The HRPDC took the following actions at its Executive Committee meeting on July 17, 2014:
Chairman Wright opened the meeting by welcoming Mayor Carter Williams and Town Manager Peter Stephenson, representing our newest member, the Town of Smithfield.
Dutch Dialogues: Senior Regional Planner, Ben McFarlane provided an overview of Dutch Dialogues which are multi-disciplinary workshops or charrettes involving Dutch and local experts to explore integrated planning approaches to water management, flood protection and community design. Locally, considerations would include recurrent flooding, sea level rise, groundwater and stormwater management issues. A special committee will more thoroughly flesh out the goals for this exercise. An informational session for interested Commissioners is scheduled for September.
Regional Workforce Housing Study: Dr. Lisa Sturtevant, Director of Research for Housing Policy, National Housing Conference, presented information on housing the future workforce in the Hampton Roads region. The study looked at the employment-driven demand for housing in our region over the next 20 years, focusing on the needs of net new workers. The amount, location, types and costs were considered. In all, the anticipated 124,356 net new jobs would require 86,098 housing units. The trends indicate a shift toward affordable, multi-family rentals. The study stresses a need to include housing as a part of a regional economic development strategy and warns that without sufficient housing, traffic congestion and quality of life will worsen, and the region’s economic potential may not be fully realized.
2014 Hurricane Forecast: Senior Homeland Security Planner, John Sadler reviewed the 2014 Hurricane Outlook for the Atlantic. NOAA predicts a near or below-normal year for storm activity, depending upon the development of El Nino where changes in global wind patterns could make it more difficult for systems to increase into tropical storms. Mr. Sadler reviewed HRPDC preparedness efforts including ReadyHamptonRoads.org, the new Cox on demand Preparedness Channel and regional inclusion planning for those with special needs. Mr. Jim Redick, with the City of Norfolk, then briefed the Commission on the efforts of the Governor’s Preparedness Roundtable. The Roundtable’s focus will be based on a JLARC study documenting the need to focus on evacuation scenarios. In addition, a pilot of the Virginia Information Sharing Program will debut soon, which will provide a complete dashboard for real time situational conditions during incidents.
Summary from May Retreat: HRPDC Housing Administrator, Shernita Bethea provided Commissioners with an update on findings from the PDC Annual Retreat. Ms. Bethea reviewed the top priorities identified for the coming year, with assurances that other important programs, such as solid waste planning, would continue. While there are some areas identified outside the realm of the PDC charter, the PDC can act as a clearinghouse of information on issues of relevance to the region. Finally, Ms. Bethea identified some immediate action items that have been taken to improve the effectiveness of meetings and communications. Commissioners indicated their gratitude for the changes and are eager to see more.
FY 15 Budget—Employee Performance: The Personnel and Budget Committee met prior to the Commission Meeting and recommends a 2% merit-based salary increase for PDC staff.
Nominating Committee: Mr. Carter Williams of Smithfield and Ms. Brenda Garton from Gloucester were added to the nominating committee, providing representation from all member jurisdictions. The Nominating Committee will develop a slate of officers for election in October.
Written Public Comments: Chairman Wright shared a letter of thanks from Dr. Gail Mottola, with Let’s Open Doors, expressing appreciation for the resolution of support of their work throughout Hampton Roads.
Mr. Frank Papcin addressed the Commission regarding the importance of planning with regard to jobs and other economic drivers. He is also concerned with safe evacuation of the region.
Mr. Ellis James of Norfolk reiterated his concerns related to air quality and coal dust. He stressed a need for enhanced air quality monitoring to close the data gaps. Mr. James also cited economic impacts to the real estate market because of coal dust.
The following items were approved under the Consent Agenda:
Chairman Wright reviewed a draft letter to the Governor supporting continued state engagement in efforts to address recurrent flooding and sea level rise. The Commission unanimously endorsed the letter.
There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned.