gardens and Water Country behind the scenes tour. More details here.

1:00pm-4:00pm | MOBILE TOURMaking Better Neighbors: Town/Gown Relations

William & Mary is nestled in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg and its historic residential neighborhoods. On this walking tour we will discuss how the housing shortage felt by many nationwide is impacting the dynamics of the Williamsburg housing market, specifically, as it relates to off campus student housing in residential neighborhoods. This tour will highlight the collaboration efforts taken by leaders within the City of Williamsburg and William & Mary to sustain neighborhood character through proactive policy decisions. The tour will also provide an opportunity to discuss how other communities across the Commonwealth can strengthen their relationships with higher education partners. More details here.

Monday, July 22, 2024 


8:30am-9:30am | Opening Keynote 












Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority


He is responsible for the broad programmatic areas of business and relationship development, infrastructure development, strategic marketing, economic development, finance, security and safety.  He directs and manages the operations of Virginia’s marine and inland terminal facilities through Virginia International Terminals, LLC, the port’s private terminal operating company. 

He is a globally experienced leader in the maritime industry with extensive operational experience and a proven track record of growing businesses and creating long-term value for customers and stakeholders.

Before joining the VPA in January 2021, Stephen served as President and Chief Executive Officer for TraPac, LLC.. 

Stephen holds a BS degree in Transport Management from Aston University in England.

9:45am- 12:00pm | Deep Dive

Have Your Industrial and Resilience Cakes & Eat Them Too; PLAN Danville's Path to Revolutionizing Resilience; Virginia's Brownfields Program - A Resource for Community Innovation and Revitalization 

The City of Chesapeake has recently completed an Industrial Waterfront Study that focused on a multi-mile stretch of the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River. The project reviewed land use recommendations, particularly in the face of current and anticipated coastal hazard conditions, resilience strategies, and important guiding principles for future decisions in the area. The project aimed to both support growing industry on the waterfront, while also providing more connections for communities to the water, and protection for sensitive and vulnerable environmental areas. This intersection of priorities led to interesting solutions and a plan to protect and balance all of the interests above. The plan represents a first step towards bringing resilience principles to a community that has not had significant exposure to the topic, as well as a first planning effort to support industrial users on the water.



Jimmy McNamara

City of Chesapeake


Jaime Ramiro Diaz, LEED AP

Waggonner and Ball

Lex Agnew

Waggonner and Ball


Lucy Stoll

City of Chesapeake


In a world where the effects of climate change, shift in workplace culture, rising cost of living, and more compound on the daily lives of community members, our communities need to take a more resilient approach to planning for the future. The City of Danville took a data informed approach to resiliency with their newest Comprehensive Plan process to make more equitable decisions for the future. They analyzed data, compared measurable benchmarks, and listened to residents real-life experiences to identify gaps in their community resilience network. The resulting solutions were bold and implementable: shovel ready, grant-funded, partner-driven, or policy-driven. Using a Vulnerability Index, they prioritized solutions with a focus on benefits to historically disenfranchised community members. Learn how data and empathy can go hand in hand to create an equitable resilience framework for a stronger tomorrow in your community.


Renee Burton, MBA

City of Danville

Kendra Hyson

Smith Group 


Suzanne Schulz

Progressive AE

The Viriginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is committed to supporting brownfields revitalization for communities across the Commonwealth and as a benefit of funding providing from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) the Department is able to provide greater resources than historically available. Such efforts focus on the revitalization of communities left behind by declining industry and for sites impacting disadvantaged communities in areas that lack resources or capacity to pursue grant funding. DEQ is able to offer direct technical assistance programs to support a wide range of community revitalization activities and support. Many communities that have sites or structures that qualify as brownfields and therefore able to utilize brownfields funding, are unaware of this opportunity. This is especially important since many older buildings located in traditional downtowns meet the eligibility criteria. A goal of this session is to get the word out about the great resources that are available to eligible communities.



Karen Weber, Licensed Geologist

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Sean C. Garrigan, AICP

Stromberg Garrigan & Associates, Inc.


9:45am- 10:45am | Concurrent Breakout Sessions


Level Up Your Downtown-the Partnership that Drives Impacts

Main Street programs make great partners for local Planning, Community Development, and Economic Development offices, but not all localities that have Main Street programs know how to best engage with the organizations. The Main Street Approach is place and asset based economic development that is implemented through Design, Organization, Promotion, and Economic Vitality activities. Program goals include housing creation, adaptive reuse of historic structures, place making, job and business creation, and attracting public and private investment. Join us for an interactive discussion on the modern Main Street Approach and how local governments can support and leverage this partner for maximum impacts on the vitality of historic downtown and neighborhood commercial districts.


Rebecca Rowe, MSARP

Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development


Creating Comprehensive Plan Utility: Incorporating Public Utility Guidance into Your Comprehensive Plan

In 2022, Gloucester County undertook an effort to incorporate additional guidance for “public service corporations” and “public utilities”, including solar energy and battery storage facilities, into their Comprehensive Plan to assist with review under Section 15.2-2232 of the Code of Virginia. This session will detail the County’s history with these uses that led to multiple code amendments and the Comprehensive Plan amendment. We will illustrate the process for developing this additional guidance and the multi-level review approach established by this process. Presenters will describe where Gloucester stands in regards to these uses and what we anticipate applying this guidance going forward. We will receive questions and have an opportunity for attendees to access this document.


Sean McNash, AICP

Gloucester County, Virginia

Four Decades in Planning (and Still Smiling) – Reflections, Lessons Learned and maybe a Couple of Laughs

Any day in the life of a planner can often be difficult and challenging, but lessons learned across a nearly four decade career in the profession can help to provide some ideas, approaches and guiding steps to help navigate through the storms. By reviewing the skills successful planners need as well as the primary challenges they are likely to face in their day to day work, strategies to help planners grow and thrive in their careers will be shared as well as the qualities that can help build successful and supportive organizations.


Jeffrey K. Raliski, AICP

Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization

11:00am- 12:00pm | Concurrent Breakout Sessions


The Power of Storytelling for Revolutionary Planning & Inclusive Engagement 


Storytelling makes complex planning challenges easier to understand and has the power to synthesize different voices when identifying common hopes, aspirations, and visions of place. This session will highlight innovative video production and storytelling practices that have successfully supported public engagement and stakeholder workshops in both rural and urban contexts. This session will also illuminate practical applications for harnessing the power of place-based storytelling for building consensus and motivating active participation in visioning and planning for common goals.


Asa R. Eslocker, ASLA

Renaissance Planning

Becca Buthe

Renaissance Planning


Future Festivals: Innovating Public Input 


Immerse yourself in the future of public input with the City of Williamsburg. Explore the success of Future Festivals, a series of public input sessions with larger-than-life games designed to gather comprehensive data from a diverse participant pool. Join this interactive session to discover how innovative approaches can lead to more informed and inclusive decision-making.


Michele Mixner DeWitt, AICP, CEcD, EDFP

City of Williamsburg

Andrew O. Trivette, AICP, ICMA-CM

City of Williamsburg

Planning Commissioner Meeting

More details coming soon. 

12:00pm-1:00pm | Networking Lunch

We often hear that conference attendees want more free time during the conference and time to network or spend time with fellow planners, so have designed this lunch hour just for that! We will provide you lunch and the hour is yours! You can eat lunch in the main meeting room, you can take your lunch outside and enjoy the weather or you can go back to your room and check your email. There is no formal programming  during this hour.

1:00pm-4:00pm | Afternoon Mobile Tours

1:00pm-3:00pm | MOBILE TOUR - Take a Total 360: Kayaking at Waller Mill Park

Purchased by the City of Williamsburg in the 1940's what was thought to be a bad idea, has turned into one of the best assets of the City. Waller Mill Park, a 2,705-acre park is an oasis, that not only provides city residents with drinking water, but the opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of nature. On this guided kayaking tour on the 360-acre lake, participants will learn about the park’s history, the function and logistics of the reservoir as a drinking source, park wildlife and habitats, and the economic and community benefits of dedicated active recreational space in a city. More details here.

1:00pm-4:00pm | MOBILE TOUR - Williamsburg Urban Explorer Bike Ride

This 9-mile urban street ride will focus on bicycle infrastructure improvements made by the City of Williamsburg, as well as portions of the proposed Birthplace of America Trail within the City and York County.* Led by Reed Nester, retired Williamsburg Planning Director, Chair of the Historic Triangle Bicycle Advisory Committee and Chair of the Tidewater Trails Alliance, participants will learn lessons in collaboration, engagement and funding of local and regional bicycle infrastructure and pedestrian infrastructure. This ride is suited for seasoned cyclist familiar with urban streets will begin at the Williamsburg Lodge and traverse through downtown Williamsburg, Midtown Row, College Woods, and William & Mary. See map for route details. More details here.

1:00pm-4:00pm | MOBILE TOUR - Yorktown Waterfront: A Revolutionary Revitalization

The Yorktown beach area has been redeveloped substantially over the last two decades and future improvements will make it even more impressive. Come take a hands-on look at the history, projects, and beauty of this local beach. More details here.

1:00pm-3:00pm | MOBILE TOUR - You be the Judge: Historic Downtown or New Urbanism, is There Room for Both?

This mobile tour will include walking and transportation on the streets Downtown Williamsburg , an older downtown and New Town located in James City County, a traditional neighborhood design (TND) community.  Participants will discuss the benefits, the similarities, and differences in both communities. Guided by lifelong residents, an architect and a commercial real estate developer, participants will gather economic, architectural, and qualitative evidence to help decide once and for all, if these two philosophies can coexist. More details here.


1:30pm- 2:30pm | Concurrent Breakout Sessions


Avengers Assemble!: Joining Forces to Reduce Flood Risk and Transform Public Space


Join three colleagues from three different departments to hear how they combined their respective skill sets to reform long-standing zoning barriers. The trio took on the villainous, much-reviled-but-often-misunderstood Zoning Ordinance which was thwarting the County’s stormwater management and flood risk reduction measures, while holding hostage various public space improvements. The team was triumphant after developing a victory approach that relied upon established planning policies, community engagement with key allies, and combined efforts to swiftly, yet thoughtfully, open up new doors for future initiatives without interference from outmoded zoning requirements. Presenters will highlight successful outcomes that include new options for collocating stormwater management facilities on public land and for maximizing the efficiency of constrained park sites to meet the community’s future needs.


Nick Rogers, AICP, CZA

Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development

Aileen Winquist, MS

Arlington County Department of Environmental Services

Irena Lazic

Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation

Quick Takes: Repealed in Richmond - Change in Mindset of Parking; Tactical Pathways; TOD to Save the Climate

  • Numerous cities have decreased parking minimums but not many have had the community support and political will to eliminate parking minimums citywide. Richmond planners utilized a variety of community engagement efforts and communication strategies that led to unanimous approval. The planning effort began with doubt and contention but ended with clarity and consensus. Attendees will understand the reasoning for the complete elimination of parking minimums citywide instead of incremental changes that eliminate/decrease parking minimums near transit corridors or in a downtown area. The session will provide direct impacts that are already occurring in the city from the elimination of parking minimums with a focus on small businesses.


Brian Mercer

City of Richmond

  • No sidewalks in a rural town's cul-de-sac community resulted in HOA's frequent calls to the town requesting mobility options. With no CIP budgetary allocation toward a sidewalk solution, the planning department met with public works and collaborated on a year long tactical urbanism creative solution. The planning department worked with the HOA and removed parking on one side of the street. Public Works staff helped with implementing mounted delineators, stencils, and paint to create a 600-foot multimodal path. Results are being collected in year one to evaluate use, public feedback, impacts to street sweeping and snow removal. The results will be available in July 2024 and the outcome could be to make the temporary sidepath a permanent solution, or revert to side street parking and place a conventional sidewalk as a future CIP item. Stay tuned to find out how creative solutions may or may not have worked.


Jill Jefferson, CZA

Town of Woodstock

  • Confronted with a housing crisis, climate change, and exploding transportation costs, American cities need to prioritize a new form of development. Transit-oriented development has become as cliched as it is popular. In order to bring down housing costs through abundant units, to reduce carbon pollution, and to allow more people to live close to high quality public transportation, American planners need to borrow from the European concept of eco-districts to create low-impact new developments with a high quality of life for residents. This session will take real life examples from across Virginia to show how planners can pioneer a better way of building our communities.



Wyatt Gordon, MURP

Virginia Conservation Network

Planning for the Infrastructure of the Digital Age 

As the digital age continues to flourish with incredible amounts of information available at the click of a button and intensive machine learning programs becoming widely available, the infrastructure to make it all possible is resulting in major land use changes, resource constraints, and infrastructure expansions. While growth within the major data center hub of northern Virginia continues at a fast pace, communities throughout Virginia are now starting to see more proposals for data centers. We are at a critical point in this global transformation and planners will have a key role in this transition to a digital future. This session will cover trends in data center development, forecast for energy demand in Virginia, and land use impacts and externalities of data center development along with recommendations for proactive collaboration with the local utility on data center planning, establishment of clear policies that minimize land speculation, zoning language and conditions to help mitigate impacts on communities and environment, and practices that can help maintain the public trust.


Julie Bolthouse, AICP

Piedmont Environmental Council


2:45pm- 3:45pm |  Concurrent Breakout Sessions


Thinking like a Region: Comprehensive Planning in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake 

As of spring 2024, three of Virginia’s most populous cities – Virginia Beach; Norfolk; and Chesapeake – are all in the process of updating their citywide comprehensive plans. The alignment in these major municipal planning timelines is an unprecedented opportunity to chart a brighter future for residents of these Hampton Roads cities.  The big, complex challenges of the next decades – including housing affordability; transportation; social and racial equity; economic development; and flood risk due to sea level rise and other factors; – are too big for any one municipality to tackle alone, and the cities’ different approaches to these themes will be key. In this session, City Planners for these three cities will present the emerging themes of their Comprehensive Plans; the importance of sharing ideas between cities; and the opportunities for larger-scale regional thinking to tackle complex issues within each city. In this way, Hampton Roads can become a case study in how to foster regional collaboration, not competition.




Chris Whitney, AICP, CZA, CFM

City of Norfolk, Virginia


Kevin Finn

City of Chesapeake, Virginia


Hank Morrison, AICP, CZA

City of Virginia Beach, Virginia



Kristen Zeiber, AICP

WRT Planning & Design

Apples to Oranges? An Introduction to Federal Planning from a Former Town Planner 


Many Virginia communities include and/or neighbor federal properties, most notably military installations. This session will highlight how federal entities, particularly the Navy, conducts planning on its installations. The session shall be informative and interactive with discussion throughout. It will also cover how Navy planning is "revolutionizing" to integrate climate resiliency, renewable electrification, and other best practices.


Alex Berryman, AICP

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic

Zoning from Dulles to Blue Ridge: Learn About Virginia’s Fastest-Growing County’s Revolutionary New Zoning Ordinance 

Loudoun County is a dynamic Northern Virginia community that experienced significant growth over the past few decades. The County's recently adopted Comprehensive Plan includes aspirational policies addressing a wide-range of issues, from transit-oriented development at new Metrorail stations to maintaining and fostering our vibrant rural economy in the western part of the county. Come learn how Loudoun County engaged in a herculean effort to rewrite its Zoning Ordinance to implement the new Comprehensive Plan. Learn how the new Zoning Ordinance takes a wholistic approach to challenges such as incorporating flexible regulations, incentivizing attainable housing, preserving open space, and reducing excessive parking in commercial areas, as well as adopting innovative regulatory approaches for hot-button land uses such as data centers and energy storage facilities. Also join us to discuss how the County managed a robust public input program, including synthesizing over 10,000 public comments!



Brian Wegener, AICP, CZA

Loudoun County Government

Awards Quick Take #1 


Award winners will be announced soon!

4:00pm- 5:00pm |  Concurrent Breakout Sessions 


Affordable Housing Solutions in a TOD Context 

The apartment buildings we typically build in suburban mixed-use activity centers are often beyond the financial reach of local residents. “Vertical mixed use” with structured parking and retail on the ground floor is expensive to build. If we want to promote housing affordability even in our highest quality communities—including mixed-use, walkable districts in suburban locations—then we need to find a way to promote the delivery of more affordable housing. This requires (1) throwing the net wide on housing typologies, including some that are smaller and less expensive to build, while still achieving acceptable levels of density, and (2) understanding the financial viability of projects through two lenses at the same time: that of developers and that of local residents. Planners will gain awareness of a broader range of housing typologies and of analytical methods for assessing housing project viability for developers and housing unit affordability for residents.



John Bachmann


Jason Beske, AICP


Bill Skibinski

Prince George’s County (MD) 

Public Art Implementation: 10 Years of Lessons Learned 

Arts and culture are integral parts of thriving communities. In 2014, the City of Alexandria approved a milestone document, An Implementation Plan for Alexandria’s Public Art Policy, which along with outlining how the city would commission public art, allowed for public art to be negotiated as a part of the development review process. Over the past ten years, the City of Alexandria has been able to bring public art and cultural spaces to sites throughout the city as well as secure funding for future city projects. In this session, join the City of Alexandria’s planners and Public Art Program administrators in a discussion about the city’s public art implementation efforts over the past 10 years. Staff instrumental in developing the Implementation Plan will share lessons learned and helpful tips for planners interested in developing arts and culture supportive policies in their own jurisdictions.


Diane Ruggiero

City of Alexandria

Maya Contreras

City of Alexandria

Meika Daus, AICP

City of Alexandria


Powering Tomorrow: Learning from Northern Virginia’s Data Centers

As the epicenter of data center development in North America, with home to over 275 data centers, and host to one third of the world’s online use, Northern Virginia provides a multitude of experiences, insights, and lessons for professional planners. Jurisdictions like Prince William County and Loudoun County no longer are alone as communities throughout Virginia are starting to see more data center development proposals especially near and around the 95 corridor. This panel will discuss critical questions relating to data center development in Northern Virginia. Planners will learn about land use and impacts of data center development, how to prepare zoning language and other conditional language that can help mitigate impacts on communities, as well practices to help maintain open lines of communications and trust.


Emilie Wolfson

Prince William County

David McGettigan, AICP

Prince William County

Michael J. Zuraf, AICP

Stafford County


Daniel Galindo, AICP

Loudoun County

Two Truths and a Lie!: Lessons from New Planners on the Working World 


This interactive session is the one that everyone will be talking about at the conference! Add it to your schedule so that you can say you were there! Plus, you’ll have a great experience and learn a lot from a cohort of rising stars in the planning profession. Students who get interested in planning through their coursework, through advocacy in their local community, or even through enjoying planning-content on platforms like YouTube have an inkling of an idea of what things are like in the working world, but often the reality is very different from the perception. Dealing with complex noticing requirements, budgeting/billable hours, and juggling multiple development reviews for multiple applicants are just a few of the challenges that new planners face in their early careers. To demystify the working world, a panel of planners all under the age of 30 will share stories of successes and failures from the early days of their career via the classic party of Two Truths and a Lie! Session attendees will attempt to guess which details that the panelists provide are honest, and which one is the fake.


Nick Rogers, AICP, CZA

Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development

Kearra Bright

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority 

Alberic Karina-Plun

Albemarle County 


Laura Castro 

Arlington County

Pierre Jolicoeur

Arlington County 

Ben Loppacker 

James City County 



Tuesday July 23, 2024 

7:30am-8:30am | Planning Director's Breakfast 

8:30am-11:30am | MOBILE TOUR 

Rediscovering Jamestowne: Heritage Tourism and Resiliency Planning

For 20 years, the dedicated staff at Historic Jamestowne have been unearthing the legacy of the first successful English settlement in North America. Through extensive archeological research and excavation, the Jamestown Rediscovery Project has interpreted the former site of James Fort and other surrounding historic resources. This mobile tour will highlight the work of the dedicated staff of Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service to tell the stories of Virginia’s first settlement. Staff will share their efforts to promote heritage tourism, sustainability, and resiliency planning to protect one of the Historic Triangle’s most cherished historic resources. More details here.

8:30am- 9:30am | Concurrent Breakout Sessions


Market-Informed Solutions for CBD Resiliency

Central business districts have felt the extreme impacts of an evolving market of the post-pandemic world. Planners are asking what to do with increasingly high office vacancies, a less reliable daytime spending base, and the impacts on the business community. National Landing, Arlington’s one square mile downtown comprising of three neighborhoods – Pentagon City, Crystal City, and Potomac Yard – is facing these issues head on, both with BID-led (small and minority-owned) business programs and with the help of the County. One such effort, the Arlington County Commercial Market Resiliency Initiative, is a market-informed effort that recommends a strategy to modernize regulations, practices, and processes to ensure a more nimble response to economic shifts. In this session, you will learn what barriers the business community is experiencing in a post-pandemic environment, the regulatory reforms and innovative programs the BID and the County are pursuing to support these important assets, why it matters, and their impact on the National Landing Business Improvement District.


Jill Hunger, AICP

Arlington County - Department of Community Planning, Housing & Development


Val Weiner, AICP

Arlington County - Arlington Economic Development

Ashley Labadie, AICP

National Landing Business Improvement District


Tips for Navigating Newest Developments in Wireless Communication 


The wireless industry does not have to be a mystery. Learn tips and tricks for navigating wireless communication in your community in a way that fits your unique characteristics. Learn about satellite connectivity and the new FCC regulations surrounding satellite to wireless operations. Discover what the pandemic taught us about wireless communication infrastructure, are small wireless facilities right for your community and what to expect with 6G.


Susan Rabold

CityScape Consultants, Inc.

Bill Fritz 

More speaker information coming soon.

Planning Learning Lab: Anti-Displacement Land Use Strategy and Equitable Community Engagement in the AlexWest Plan, Alexandria, VA 

The City of Alexandria is wrapping up work on a Small Area Plan in Alexandria West, a diverse, and geographically large neighborhood containing 13% of the City’s land area, 17% of the City’s population, including a large number of immigrants and a substantial portion of Alexandria’s essential workforce, and nearly 40% of its market affordable housing. This session will focus on some of the Big Questions the City has grappled with throughout this process: How does the City retrofit suburbia, engage a diverse and multilingual community, empower members to participate in planning for their future, including developing strategies and resources to mitigate resident displacement, all while balancing regional economic pressures and the need to increase regional housing supply? To address housing affordability and preserve the community’s cultural diversity we are integrating our housing affordability and land use strategy in a unified approach, prioritizing growth in areas where development will not result in resident displacement. We also are evaluating the economic impacts of new development on existing housing affordability and focusing on creating open space gathering areas, ensuring sustainability, and incentivizing land uses that will support the neighborhood. The City has prioritized extensive community engagement throughout the planning process, using grant-funding to partner with and extend the reach of community organizations and community leaders, language interpretation and translation in six languages, and maintaining a consistent presence in the neighborhood through traditional and new tactics.


Jeffery Farner

City of Alexandria, Virginia

Helen McIlvaine

City of Alexandria, Virginia

Christian Brandt

City of Alexandria, Virginia

Equity is Everyone's Job: The Role of Peer Equity Coaches

Peer Equity Coaches are employees who work outside of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, trained to embed equity into the policies, programs, and service delivery in an organization. In Norfolk, we coined the term Equity Ambassadors for our Peer Equity Coaches. The City of Norfolk’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion launched the Equity Ambassador Training Initiative in October 2022 and is still growing strong in 2024 with four cohorts representing over 20 of Norfolk's 27 departments including Planning. The cohort model training is dedicated to promoting and developing culturally humble employees to serve as peer equity coaches in support of the City’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. The Planning department has implemented tools from the training by increasing community engagement in areas of the City of Norfolk that have been historically underrepresented in the decision-making process.



Jalesha Smith

City of Norfolk

Alyssa Flatt

City of Norfolk

9:00am-11:00am | MOBILE TOUR 

Exploring York County Blueways

Jump into an exciting morning out on the water kayaking at Queen Creek in York County. We’ll launch from New Quarter Park-guided by York County Parks and Recreation staff as we discuss the history of the park, the County’s water trail network, and enjoy the outdoors! Be sure to bring sunscreen and plenty of water. More details here.

9:45am- 12:00pm | Planning Commissioner Training 


12:00pm- 1:30pm | Awards Lunch & Annual Meeting

9:45am- 10:45pm | Concurrent Breakout Sessions


Lessons Learned from the Frontlines of Delivering Climate-Ready Affordable Housing 

Lessons Learned from the Frontlines of Delivering Climate-Ready Affordable Housing. The preservation of Hazel Hill Apartments (Fredericksburg, VA) and its 71 units of Section 8 housing -- nor that of the new construction of 450 units of affordable housing at Kindlewood (fka Friendship Court) in Charlottesville -- were far from a foregone conclusion. Each was the result of a multi-year, concerted effort to utilize existing policy levers (and experiment with a few new tools) to bring about these two redevelopment efforts which ultimately garnered $15 million total in Green and Resilient Retrofit Program funds from HUD. Learn about the journey of these two properties and how residents were engaged to shape the final outcomes, which include affordable secure, climate-ready apartments, rental homes and even some affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income households. With the new resources available through IRA (including the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund), understanding the journey of these two unique properties should be a core part of every planner's professional development so that they recognize the many challenges to bringing affordable housing to fruition and help advance solutions. Speakers will include Danielle Arigoni, Managing Director of Policy and Solutions, and James Engelhardt, Director of Real Estate Development -- both from NHT.


Danielle Arigoni

National Housing Trust

James Engelhardt

National Housing Trust


“See you at Lilli’s”: LGBTQ+ Cultural Heritage Preservation in Arlington, Virginia

In November 2023, Arlington County approved an update to its Historic and Cultural Resources Plan, which included the goal to “Seek preservation for high-risk and underrepresented historic and cultural resources and landscapes.” This presentation will provide an overview of a pilot Significance Study of the home of LGBTQ+ activist Dr. Lilli Vincenz that Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners conducted for the County. Preservation and planning issues to be highlighted include documenting recent and complex histories, assessing the cultural significance of sites through the lens of LGBTQ+ heritage, considering community outreach and engagement, and exploring local landmark status and interpretation in a changing neighborhood.



Jennie Gwin, AIA

Beyer Blinder Belle

Alyssa Tope, AIA, AICP

Beyer Blinder Belle

Cynthia Liccese-Torres

Arlington County Government

An Evolving Relationship: Tech Firms + Communities

The “An Evolving Relationship: Tech Firms + Communities” session will include an in-depth discussion on the evolving role that private employers play in the communities where they have a major presence; the role of economic development incentives in attracting and retaining those employers; and how communities can better structure ongoing public, private, and philanthropic partnerships and discussions that maximize mutual benefits for all parties. Session participants will be encouraged to share their thoughts on which organizations in their communities should be at the “negotiating table” around economic incentives and employer community contributions, along with examples of successful partnerships/conversations that they have been privy to, and any other ideas they have around how to improve these relationships to increase equity, sustainability, and resilience. Sarah Richards, AICP will be the keynote speaker.


Sarah G. Richards, AICP


Andrew Hopewell 

Town of Culpeper  

Paige Read

Town of Culpeper


11:00am- 12:00pm | Concurrent Breakout Sessions


Optimizing Site Selection for (Sub)Urban Agriculture: How Geospatial Analysis Was Applied to Balance Equity, Sustainability, and Longevity in Richmond City, VA 

In-ground urban agriculture site selection faces complex challenges and often suffers from a lack of empiricism. This problem is particularly acute in densely populated areas like Richmond, Virginia, where the need to balance environmental sustainability with social equity is paramount. Our work adapts the USDA’s Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) method, developed in the 1980s as a tool to identify and evaluate land for specific agricultural uses in rural settings, to urban and suburban contexts.The urban LESA model draws on insights from the USDA and scholarly research on urban agriculture viability, as well as input from city officials and local stakeholders. By leveraging GIS and geospatial analysis to systematically evaluate suitability, this approach can aid jurisdictional decision-making around site selection in a data-driven and empirically informed way. We will explore the ways in which GIS can facilitate the strategic identification of urban areas in Richmond City, Virginia that are best suited for in-ground urban agricultural development by integrating environmental, socio-economic, and spatial data to optimize site selection for both productivity and long-term sustainability.



John Jones, MPA, PhD

Virginia Commonwealth University

Andrew Cameron

City of Newport News

Convergent Development: Where Community and Economic Development Intersect 

What would it look like if economic development and community development professionals were working together to achieve positive changes in their communities? How would this process begin? What are the characteristics of the people who span these boundaries? What steps can your community take? If you are ready to learn how three communities in Virginia are answering these questions, join us for a panel discussion about convergent development, the intersection of economic development and community development to build resilient, vibrant places.


Dr. John Accordino, FAICP

Virginia Commonwealth University

Courtney Mailey, MURP

Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development

Other presenters TBD


Community Outreach and Engagement: The Antidote to Polarization 


We are living in fast-paced and often divisive times, with quickly changing community priorities and social platform outlets that sometimes help, but sometimes hinder building unity in community planning for the future. Traditional public hearings, input sessions, and surveys are good for disseminating information and getting feedback, but they don’t always offer residents a safe and appealing opportunity to engage with one another about their shared hopes for the future. Centered on the methodology of Community Heart & Soul’s resident-driven planning process, this session will demonstrate how the model works to build relationships through a process of story gathering and sharing based on what is most important to residents. In this participatory session, attendees will experience how Heart & Soul’s intentional approach to engagement enables communities to build the trust necessary for working together to solve problems, plan for the future, and drive lasting change.


Susan Berry Hill, AICP, CH&S Coach

Retired Planner


Joan Wagner, Ed.D.

Community Heart & Soul 

12:00pm-1:30pm | Awards Lunch 

1:30pm-4:30pm | MOBILE TOUR 


Telling the Story of African American History in the City of Williamsburg

In recent years, a more consertive effort has been made to give voice to the history of minority communities. These stories provide a richness and layer of American history that help create healing and unity within communities. Learn how four institutions using their individual strengths tell the story of African Americans from the 1800's to the present. This tour wil lead participants on a beind the scenes walking tour of the historic Bray School and other AA sites in the historic district. Participants will take a shuttle to historic First Baptist Church organized in 1776 by slaves and free blacks, and have the opportunity to ring the Freedom Bell. Lastly participants will view stops on the upcoming African Amerian Heritage Trail including the Hearth memorial on the campus of William & Mary. More details here.


1:30pm- 2:30pm | Concurrent Breakout Sessions


​Revolutionary Zoning in Norfolk: What 5-Years of Implementation has Revealed

Norfolk set out to create the “most resilient zoning ordinance” in the country. The City adopted new approaches to address resilience, such as the Resilience Quotient and related point system, Neighborhood Resilience Overlays, “flexible” development standards, and “clarified” processes. Five years into implementation we have learned what works—the regulations that lead to the expected outcome—and what does not work—the regulations that either are ineffective, impossible or too difficult to implement, and at worst, result in negative outcomes.


Jeremy Sharp, AICP

City of Norfolk Dept of City Planning

Robert "Bobby" Tajan, AICP

City of Norfolk Dept of Planning

Paula Shea, AICP

City of Norfolk Dept. of City Planning


Quick Takes—A 3 Part Series: Growth Management - Adapting to Population Increase and Climate Change; Battling Blight Using CDBG Grants; AI, The Multiverse, and Next Generation Planning 

Part 1: The world is rapidly growing in population and the climate is shifting for the worse. As more places become uninhabitable, people will seek new homes in more livable environments, causing the population to rapidly increase in these areas. This rapid urbanization must be managed in some way. Land use regulations, specifically growth management policies, are an effective land use planning tool to prevent urban sprawl and to enforce efficient development. Learn how to measure the efficacy of growth management through the application of an evaluation matrix, crafted specifically for understanding how growth management can be used to address the need to manage population growth and the need to adapt to climate change.


Shaianna Trump

City of Richmond

Part 2: The City of Chesapeake is leveraging Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for Code Enforcement to battle blight in a certified area. Using Census data, a detailed GIS analysis was conducted to determine Chesapeake's CDBG Certified Code Enforcement Area and Standard Operating Procedures were created for HUD approval. Inspection procedures were created to ensure compliance with HUD standards, but also to ensure inspectors provided available resources to property owners or tenants to rectify the violation and create safer neighborhoods for all citizens. Resources provided include a City funded Land Bank Authority Residential Rehabilitation Grant Program, targeted in the City's historic neighborhood, and connections to several non-profit community partners. Code enforcement cases are tracked in GIS to evaluate effectiveness and identify needed improvements.


Rebecca Benz, GISP

City of Chesapeake

Crystal Bynum

City of Chesapeake

Part 3: The event horizon for traditional planning is upon us, with advances in Artificial Intelligence fundamentally transforming planning practices in our increasingly digital world. This session explores how generative AI is revolutionizing workflows, public engagement, and data analysis and visualization, as exemplified by Shenandoah County's comprehensive planning process. Over five years, AI tools, including ChatGPT for data scraping, mass email campaigns, GIS data management, and an interactive chatbot, have significantly enhanced the planning capabilities in-house, supported by volunteers. These tools facilitated scenario planning, offering a multiverse of possibilities through detailed visuals and descriptions, demonstrating how AI can bridge gaps in resources and staff. The session will showcase live demonstrations of AI tools in action, illustrating their potential to empower communities with limited budgets to achieve consensus and envision a future that moves beyond traditional planning practices.


Tyler Hinkle, AICP

Shenandoah County


Understanding Electric Transmission Planning

In this session, we'll discuss the process of electric transmission planning, what drives the need for new transmission lines, and what role local and VA state government and public utilities have in selecting new routes for transmission lines.


William Tucker, AICP

Burns and McDonnell

Angeline Crowder, AICP

Burns and McDonnell


Awards Quick Take #2

Award winners will be announced soon!

2:45pm- 3:45pm | Concurrent Breakout Sessions


Rising Tides, Resilient Minds: Protecting America’s Birthplace 

Ranked as one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2022 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Jamestown’s low-lying location adjacent to the James River makes it vulnerable to flooding, storm surge, and sea level rise. As a proactive framework to document the challenges, supporting data, goals, and solutions for long-term water management, a Resiliency Plan was developed for the 22-acre site on Jamestown Island. During this session, attendees will learn about this long-term approach to resiliency planning that provides a promising future for this historic coastal site. They’ll learn about new techniques and resources for implementing mitigation strategies that engage community members, support economic opportunity, and enhance quality of life.


Stephen Talley, PLA


Michael Lavin

Jamestown Rediscovery


Clearing the Fog: Providing Effective Visuals and Relevant Data to Drive Better Decisions 


Negative perceptions of regulations, development proposals, density, and other planning actions and best practices are becoming more and more pervasive, degrading or altogether blocking political action. This resistance is often rooted in a lack of understanding of context, purpose of regulations, how they are implemented in the built environment, and how a development will look and feel once built. This session will discuss how to use infographics, maps, renderings, photos, and illustrations to effectively convey often difficult or nuanced information to elected and appointed officials and the public to drive responsible political action. As political polarization expands at the local level, some decision-makers carry a political agenda that does not constitute good decision-making for their communities. Additionally, many elected and appointed officials come to the table ill-prepared for the decisions they will need to make. When presented with high-quality visuals that communicate information in the proper context, the group has a better understanding of the impact of their decisions. Providing unbiased, real data in a compelling and consistent manner to better communicate the impacts of decision-making should be the goal of planners.


Cecile Newcomb, AICP

Berkley Group

Caroline Vanterve, AICP

Berkley Group

Linds Edwards, ENV SP

Berkley Group

PLANDanville's All-In Community Engagement 

The City of Danville is working to overcome its mill legacy of top-down decision-making by centering community empowerment in its new Comprehensive Plan process. Residents had long resigned themselves to “others” deciding the city’s future. City leaders have ensured resident voice in the new Plan process using low-tech and high-tech engagement methods that are dizzying in their breadth and depth. Paid community ambassadors were deployed, a vacant storefront became a project hub, fun hands-on activities and personas were created, and an intensive online presence was developed. Data analytics identified gaps and the most effective messages in partnership with a private-sector digital billboard company. Learn the ups and downs, challenges and rewards, of trying to overcome cultural norms and the tools that are making it happen.


Renee Burton, MBA

City of Danville

Mausharie Valentine

Progressive AE

Larz Kegerreis

Kegerreis Marketing


Revolutionary Planning Management 

In today's dynamic and ever-changing local government landscape, planning managers should embrace agility and adaptability, empower their team, and embrace continuous improvement. This session will bring together a panel of experienced planning managers to discuss Revolutionary Planning Management, an approach that challenges the status quo and empowers you to help your team. • Embrace agility and adaptability: Learn how to adapt to changing circumstances and unforeseen events. • Empower your team: Foster collaboration, ownership, and continuous learning within your team to drive better results. • Embrace continuous improvement: Learn techniques for regularly reviewing your plans, identifying areas for improvement, and iterating for success.


Earl W. Anderson, AICP

County of York, Virginia

Other presenters TBD


4:00pm- 5:00pm | Concurrent Breakout Sessions


The rEVolution is in the Details: Strategies for Equitable Electric Vehicle Deployment in the City of Richmond

Increased electric vehicle usage presents an outstanding opportunity for localities to reduce air pollution and meet environmental goals, but how do we help ensure our most vulnerable populations will benefit? This session will look at efforts by the City of Richmond to create an equitable deployment strategy for EV infrastructure and policies. Attendees will learn of Richmond’s overarching goals set forth in the RVAgreen2050 Climate Equity Action Plan and current work that is underway in fleet and micromobility electrification under Richmond’s Office of Sustainability and the Office of Equitable Transportation and Mobility. This session will also highlight the barriers to equitable electrification and strategies to address those barriers as identified through the development of the Richmond Connects EV Needs Analysis and Deployment Plan. Through stakeholder and public engagement, the EV Needs Analysis and Deployment Plan prioritizes strategies to ensure those populations most vulnerable to poor air quality exposure seek to receive the benefits from electrification.


Brad Shelton, AICP

Michael Baker International 

Dawn Oleksy, CEM, ENV SP

City of Richmond

Brandon King

City of Richmond

You have WHAT in your backpack? 

Come join this session as we explore Colonial Williamsburg through the lens of pedestrian mobile lidar and discuss the collected data for sidewalk, streetscape, and ADA inventories and assessments. With Reality capture technologies, planning professionals can collect millions of 3D data points in real time to complete accurate, high-quality digital terrain models of the physical world. From establishing existing conditions to developing models built on top of real-world data and measurements, this technology can influence planning and redefine public engagement. Come learn about Mobile Mapping Technology from the team at WGI.


Courtney Powell, AICP


Spencer Shanholtz


Tyler Tornese


Integrating Climate Resilience into Everyday Planning

Today, there is a growing focus on planning for climate resilience. But, if your community is tight on resources, facing local housing shortages, economic challenges, or needs a zoning overhaul – your attention as a planner may be elsewhere. How can we as planners, integrate climate resilience into our everyday work? As we face a worldwide crisis, climate resilience must be integral to our thinking. Otherwise, climate change impacts may exacerbate the myriad of problems our cities and towns already face. This is the revolution of urban and environmental planning. So how do we as planners get started? This panel session highlights the work of local governments, state agencies, planning district commissions, non-profits, and private consultants – and how these practitioners integrate resilience into planning activities. Planners will learn climate resilience techniques, types of plans that incorporate climate resilience, and approaches for integrating resilience considerations into various planning activities.


Bella Purdy, AICP

Weston & Sampson

Carolyn Heaps-Pecaro

Virginia Department of Recreation and Conservation

Annette Osso

Resilient Virginia

Anna Kimelblatt, CFM

Weston & Sampson

Gabe Dayley

Albemarle County

Jamie Powers

Albemarle County 

Wednesday, July 24, 2024 

8:30am-9:30am | Networking Breakfast


9:45am-10:45am | Legislative General Session 

A review of the 2024 General Assembly sessions and the legislation, both passed and contemplated, that are of importance to planners within the Commonwealth. Topics include local authority relative to solar energy approvals, short term rentals and accessory dwelling units, to list but a few. Chapter Vice President of Legislative and Policy Affairs Courtney Powell, AICP, Chapter Lobbyist Eldon James and VACo Director of Local Government Policy Joe Lerch, AICP, will address the issues raised in 2024 regular and special sessions and what we see on the horizon for 2025. York County Attorney Richard Hill will review important recent court decisions. 



Courtney Powell, AICP


Joe Lerch, AICP


Eldon James

Eldon James & Associates, Inc


Richard Hill

York County

11:00am-12:00pm | Ethics Case of the Year 


More session details coming soon!


John M. Harbin, AICP

Professional Development Officer,

Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association

Karen Wolf, FAICP

President of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Commission 

12:00pm-12:15pm | Concluding Remarks 

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