What is a Planning District Commission?
In 1968, Virginia was divided into planning districts based on the community of interest among its counties, cities and towns. A Planning District Commission is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth chartered under the Regional Cooperation Act by the local governments of each planning district and as such they are a creation of local government encouraged by the state. The Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions helps its members meet their responsibilities to local and state government and coordinates with other PDC's. There are 21 Planning Districts in Virginia.
The purpose of Planning District Commissions, as set out in the Code of Virginia, Section 15.2-4207, is
...to encourage and facilitate local government cooperation and state-local cooperation in addressing on a regional basis problems of greater than local significance... to facilitate the recognition and analysis of regional opportunities and take account of regional influences in planning and implementing public policies and services.
The planning district commission shall also promote the orderly and efficient development of the physical, social and economic elements of the district by planning, and encouraging and assisting localities to plan, for the future.
Virginia's PDCs provide a variety of technical and program services to member local governments. They include grant application assistance, management services for program implementation, land use planning services and mapping. Transportation planning including highway development, ridesharing, airport planning, and specialized transit is another role filled by PDC's in the state.
For the Commonwealth, PDCs serve as an accessible network that gives quick and complete statewide coverage. Each serves as the Affiliate State Data Center for the region. In this role they provide important information to businesses and citizens. PDCs are the regional contact for the Commonwealth Intergovernmental Review Process and provide input for a host of agencies and commissions.
The program work of PDCs has been meeting the needs of local and state government for the last 30 years. Within their region they serve to build regional approaches to issues such as economic development, solid waste management and legislative priorities.
One important duty of the PDC's is the creation of a strategic plan for their region of service. This plan is created in cooperation with local governments, businesses, citizen organizations, and other interested parties. The plan is intended to help promote the orderly and efficient development of the PDC by stating goals and objectives, strategies to meet those goals, and mechanisms for measuring progress.
Other duties of the PDC's are
To conduct studies on issues and problems of regional significance;
To identify and study potential opportunities for local cost savings
and staffing efficiencies through coordinated local government efforts;
To identify mechanisms for the coordination of state and local interests on a regional basis;
To implement services upon request of member localities;
To provide technical assistance to state government and member localities;
To serve as a liaison between localities and state agencies as requested;
To review local government aid applications as required by applicable law;
To conduct strategic planning for the region as required by applicable law;
To develop regional functional area plans as deemed necessary by the commission or as requested by member localities
To assist state agencies, as requested, in the development of sub-state plans;
To participate in a statewide geographic information system, VGIN, as directed by the Department of Planning and Budget; and
To collect and maintain demographic, economic, and other data, acting in cooperation with the Virginia Employment Commission.
The Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission
The Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission is comprised of the 6 counties - Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Mathews, and Middlesex - and 3 towns - Tappahannock, Urbanna, and West Point - of the Middle Peninsula. Commissioners are appointed by each locality and consist of two elected and one citizen member for each county and one elected member for each town. Three county administrators and one town manager serve on the Commission on a rotating basis. The Executive Director/Secretary, selected by the Commission, manages the daily operations of the planning district's professional staff.
MPPDC is funded by annual contributions from its member local governments, by appropriations from the Virginia General Assembly, and by grants from state and federal governments and other entities.
MPPDC prepares an annual work program and budget each year determined by the needs and priorities of the region and available funding opportunities.