Created by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the County of Accomack and the County of Northampton and joined by the Town of Chincoteague, the A-NPDC has been the Eastern Shore of Virginia’s regional planning organization since 1970. Tasked with supporting local planning and community development efforts and providing technical assistance on behalf of the Commonwealth, the A-NPDC focuses on issues of regional importance. We also staff the Accomack-Northampton Regional Housing Authority and the Eastern Shore of Virginia Housing Alliance.
By far the largest organization housed at the Enterprise Building, the A-NPDC has the most diverse work program. With three organizations, co-located in the Accomac office it is quite common to hear us referred to collectively as the “Housing Office.”
However, the A-NPDC has a larger role in the region. The A-NPDC provides regional planning and also assists various jurisdictions with very diverse community development projects, such as grant-writing and financing of a regional and community broadband network and creation of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority to construction of the new Tangier Medical Center.
What is a Planning District Commission?
In 1968, the Planning District Commissions were created by local governments under the Regional Cooperation Act (Code of Virginia, Section 15.2-4200). There are 21 PDCs in the Commonwealth.
The Code states that the “purpose of the planning district commission (is) to encourage and facilitate local government cooperation and state-local cooperation in addressing on a regional basis problems of greater than local significance. The cooperation resulting from this chapter is intended to facilitate the recognition and analysis of regional opportunities and take account of regional influences in planning and implementing public policies and services. Functional areas warranting regional cooperation may include, but shall not be limited to: (i) economic and physical infrastructure development; (ii) solid waste, water supply and other environmental management; (iii) transportation; (iv) criminal justice; (v) emergency management; (vi) human services; and (vii) recreation.
Every PDC in the Commonwealth is a unique expression of it’s region. For the Eastern Shore of Virginia, our PDC has been tasked with improving housing quality, seeking, financing and building community development projects and providing structure to regional coastal protection goals such as the Eastern Shore of Virginia Ground Water Committee. The other PDCs have very different missions and roles in their regions.
The primary mission of the A-NPDC is to respond to local government requests for assistance in planning for and managing growth in the region. This includes:
- Helping local governments develop policies, plans and regulations to manage growth and development;
- Helping local governments facilitate the development of affordable housing and healthy communities;
- Helping local governments with the protection and wise use of natural resources;
- Bringing emerging issues of regional importance to the attention of local government;
- Facilitating problem solving by convening appropriate stakeholders and identifying sources of funding;
- Assisting with outreach to local citizens on issues of regional and local concern;
- Providing technical assistance on specific planning activities as requested by localities; and
- Helping to implement regional plans and administer regional programs at the request of the localities.