Issue 3, Fall 2021
Kim Callis
VAPDC President
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The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission and the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) serves the Counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, Franklin and Roanoke; the Cities of Covington, Roanoke and Salem; and the Towns of Clifton Forge, Rocky Mount and Vinton. The RVARC (Planning District 5) can trace its roots to a merger, along with the old Jackson River Regional Planning Commission, with the Fifth Planning District Commission. In 1999, the Fifth Planning District Commission changed its name to the current Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission.
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is always looking to work with localities on projects that benefit the region. Current projects include a Regional Study on Transportation Project Prioritization for Economic Development and Growth in the Roanoke Valley; Alleghany Highlands Economic Impact of the Arts; the Roanoke Valley Transportation Plan and the Rural Long-Range Transportation Plan; a neighborhood walk project and pedestrian safety campaign for the City of Roanoke; downtown revitalization planning grant assistance for the City of Covington; promotion and access improvements for the Roanoke River Blueway; a mobility design challenge for Botetourt County; and working with City of Roanoke and the Roanoke Valley Collective Response to address the regional opioid epidemic.
The RVARC region is composed of about 2,325 square miles and is home to 335,035 people (Weldon Cooper Center estimate, July 1, 2020). The RVARC Chair is Phil North (Roanoke County) and the Executive Director is Jeremy Holmes.
The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC) is composed of 21 local governments, which includes Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge and Rockingham counties; the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton and Waynesboro; and 11 towns in an area of nearly 3,440 square miles. The CSPDC (Planning District 6) prides itself on work to provide planning services and technical assistance to its member jurisdictions, including comprehensive and land use planning, transportation, water and waste water utilities, natural resource management, solid waste management, affordable housing, economic and community development, disaster mitigation and preparedness education, and human services.

Cooperative solutions to problems are addressed by CSPDC through regional efforts and partnerships with local jurisdictions and other stakeholders. For example, CSPDC has been administering and managing the BRITE Bus program for about eight years. BRITE Bus is a small, urban transit system that operates in the Staunton/Augusta/Waynesboro area, providing public transportation to local citizens. Most recently, CSPDC launched Afton Express, a commuter bus system that connects Staunton, Augusta County, Waynesboro and Charlottesville.  CSPDC also spearheaded development of the Fields of Gold, a regional agritourism program designed to collectively market and promote agritourism sites, showcasing the ways visitors can enjoy farm adventures in the Shenandoah Valley.
The CSPDC area has a population of 303,916 (Weldon Cooper Center estimate, July 1, 2020). The Chair of the CSPDC Board of Commissioners is Frank Friedman (Mayor of Lexington) and the Executive Director is Bonnie Riedesel.
Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions | Website
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