APA Virginia’s 2017 Award Winners Are…

The Awards Committee would like to thank all those that submitted nominations. The process fortified our belief that Virginia is a great place for planning and filled with inspiring people that truly make great places happen.

This was one of our most competitive awards programs on record, nearly doubling the number of nominations from recent years. The Committee thoroughly reviewed all nominations, carefully comparing a vast array of efforts from across our Commonwealth. Despite the difficult process of having to only recognize a handful of efforts among so many excellent nominations, the Committee made its selections. . . Please join the Committee in recognizing these seven award winners at the chapter conference in July.

Commonwealth Award, Plan of the Year

City of Norfolk for the Norfolk: Vision 2100 Plan

Norfolk has dealt with the challenges presented by flooding for centuries. As the realities of sea level rise have become more real in recent years, those challenges have seemed to only loom larger. Following intensive conversations about those growing challenges in early 2015, Vision 2100 emerged. Vision 2100 suggests that Norfolk is is presented with an to re-imagine Norfolk for the 22nd century. Further, it recognizes that many higher-ground areas are developed at less-than-ideal densities with less-than-ideal uses. It suggests a strategy for maintaining the at-risk areas, while suggesting a concurrent strategy for re-imagining – even intensifying – the higher ground. It identifies how and where shoreline protection strategies could be employed while identifying how and where the best elements of the City – the things that make Norfolk great – could be replicated on higher ground. Thus, while Vision 2100 serves as Norfolk’s comprehensive sea level rise strategy – the first in Virginia and one of only a handful in the nation – it is more than that…it is a vision that looks at the entire city, not just those areas at risk but also those that could bear the burden of intensification.

Old Dominion Award, Innovative Approaches

Town of Warrenton: Student Postcard Project

As the Town of Warrenton began the process of updating its Comprehensive Plan, there was a desire to seek out new and innovative community involvement techniques. With a population of approximately 10,000 residents, as well as fresh leadership under a new Town Manager and new Town Council, the stage was set for a renewed commitment to public outreach, transparency, and enhancing the quality of life. The Student Postcard Project employed a new multi-disciplinary approach to allow students to explore how they would communicate what makes their community special to them. Conducted in six schools (public and private) located within the Town of Warrenton boundaries, students were asked to communicate their favorite place or activity in 2016, as well as their desire for the Town in 2040.

Dogwood Award, Virginia’s Planning Commission of the Year

Town of Lovettsville Planning Commission

Cultivating a passion for proactive planning has been a hallmark of Frank McDonough’s leadership in Lovettsville. With the leadership of their chair, and support of his fellow planning commissioners, the Lovettsville planning commission has:

  • Increased engagement of town citizens in the design and development of the Lovettsville Comprehensive Plan;

  • Targeted recruitment of Lovettsville citizens to serve on the town’s planning commission;

  • Elevated the CIP as a critical and needed tool of plan implementation;

  • Established on-site and immediate orientation of newly appointed planning commissioners.

  • Fostered a closer work relationship with the Lovettsville Town Council; and,

  • Championed the creation of a Coalition of Loudoun Towns (COLT), a group of planning commission chairpersons that explores the relationship of the County Comprehensive Plan to the area towns.

Nelsonite Award, Virginia’s Planning Advocate of the Year

Wetlands Watch, Sea Level Rise Adaptation Guide

The Adaptation Guide supports many of the goals of the Virginia APA Chapter, including highlighting best practices that Virginia’s planners are using to create more resilient cities, counties, and towns. The inclusion of case studies, sample ordinance language, and anecdotal comments from those working on the ground will help localities replicate innovative solutions. Our guide is hosted online, allowing it to act as a living document, evolving based on emerging trends, funding availability, and the political climate. We have continued our outreach efforts, with plans to share the guide at the Environmental Virginia symposium, as well as through online webinars with the Virginia Tech Land Use Education Program, targeting local elected and appointed officials, many of whom (we have learned) have received no formal information on sea level rise impacts and solutions. It is our hope that by continuing to disseminate

knowledge about innovative planning efforts to combat sea level rise, we will help to inform the community of practice within Virginia.

Red Clay Award, Development of the Year

Four Mile Run Wetlands Restoration

The Four Mile Run Wetlands Restoration, completed in May 2016, restored the historic 2-acre tidal wetland along Four Mile Run. This wetland plays a prominent role in regional efforts to protect the Potomac River and the endangered Chesapeake Bay by restoring the diverse habitat and natural cycles that support life in and along these waterways. The wetlands restoration project integrates flood protection, environmental restoration, community aesthetics, community access and connectivity, recreation, and education. This project is offers new pedestrian access for visitors to Four Mile Run Park and provides a connection between aquatic and terrestrial habitats that is important to fish and aquatic organisms, as well as for many birds and terrestrial animals.

Holzhiemer Award for Economic Development

Rosslyn Sector Plan

Rosslyn is a high-density urban center in Arlington, just one Metrorail stop beyond the nation’s capital. First emerging as a major office district in the 1960s, today central Rosslyn has 10 million square feet of development, an auto-oriented street network, limited housing, and little activity on nights and weekends. As it starts to transform from an automobile-oriented to a people-oriented place, Rosslyn is poised to further evolve as a regional center of economic opportunity, but faces many challenges, including: aging office buildings forming an unimaginative skyline; few housing options, limited dining or entertainment options; narrow sidewalks, and small and disconnected public spaces. To address these and other issues, the 2015 Rosslyn Sector Plan reimagines this concentrated urban core in line with people-oriented planning strategies and design principles that emerged from an interdisciplinary, community-based planning approach.

Virginia Award for Implementation and Accountability

Roanoke County Community Strategic Plan

In the fall of 2015, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to gather input from the community to help shape the strategic direction of Roanoke County for the next five years. As a result, the eight-month-long Community Strategic Plan effort was structured around the desire to find out what area residents and stakeholders most valued and wanted for the future of their community.

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