The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) held its regularly scheduled meeting on October 18, 2018. A summary of the actions and discussions that took place at this meeting is provided below:
Election of Officers – The HRPDC took action to appoint the following members as officers for the upcoming year:
Michael Hipple, James City County Chair
Andria McClellan, Norfolk Vice Chair
Randy Keaton, Isle of Wight County Treasurer
Robert Crum, Executive Director Secretary
Virginia’s Offshore Wind Supply Chain and Service Industry Opportunity - Will Payne, Chief Deputy with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) and Andy Geissbuehler with BVG Associates, briefed the Commission on Offshore Wind Opportunities, the supply chain for this technology and related job creation and economic opportunities for the Hampton Roads region.
The offshore wind energy market continues to emerge in North America. With a potential build-out of at least 20,000 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity (or 2,000 – 3,000 wind turbines) along the East Coast over the next two decades, Virginia is well positioned as a prime location for the offshore wind supply chain and service industry. As the demand for wind energy increases, experts predict that over 14,000 jobs will be created in Virginia in the construction, maintenance, manufacturing and other service-related industries.
The DMME awarded a consultant contract in July 2018 to help deploy strategies that will strengthen Virginia’s position as a leader in the offshore wind industry. The final report is due in late October 2018 and will serve as a partnership tool to connect industry prospects in Virginia’s robust maritime industry located in Hampton Roads. It will also provide a summary of Virginia’s unique advantages, communicate offshore wind-related workforce development and business incentive efforts, identify competitive gaps and make recommendations as well as educate state and local leaders.
Following this presentation, HRPDC members directed staff to prepare a resolution for consideration at the November Commission meeting that offers regional support for offshore wind and its potential for job creation in the Hampton Roads region. Commission members also suggested that the potential for a Center of Excellence for Offshore Wind be considered for the Hampton Roads region.
Proposed Sea Level Rise Planning and Policy Approach - Following a presentation from HRPDC staff member Ben McFarlane, the HRPDC adopted a resolution that provides for the following:
• Encourages localities in Hampton Roads to consider adopting policies to incorporate sea level rise into their planning and engineering decisions as described in the attached document, “HRPDC Sea Level Rise Planning Policy and Approach,” which was recommended for approval by the HRPDC Coastal Resiliency Committee at its meeting of June 22, 2018;
• Recommends that the adopted policies include planning for 1.5 feet of relative sea level rise above current mean higher high water (MHHW) for near-term (2018-2050) planning, 3 feet of relative sea level rise above current MHHW for mid-term (2050-2080) planning and 4.5 feet of relative sea level rise above current MHHW for long-term (2080-2100) planning;
• Recommends that the adopted policies include selecting an appropriate sea level rise curve and design based on the requirements and needs, including risk tolerance and cost, of a specific project or policy decision. This curve should be selected from the 2017 NOAA report, Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States;
• Directs the HRPDC Coastal Resiliency Committee to keep apprised of developments in the monitoring, research and analysis of sea level trends and provide updated information and recommendations to the Commission and to its member localities as appropriate.
Hampton Roads Regional Economic Benchmarking Study - HRPDC Chief Economist Greg Grootendorst presented the 10th Annual Regional Benchmarking Study to the Commission. This publication includes a locality profile for the 17 jurisdictions as well as graphic illustrations for over 150 regional benchmarks covering the economy, demographics, real estate, transportation, education, government finances and various quality of life indicators. This study is available on the HRPDC web site at https://www.hrpdcva.gov/uploads/docs/2018%20Hampton%20Roads%20Regional%20Benchmarking%20Study.pdf
askHRgreen.org Annual Report - The HRPDC took action to approve the askHRgreen Annual Report for distribution. This report is prepared annually by the HRPDC staff on behalf of the four regional environmental education programs to document cooperative regional activities undertaken to support local recycling and beautification efforts; sanitary sewer overflow prevention through fats, oils and grease abatement; water conservation and awareness; and stormwater pollution prevention. askHRgreen committee members include representatives from the 17 HRPDC localities and the Hampton Roads Sanitation District. Those localities with MS4 permits include this report in their annual reports to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
Employee Recognition - The Executive Director and Commission recognized the following employees for their outstanding service to the HRPDC and Hampton Roads region:
Rebekah Eastep, Environmental Education Planner III
Danetta Jankosky, Accounting Manager
Felecia Williams, Receptionist
Sharon Lawrence, Administrative Assistant II
Ben McFarlane, Senior Regional Planner
John Sadler, Emergency Management Administrator
Chris Vaigneur, General Services Assistant Manager
Sara Kidd, Senior Regional Planner
Kelli Arledge, Human Resources Administrator
Executive Directors Report - On September 5, 2018, the HRPDC Broadband Steering Committee held an event at Virginia Wesleyan University to announce the first connection point for the Regional Fiber Ring. This fiber optic backbone system will connect the region’s five Southside cities to the transatlantic broadband cables, connecting employment areas, higher education facilities, research institutions and municipal facilities. Future phases of this project will extend this fiber network to the Peninsula localities. This regional fiber network will allow Hampton Roads to continue to develop as a nationally interconnected 21st century community and international information gateway and provide our region the necessary infrastructure to support job creation centered on a number of emerging industry clusters.
The HRPDC has been invited to participate in the 2018 Smart Infrastructure Challenge. This competition presents an opportunity for the region to compete for funding support to develop “smart infrastructure” approaches that can build upon and leverage the transatlantic broadband cables and emerging fiber network. Two representatives of the HRPDC Steering Committee have been appointed to present the regional proposal in Columbus, Ohio on October 25 and 26.