The following summarizes the presentations, discussions and actions at the 2013 HRPDC Retreat:
Mr. Ellis James updated the Commission on the recent Sierra Club rally in Washington, D.C. which focused on the importance of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.
There were no written public comments submitted.
2013 Retreat Workshop:
FY-14 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP): Mr. Farmer summarized the traditional components of the upcoming FY-14 UPWP, including programmatic efforts and technical support to local governments. The final FY-14 UPWP will reflect discussion during the retreat and will be submitted to the Commission for approval at a future meeting.
Developing a Process for Creating a Regional Strategic Plan:
The main topic and central theme of the FY 2013 HRPDC retreat was “Developing a Process for Creating a Regional Strategic Plan.” Attachment 6A is a brief overview of strategic versus operation planning.
Mr. Farmer summarized State Code (Attachment 6B) regarding Planning District Commission responsibilities to conduct strategic plans for the region as required by §§15.2-4209 through 15.2-4212.
Items 1-7 and 9-12 on Attachment 6B have been and are currently the core functions of the HRPDC’s annual work program. Item #8, strategic planning however, has historically been a comprehensive collection of recurring efforts to produce technical analyses and a wide range of reports from Economic Forecasts, Bay Clean-up, Solid Waste Plans and Water Resources, to Emergency Management Plans, Transportation Plans and ongoing Environmental Education Plans.
In order to “conduct strategic planning” per State Code, staff suggested the HRPDC consider “Developing a Process for Creating a Regional Strategic Plan.” It was further recommended that the HRPDC approve staff moving forward to research best practices to develop “objective” evaluation criteria that will provide insight into those initiatives that create economic prosperity, effectively utilize resources throughout the region, and strengthen local governments and the region to aggressively compete nationally and internationally. Objective metrics will need to be developed that score and rate a whole host of candidate strategic initiatives. This effort will focus on existing local strengths, unique capabilities, opportunities to expand on and take advantage of local resources through collaboration and allow the region to better understand what economic initiatives might provide opportunities to diversify a regional economy heavily dependent upon the U.S. Defense industry and the Federal sector.
The retreat featured the following presentations:
1) A brief summary from Dr. Deborah DiCroce, former President of Tidewater Community College and currently the President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation on the Foundation’s study to raise the larger question on the regional strategic plan.
Presentation: Regional Economic Competitiveness Initiative
2) A presentation from Mr. John Peterson and Mr. Burrell Saunders, Co-Chairmen of the Urban Land Institute’s Hampton Roads Reality Check. Reality Check Hampton Roads participants identified that collaboration as a region will provide the most effective and sustainable solutions to accommodate future growth. Leaders from the public, private and non-profit sectors indicated their support for regional collaboration to develop sustainable land use strategies and a preferred vision to guide future growth.
Presentation: Hampton Roads Reality Check
3) A presentation by Mr. Tom Frantz, President and CEO of Williams Mullen, a multi-state law firm, who is currently advocating consideration of the eventual creation of a new “Mega Region.”
4) Mr. Farmer provided a series of existing data driven metrics which characterize the region’s relative position with other regional economies and briefly discussed the level of travel interchange between localities, outside the region as well as domestic and international trade.
Mr. Farmer then wrapped up the retreat with a brief summary of the proposed concept of an objective tool to evaluate strategic initiatives. In addition, HRPDC Chairman Tom Shepperd led discussion seeking the Commission’s guidance to move forward on this initiative. Key issues emerged such as how best to identify appropriate strategic initiatives, ensuring implementation for success and identifying opportunities for which Hampton Roads is uniquely positioned and can attain appropriate capacity to implement. It was the consensus of the Commission that this effort had merit and it will be incorporated in the UPWP to begin work to move the effort forward.