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Welcome. This is the official site of the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission. We provide planning, community development and housing services to Accomack County, Northampton County, the Town of Chincoteague, and the incorporated towns on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

About Plan ESVA

Welcome. This is the official site of the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission. We provide planning, community development and housing services to Accomack County, Northampton County, the Town of Chincoteague, and the incorporated towns on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.


The 2022 Eastern Shore Housing Study is available.

Economic Development Office

The Economic Development Office is part of the A-NPDC Planning Department. The office focuses on regional economic and community development by providing project management for various state and federal planning activities and grants, technical assistance to local jurisdictions, and staff support for the A-N Economic Development Committee.

Economic Development Committee

Created by the Planning District Commission, the Economic Development Committee is tasked with maintaining annually a comprehensive regional economic development plan for the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The Committee serves as a forum to bring businesses and public officials together to discuss initiatives that promote economic development.

Committee Information
Upcoming Meeting Agenda &Packet
Meeting Minutes

December 9, 2020

Economic Development Plans & Current Projects

During 2017, the Accomack-Northampton Economic Development Committee undertook a process to merge two regional economic development plans for the Eastern Shore of Virginia: the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (in place since 2002) and the Stronger Economies Together Economic Development Plan (in place since 2016) into one comprehensive document. The resulting merged plan, the Eastern Shore of Virginia Regional Economic Development Plan, presents a unified, comprehensive strategy for regional economic development and opens up opportunities for funding from economic development-focused agencies such as the US Economic Development Administration, US Department of Agriculture, and others. The plan is updated semi-annually with new data and updates to four industry sector-focused action plans.

ESVA Made & Grown Work Group

Key Initiatives:

The ESVA Made & Grown Work Group launched in February 2020 to explore ways to increase economic opportunities for Eastern Shore of Virginia farmers, artisans, and aquaculture producers. Current initiatives include:

Economic Development Newsletter

Working Waterfronts

Real property (including support structures over and adjacent to the water or inland property engaged in significant water-related activities) that provides access to coastal waters or that supports commercial fishing; recreational fishing businesses; aquaculture; ecotourism; national defense; public safety uses; marine research; shipping and rail yards; boat building; support of offshore energy production; or other commercial, recreational, and industrial businesses.

Virginia Certified Ecotour Guide Course

The eight-week course will be offered “live” online Tuesday evenings from January to March. Successful students will earn 3 CEUs (upon request) and certification credentials to lead their own Ecotours. The class will focus on the aspects of ecotourism, including, ecosystem science, customer service, business marketing, interpretation skills, culture, and natural history. Attending at least one of the spring field trips will also be mandatory. The course cost is $165, or only $135 for active military & students. New options exist for guides in need of re-certification – reach out to Anne Doyle ([email protected]) for more information!

Transportation Planning

The A-NPDC created the Transportation Technical Advisory Committee to promote the management of transportation projects within the counties of Accomack and Northampton and to assist the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in its planning efforts for the region.

Technical Advisory Committee

Meeting CANCELLED for January 26, 2021 at 130 PM


The Committee meets on Tuesdays of odd-numbered months at 1:30 p.m. at the VDOT Residency Conference Room, 23096 Courthouse Avenue, Accomac, 23301 or in the Northampton County Administration Building, 16404 Courthouse Road, Eastville, 23347. It is a public meeting, and all are invited to attend, but are encouraged to call A-NPDC staff to confirm, as meetings are sometimes canceled or postponed. The meeting room is wheelchair accessible. If you have other accommodation needs, please contact A-NPDC staff at least 5 working days prior to the meeting.

Coastal Resources Management

In 1986, the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program established a program to manage coastal resources in Virginia. The actions are defined by an Executive Order signed by the current Governor. There are ten goals and the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission (A-NPDC) works with Virginia CZM to design the local program and determine which of the goals the region finds most valuable to work on each year. Each year, the A-NPDC hosts four training sessions, completes a special project, staffs the Eastern Shore of Virginia Ground Water Committee and staffs the Climate Adaption Working Group.

Climate Adaptation Working Group

In 2012, the A-NPDC assumed the role of lead agency for the Eastern Shore of Virginia Climate Adaptation Working Group (CAWG) to coordinate efforts among local, state, and federal representatives of government, aquaculture, agriculture, and community organizations to better plan and mitigate risks associated with climate change and sea level rise. CAWG’s mission is to provide educational outreach and develop planning tools to assist local governments and residents. To date, CAWG has hosted multiple public workshops addressing sea level rise and developed flood vulnerability models utilizing high-resolution LiDAR elevation data for the region. The group is also working to gauge public sentiment and solicit knowledge and personal anecdotal accounts of what local residents have experienced in terms of changes related to sea level rise and climate change.

Coastal Resiliency

Resiliency is “… the ability of coastal localities to adapt to changing conditions & to withstand the challenges brought about by a changing climate.”
~Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (VCZMP)

Chesapeake Oyster Alliance (COA) Partnership

The Accomack-Northampton PDC is part of the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance, a coalition of non-profits, oyster growers, academic institutions, and others committed to adding 10 billion new oysters in the Bay by 2025.

It is only with a healthy oyster population that a restored Chesapeake Bay is possible. Through this partnership with the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance, efforts are being made to improve water quality, provide education and resources on Bay-friendly public policy, engage new stakeholders, and drive economic benefits across the region.


Technical Assistance Program

In FY2016, the A-NPDC staff published and distributed the CAWG Newsletter, and staff offered coastal management training opportunities for local government entities while coordinating public education efforts. A-NPDC also continued to staff the Eastern Shore of Virginia Ground Water Committee which provided GIS services, conducted state and federal environmental review, and worked with local governments and organizations. The A-NPDC facilitated a draft governing the formation of the Eastern Shore Water Access Authority. Surveys and contacts were made to facilitate Shore Big Tree in order to aid in the creation of implementation plans for different local government bodies. Over $445,066 in grant funds and staff time were leveraged to aid the completion of multiple projects related to the goals presented in the scope of work.

Hazard Mitigation Planning

Sign up for Northampton County Citizen Alert with EverBridge

Sign up for Accomack County Community Enrollment with CodeRED

Sign up Town of Chincoteague Notifications with CodeRED

2021 Eastern Shore Hazard Mitigation Plan Rewrite Underway!

The Eastern Shore Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies policies and actions that can be taken over time to reduce losses from natural and hazards, as well as those created by –or helped along – by humans. These preventive actions protect our community – our friends, family, employees, neighbors, business owners, and their properties.  They reduce exposure to risk and curb financial losses. With support from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the A-NPDC is facilitating this process with localities, agencies, organizations, and stakeholders in our region.

Regional Navigable Waterways Committee

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Regional Navigable Waterways Committee (Navigable Waterways Committee) is a bi-county committee formed in 2015 to study and plan for navigable waterway needs. The Committee shall study and advise their respective Boards on the condition and status of all navigable waterways, list and prioritize the Shore’s water navigation needs, and provide possible solutions to water transport needs. The Committee is staffed by the A-NPDC to ensure regional management approach. The Committee also works closely with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to facilitate clear communication of our dredging and waterway needs.

Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act Local Program Implementation

Chesapeake Bay Preservations Areas include Resource Management Areas and Resource Protection Areas.  The Resource Protection Area (RPA) includes all tidal wetlands; tidal waters; non-tidal wetlands connected by surface flow and contiguous to tidal wetlands or water bodies with perennial flow; shorelines; and a one hundred (100) foot vegetated buffer around such features and around all water bodies with perennial flow.  In 1988, the Commonwealth of Virginia enacted the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (Bay Act), which provides localities with the framework to protect water quality and environmental features through land use planning techniques. The waters of the Chesapeake Bay have been degraded significantly by many sources of pollution, including nonpoint source pollution from land uses and development.

Ground Water Management

The Eastern Shore of Virginia is dependent on ground water as its only source of fresh water. The EPA has listed it as a Sole Source Aquifer, this means that all of our drinking water comes from rain and snow that falls on the Eastern Shore.

Ground Water Committee

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Ground Water Committee is a bi-county committee formed in 1990 by Accomack and Northampton Counties to study and plan for ground water protection. The 11-member committee meets monthly and includes elected officials, citizens, and local government staff. The Planning District Commission staffs the committee and a consulting hydrogeologist advises the committee, prepares technical reports, and coordinates with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the USGS.

Ground Water Committee Meeting Details

Next Meeting: Wednesday, March 19, 2024 at 10AM at the ESVA Chamber in Melfa, Virginia.

Zoom Link to Meeting:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 757 787 2936 Passcode: 7577872936

One tap mobile +16465588656,,7577872936#,,,,*7577872936# US (New York)

Click here for the Meeting Minutes.

Publications & Resources

Fact Sheets

Upcoming Rules, Regulations, Guidance

Ongoing USGS Salt Water Intrusion Research




Kids’ Corner

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Ground Water Committee is raising awareness of the threats to the Shore’s Groundwater. A public educational campaign has been prepared to educate school age children. The campaign was funded by a Wellhead Protection Grant, which was received from the Water Resources Division of the Department of Environmental Quality.The sixth and ninth grade science classes were selected to receive the educational material. They received The JUG: Just Understanding Groundwater kit, a lesson plan, a diagram of the groundwater system and a Chesapeake Bay fact sheet for distribution. Those materials are available below.

Community Enhancement

Community Enhancement activities are undertaken to address regional issues that will improve the Eastern Shore peoples’ enjoyment of our community and aid them in pursuit of their happiness. These activities include addressing litter along the roadways, building parks and providing recreational infrastructure, support for broadband infrastructure and service, and providing residents with education on issues that concern them.

GreenWorks Committee

Collaborative efforts of the A-NPDC and the Waste Watchers of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Monthly Waste Watchers Meetings

Upcoming Meetings of the Waste Watchers of the ESVA:


Recreation & Park Planning

Virginia Outdoors Plan

A-NPDC hosts the annual Virginia Outdoors Plan update. Public comments taken during this time have been incorporated into the Virginia Outdoors Plan Chapter for the Eastern Shore. This plan is now completely available electronically and contains numerous suggestions and comments submitted by local residents and officials.

Plant ES Natives Campaign

Plant ES Natives

Whether you want to put in a flower garden or establish or restore the landscape around your home, there are a great variety of Eastern Shore native plants from which to choose!

And you will have made the right choice!

Historic Chincoteague Brochure

Originally produced in 2009, by the A-NPDC with support from NOAA and the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program Technical Assistance program, the 2017 update is now available! Click the link below for a PDF version that can be used digitally or printed for your convenience in exploring the Island. Copies should also be available at the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce and Certified Visitor Center, the Chincoteague Cultural Alliance, and various hospitality and bike rental businesses.

Water Trails

The Virginia Seaside Water Trail was developed about a decade ago and is hosted on the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program’s website.

During 2018, A-NPDC staff are working with partners to update the Seaside Water Trail and develop a unique Virginia Water Trails website for the convenience of visitors and locals alike. The new tri-region collaboration, Rural Coastal Virginia (RCVA), with the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck is focused on improving Ecotourism assets and co-promoting our similar green and blue assets. Long-term lans exist for developing a sister Bayside Water Trail that will link to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake Historic National Trail and other resources.

Virginia Certified Ecotour Guide Course


Ecotourism is “… responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.”
~The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)

Town Planning

A-NPDC has a long history of assisting the towns with compliance with state requirements. From the earliest days of the Planning District Commission, staff have assisted towns with obtaining grants to improve their housing stock, and downtowns. In the 1990s, the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board supported an A-NPDC staff person to write town plans and zoning ordinances in compliance with the Bay Act.

Town Resources & Contact Info

Resource Directory
Town of Accomac
Town of Belle Haven
P. O. Box 238
Belle Haven, Virginia 23306
Tel: (757) 442-5031

Project Summaries

Town Planning Projects

The Northeast Neighborhood of Onancock Revitalization

In 2020 the Town of Onancock was awarded a Planning Grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development. During the planning period of this grant we will be conducting a community-wide assessment of housing and infrastructure rehabilitation needs that will allow the Town to idenify and prioitize potential project areas that may qualify for and benefit from projet planning grant assistance.

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