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2023 APA Virginia Awards program

Congratulations to 2023 award winners!

THANK YOU FOR celebrating WITH US IN Roanoke!

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

Are you interested in being part of the 2024 Awards Committee?

Contact APA Virginia's VP of External Affairs, Julia Chop

award categories

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

The Foxhound Award: Distinguished New Professional

2023 Award Winner: Tyler Hinkle, AICP 

2023 Award Winner: Jonathan McCoy, AICP Candidate

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

2023 Award Winner: Mary Zirkle, AICP, CZA

 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.


NEW! Moeser Outstanding Service Award

2023 Award Winner: Justin Sanders, CZA

New in 2023! In honor of the late Dr. John V. Moeser, our esteemed colleague who was described as an ‘advocate for a more just society and an urban studies trailblazer’, the Chapter will recognize a planner who has contributed to the growth of the profession and the improvement of their community. This award recognizes a remarkable planner who has embodied APA’s mission statement of Creating Great Communities for All with their individual efforts.


The Cardinal Awards – Legislator of the Year

2023 Award Winner: The Honorable Wren M. Williams, Virginia House of Delegates

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.

The President's Award for Outstanding Service to the Chapter's Annual Conference

2023 Award Winner: Megan G. Cronise, AICP

This award is selected by the Chapter President to recognize an individual that has dedicated a significant amount of time and effort to the Annual Conference. Without volunteers the Annual Conference would not be possible and the Chapter recognizes the value of the work and time they commit to creating a quality experience for their colleagues and peers.

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

2023 Award Winner: Botetourt County

2023 Award Winning Project: Gateway Crossing Overlay Project

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

2023 Award Winner: City of Manassas

2023 Award Winning Project: Historic District Design Guidelines Update

Honorable Mention: High Knob Regional Initiative

Honorable Mention: City of Alexandria Text Amendments

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

2023 Award Winner: Fairfax County

2023 Award Winning Project: Resilient Fairfax

Honorable Mention: City of Norfolk

Honorable Mention: Albemarle County

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

2023 Award Winner: Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation 

2023 Award Winning Project: Virginia Transit Equity & Modernization Study

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

2023 Award Winner: City of Lynchburg

2023 Award Winning Project: Downtown Lynchburg Master Plan

Honorable Mention: Virginia Transit Equity & Modernization Study

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

2023 Award Winner: Cumberland Plateau Planning District

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

2023 Award Winner: City of Alexandria

2023 Award Winning Project: Potomac River Generating Station

Honorable Mention: Roanoke Fire Station #1

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.


This category recognizes the exceptional work of students in the planning field.


Student Planning Project of the Year

 2023 Award Winner: University of Virginia

2023 Award Winning Project: Scottsville Comprehensive Plan Update: Designing a Community Engagement Process 


2023 Outstanding Students

2023 VCU Graduate Award Winner:  Alessandro Ragazzi

2023 VCU Undergraduate Award Winner: Diana Hall

2023 UVA Graduate Award Winner: Ashley Clubb

2023 UVA Graduate Award Winner: Tyler Michael Pearre

2023 UVA Undergraduate Award Winner: Cailan A. Kelly

2023 UVA Undergraduate Award Winner: Jessica Laine Rothfleisch

2023 VT Graduate Award Winner: Michael Poore

2023 VT Undergraduate Award Winner: Emma Hall

2023 Virginia Tech Urban Planning Community Scholarship Program

2023 Diversity Scholar: Alisha Harris

2023 Mentor: Meika Daus, AICP

2023 Outstanding Faculty

2023 UVA Faculty Award Winner: Frank Dukes, Ph.D.


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.

Congratulations to Previous Winners:


 2022 Award 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

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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