The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) held its regularly scheduled meeting on February 21, 2019. A summary of actions and discussions that took place at this meeting is provided below:
Regional Economic Development Sites Inventory
The Commission received a presentation from HRPDC staff and Joe Hines, Economic Development Principal with the Timmons Group, on the Regional Economic Development Sites Inventory Project. This project was initiated in response to concerns expressed by economic development practitioners at the local, regional and state levels about missed opportunities for private investment and job creation in Hampton Roads due to a lack of shovel ready development sites in the region. The HRPDC was originally briefed on this project in February 2018, and the Commissioners as well as local and regional economic development staff reviewed the findings of the February 2018 report and provided direction to support future phases of the project.
Based on this direction, the staff of the HRPDC and Reinvent Hampton Roads convened a group of regional stakeholders to gauge support for commissioning a more detailed site assessment study. This study, prepared with funding from Reinvent Hampton Roads, the Virginia Port Authority, Virginia Natural Gas and Dominion Energy, classified the region’s large economic development sites based on the Tier system utilized by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The VEDP Tier system can be summarized as follows:
Consistent with Comp Plan/Zoning in Place
Minimal Due Diligence
Master Plan in Place
Estimated Costs Determined
Significant Due Diligence Completed
Infrastructure in Place
Property Issues Cleared
“Ready to Construct”
Permits in Hand
The report includes a number of recommendations for improving the inventory of shovel ready development sites in the region, including the following:
Following discussion, the HRPDC took unanimous action to express continuing support for a regional approach to site readiness and directed staff to explore funding opportunities to advance site readiness in Hampton Roads.
Through the HRPDC’s Unmanned Systems GO Virginia grant application, the Peninsula localities have developed and approved a Regional Industrial Facilities Act (RIFA) that sets the framework for revenue sharing among localities. As follow up to the action taken by the HRPDC, background information will be shared on this RIFA at the March 6th CAO Committee meeting. Discussion will occur about the potential to expand this RIFA to the Southside localities and apply this mechanism to promote joint investment in site preparation and revenue sharing.
Medicaid Expansion in Virginia
The Virginia Department of Social Services provided an update on this newly expanded health care program for Virginia adults and its impact on the Hampton Roads community. Jo Ann Wilson-Harfst, Eastern Regional Director, and Massey Whorley, Director for the Office of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives, provided this overview to the Commission. Four-hundred thousand Virginia adults are eligible for the first time for affordable, comprehensive health care coverage as of January 1, 2019. State agencies, local departments, and non-governmental partners have successfully enrolled more than 235,000 Virginians in this program to date. The number of individuals enrolling in this program in Hampton Roads as of February 8, 2019 is provided below.
Gloucester County 1,193
Isle of Wight County 990
James City County 1,494
Newport News 7,322
Southampton County 608
Surry County 246
Virginia Beach 10,367
York County 986
As a recipient of federal funds, the HRPDC is required to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives federal funds or other federal financial assistance. Recipients of federal support are also required to address Environmental Justice principles, which pertain to the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.
Over the past year, the Executive Director has held discussions with representatives of the Federal Highway Administration and the Virginia Department of Transportation on opportunities to expand public involvement in the HRPDC’s regional planning activities. In response to this discussion, the Executive Director recently completed a staff reorganization to create a Community Affairs and Civil Rights Department to coordinate public involvement for both the HRPDC and HRTPO.
Since 2010, the HRTPO has worked with a Community Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) to receive grassroots, community-level involvement in the transportation planning process. The CTAC assists HRTPO staff with keeping the public’s view in mind as it completes its transportation planning work on behalf of the region and also works with staff to report the public’s input to the HRTPO.
The HRPDC took action to endorse the expansion of CTAC’s duties to include both HRPDC and HRTPO activities.
The HRPDC also approved a Consent Agenda which included the following items:
· Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Chesapeake Bay Watershed HRPDC Locality Implementation Program Contract
In continuance of the Chesapeake Bay Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) efforts, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is offering PDCs a portion of the funding that the Chesapeake Bay Program provides the Commonwealth. The intent of this project initiative is for the HRPDC (and other participating PDCs) to continue efforts made during the Phase III WIP process in the non-regulated urban sector. Funding in the amount of $21,500 would be used by the HRPDC to complete the following tasks:
The HRPDC took action authorizing the Executive Director to execute a contract between HRPDC and DEQ in the amount of $21,500 from March 1, 2019 to September 30, 2019 contingent upon staff review and agreement with the final scope of services.
The next meeting of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission will be held on April 18 at 12:30 pm at the Regional Building, 723 Woodlake Drive in Chesapeake.