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2022 APA Virginia Awards program

Congratulations to our Award Winners:

2022 Project Winners


Commonwealth Plan of the Year


Award Winner: City of Alexandria Department of Planning and Zoning

Award Winning Project: Arlandria-Chirilagua Small Area Plan and Comm. Engagement Process


Old Dominion Innovative Approaches Award


Award Winner: Chesterfield County Department of Planning

Award Winning Project: Rockwood Special Focus Area Plan


Red Clay Award - Development of the Year


Award Winner: City of Alexandria Department of Planning and Zoning

Award Winning Project: Landmark Mall Redevelopment


Resilient Virginia Community of the Year Award


Award Winner: City of Hampton

Award Winning Project: Resilient Hampton Initiative



Honorable Mentions


Recipient: Friends of the James River Park

Project: James River Park Master Plan


Recipient: City of Richmond Office of Equitable Transit and Mobility

Project: Path to Equity: A Policy Guide for Richmond Connects


Recipient: City of Chesapeake Planning Department

Project: Chesapeake Statistical Profile


Recipient: Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development

Project: Pentagon City Sector Plan



2022 Outstanding Student Award Winners


University of Virginia:


Graduate Winner: Samantha Lewis

Undergraduate Winner: Laura Nagle


Virginia Commonwealth University

Graduate Winner: LaToya Gray-Sparks

Undergraduate Winner: Naomi Tariku

Virginia Tech

Graduate Winner: Trey Gordner

Undergraduate Winner: Meredith Beavers



2022 Outstanding Faculty Award Winners


University of Virginia:


Faculty Winner: Professor Bev Wilson

about the awards program

Every year, the American Planning Association’s Virginia Chapter honors and showcases the best in planning throughout the Commonwealth with its annual Awards Program. The Chapter recognizes the tireless work of individuals who spearhead great planning throughout Virginia. APA Virginia convenes a panel of peers each year for its Awards Committee representative of the profession’s depth and diversity to identify, acknowledge and promote great planning.


Under this program, the Chapter strives to accomplish the following:


  • Helping Planners Plan, by highlighting best practices and inspiring our members;

  • Helping Virginia Plan, by promoting sound planning and decision-making in the Commonwealth;

  • Making Planning and Planners Matter, by promoting the value and enhancing the credibility of planners among elected and appointed officials, the public and related professions;

  • Meeting Membership Needs, by endorsing our members and their work;

  • Getting Planners Involved, by engaging volunteers to serve on the Awards Committee and evaluate the work of their peers; and

  • Making Great Places Happen, by helping members and communities replicate and build on the success of others.


Questions? Send them along to

awards categories

The Individual Awards categories honor individuals who are great practitioners and advocates of planning in Virginia.

The Foxhound Award: Distinguished New Professional

New in 2022! This award is named for the State dog of Virginia, the American Foxhound, and is awarded to an outstanding new planner (less than five years of experience). Like the Foxhound, this award recognizes a planner at the outset of their career who is good-natured, reliable, and known for their work ethic and their consideration for others.


The All-Around Incredible Champion Planner (AICP) Award: 

Distinguished Professional

New in 2022! Planners who have gone the extra mile to earn their AICP credentials are models to the profession for their experience, breadth of knowledge, and high ethical standards. This award recognizes exceptional skill and achievement from an individual planner who is AICP certified.


APA Virginia Outstanding Service Award

Planners contribute to the growth of the profession and the improvement of their communities in so many ways. This award recognizes a remarkable planning director, senior planner, associate planner, planning technician, or administrative assistant who has embodied APA’s mission statement of Creating Great Communities for All with their individual efforts.

The Nelsonite Award – Virginia’s Planning Advocate of the Year

Named for Virginia’s State Rock, this award represents the bedrock of good planning in the Commonwealth - citizen influenced, and community-serving. The award recognizes a community leader or civic organization that advocates for planning on a local, regional or statewide scale.


The Dogwood Award – Virginia’s Citizen Planner(s) of the Year

This award honors an outstanding Planning Commission and/or individual Planning Commissioner that serves as an example for all citizen planners, by being dedicated, objective, open, moral, balanced, and knowledgeable of the framework of planning in Virginia. 


The Cardinal Awards – Legislator of the Year

Named for the State bird, the Cardinal Awards recognize elected officials that can see the big picture and find solutions through the field of planning. Local and State legislators are eligible for these recognitions.

Planning Efforts

The Planning Efforts category recognizes planning documents, a program or initiatives that make great places happen in the Commonwealth.

Holzheimer Economic Development Award

In honor of Dr. Terry Holzheimer, our esteemed former colleague who passed away in 2014 and was described as “one of the deans of the economic development profession”, the Chapter will recognize great planning efforts for improving Virginia’s economic development. The successful nominee will show how their study, initiative, program, or even site development yielded economic development results for their locality, region, or state.


Old Dominion Innovative Approaches Award

Virginia has many unique challenges, where innovative planning solutions are critical for making great places happen. The Innovative Approaches Award recognizes pioneering planning efforts in the Commonwealth. Nominees may include innovative planning processes, plans, programs, initiatives, or site developments that have or will result in real results. 


Resilient Virginia Community of the Year Award

This award recognizes a community’s effort and commitment to building resilience through responsible planning practice and innovation. Successful nominees will present real-world solutions for buffering their community from the adverse effects of critical changes related to, for example, inadequate infrastructure, climate change, natural disasters, food and water shortages, economic restructuring, or institutional/organizational capacity changes.


Commonwealth Connectors Award

Planners diligently work, sometimes over many years, to implement new ideas to solve the Commonwealth’s transportation challenges. From distribution centers to autonomous vehicles, each community is finding creative ways to meet the diversity of today’s modern-day transportation needs. This award highlights innovative and exceptional transportation-focused planning.


Commonwealth Plan of the Year Award

The Commonwealth Plan of the Year Award honors the best planning document of the year. A successful nominee will show that the effort included outstanding planning processes, vision, implementation strategies, and innovative approaches. The planning document can be a local, regional, or statewide effort.


The great places category recognizes great places, developments, and communities in Virginia.


The Jamestown Award – Locality of the Year

In honor of the first local government in Virginia, the Chapter will recognize a locality that has undertaken a sound and innovative planning practices, not in a single plan but through various efforts. This award recognizes a town, city, or county that is dedicated to the principles of planning.


The Red Clay Award – Development of the Year

Virginia’s red clay is the Commonwealth’s traditional building material, making it an appropriate name for Virginia’s Development of the Year Award. This recognition honors a development that exhibits the values of great planning, helping to create a great place in Virginia. Eligible nominees include infill developments, building rehabilitation projects, brownfield redevelopments, downtown redevelopment, and other similar projects.


The Awards Committee leaves room for flexibility in the awards program. If there is a great individual, effort or initiative that does not neatly fall within the defined award categories, then the Committee reserves the right to make special recognition or awards.

2021 Award winners!

old dominion

innovative approaches

City of Norfolk

Received by
Mel Price, AIA, LEED AP


old dominion

innovative approaches

Missing Middle Housing Pattern Book
City Of Norfolk

Received by
Paula M. Shea, AICP
George Homewood,FAICP
Mel Price, AIA, LEED AP

cardinal award

local legislator of the year

Senator Lynwood Lewis

Received by
Senator Lynwood Lewis


commonwealth connectors 

Crossover Boulevard Project
Frederick County

Received by
    Tyler Klein, AICPR

commonwealth plan
of the year

Fairfax County

Received by
Leslie Johnson
Carmen Bishop
Casey Judge

resilient virginia community of the year

Norfolk Thrive
City of Norfolk

Received by
Sean Garrigan, AICP


Richmond 300 : A Guide To Growth


VT Urban planning scholar

 Laura Castro
Arlington VA

Holzheimer Economic Development Award

The Edge District
The City of Williamsburg, York County, & James City County

Received by 
Earl Anderson, AICP 



2021 honorable mentions

City of Lexington
Lexington 2040 Comprehensive Plan

City of Falls Church
Falls Church Public Art Policy


Ebony Waldon
Richmond, VA

Carolyn Murphy, AICP
Williamsburg, VA

John Bishop, AICP
Frederick County

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