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E-mail: planinfo@rrregion.org

January 2013 •  Volume 11  •  Number 1

In This Issue:

Online:  www.rrregion.org | www.rrcommute.org | www.thevirginiapiedmont.org

 

RRRC Announces Release of New Mobile Regional Tourism Site

Working with Jurisdictions on Stormwater Management Program Development

Area Homeless Prevention Update

PD9-Area Administrators Committee an Invaluable Regional Resource

Commission Provides Mapping Assistance to Orange County

Culpeper to Charlottesville Foothills Express Service Proving Highly Popular

Helpful Websites and RRRC: Make Your Commute Easier

Photo Feature: Historic Buildings in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Region

Regional Stat: Home-to-Work Trips from the SuperNOVA Transit Study

Photo Feature: Historic Buildings in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Region


Above: The Exchange Hotel, Gordonsville. Click the image for more information on this historic building in the Rappahannock-Rapidan region.

RRRC Announces Release of New Mobile Regional Tourism Site

The members of the RRRC Regional Tourism Committee are pleased to announce the release of a new mobile regional tourism site for The Virginia Piedmont, which can be accessed at: http://m.thevirginiapiedmont.org/.

The new mobile software site, for use with smartphones and tablets was funded in part by a Virginia Tourism Corporation Sesquicentennial Marketing grant, which enabled the Commission to develop the new means of marketing the region. "Visitors will find the site to be not-only user-friendly, but full of timely and helpful information about area events and points of interest across the five-county region," reports Jeffrey Walker, RRRC Executive Director. "Moreover, for those interested in the Civil War it will enable those with iOS- and android-based devices to access importantinformation on upcoming Sesquicentennial programming and area Civil War destinations.

The Regional Tourism Committee has also updated the Virginia Piedmont brochure and will shortly issue an insert with reference to the site. In addition, the site will be promoted through advertisements locally and across the Commonwealth, and once the Sesquicentennial has ended, will be utilized to showcase other draws to the region, such as farm tours, festivals, andoutdoor recreational offerings.

The mobile site is yet another tool to help market and promote the many wonderful activities and points of interest across the Virginia Piedmont and Rappahannock-Rapidan Region.

Working with Jurisdictions on Stormwater Management Program Development

Revisions to the Virginia Stormwater Management (SWM) Regulations will require most Virginia localities to implement local SWM programs beginning on July 1, 2014. In the Rappahannock-Rapidan Region, only county governments currently fall under this requirement, while towns have the choice to adopt a program or fall under the county program. While several localities in the region currently have SWM programs, they will need to be revised to meet new state standards. Localities must adopt a SWM program by June 13, 2013 or request an extension from the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board. In order to receive a one-year extension, localities must submit a draft local SWM ordinance, draft staffing and funding plan, and local program contact information for approval by April 1, 2013.

In December 2012, RRRC received a grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to assist local governments in the development of SWM programs that meet revised state regulations. Six area local governments, the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), and the Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) have joined in this collaborative effort, which makes use of existing expertise in the region to enhance existing local SWM programs and develop programs in localities where one does not currently exist.

RRRC and its project partners are providing technical assistance to localities according to their needs as they develop or revise their local ordinances and policies. Capacity building to prepare for program implementation will also be addressed, through such activities as workload analyses, staff training, and purchase of needed equipment. RRRC staff is also facilitating communication and coordination between the participating jurisdictions to share new techniques and creative solutions to common problems.

A kick-off meeting for the regional effort was held on January 11, 2013 between all grant partners and DCR regional staff. And RRRC, CSWCD and FOR personnel are presently in the process of meeting with each locality to individually assess each programs' needs, and how best to provide technical assistance.

For further information on the Regional Commission's SWM efforts please contact Michelle Edwards at medwards@rrregion.org. State-level information on the revised SWM regulations can be found at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/stormwater_management/swmrollout.shtml.

Area Homeless Prevention Update

Two important services of the Foothills Housing Network (FHN), for which the Regional Commission provides staff direction and serves as fiscal agent, have been underway since mid-last year: The Homeless Solutions Grant (HSG) and Homeless Prevention Program (HPP), both made possible through funding from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The programs are coordinated by FHN on a region-wide basis through a common intake and assessment process that involves all shelters and county Departments of Social Services.

HPP provides rental assistance and case management to individuals and families in imminent danger of becoming homeless. Since the end of August, 32 households in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Region have avoided homelessness because of this program. HSG serves individuals and households that are already homeless - e.g., in a shelter or living on the street or in their car - by providing deposit, rental and utility assistance, and related case management. Since the end of August, 15 area homeless households have been placed in permanent housing through this program.

HPP, HSG and the coordinated intake and assessment process are initial parts of an envisioned comprehensive program to establish a continuum of care network to help prevent area homelessness, and address the needs of families and individuals when homelessness occurs.

PD9-Area Administrators Committee an Invaluable Regional Resource

In addition to important guidance and feedback on regional planning-related issues provided by the members of the RRRC at fourth Wednesday of every-other month public meetings (commencing at 1:00pm), another source of invaluable expertise is a PD9 committee consisting of county administrators and town managers from among the RRRC's thirteen member jurisdictions.

The committee meets on an informal quarterly basis to exchange information on emerging issues of local and regional significance. The committee is chaired by longtime Rappahannock County Administrator John McCarthy.

Depending upon the topic, informational briefings are scheduled and invitations likewise extended to area chief elected officials (mayors and board chairs), and planning directors, among others, for the benefit of localities and region at large.

The membership of the RRRC Administrators Committee includes the following:

Culpeper County Frank Bossio
Fauquier County Paul McCulla
Madison County Ernest Hoch
Orange County Julie Summs
Rappahannock County John McCarthy - Chair
Town of Culpeper Kim Alexander
Town of Gordonsville Sabrina 'Sam' Martyn
Town of Orange Greg Woods
Town of Remington Sharon Lee
Town of Warrenton Ken McLawhon

Commission Provides Mapping Assistance to Orange County

Regional Commission staff recently provided mapping assistance to Orange County in support of the County's ongoing comprehensive plan updates. Utilizing data sets obtained from the county, along with state and federally-developed databases, maps were prepared to illustrate various chapters within the Comprehensive Plan that reflect the existing landscape in Orange County.

Maps submitted for review by Orange County staff and officials included 2010 population distribution (shown below) and comparison of 2000 to 2010, physical infrastructure locations, land use, zoning and improved parcels, as well as areas with physical constraints, such as steep slopes, wetlands and conserved lands.

Questions pertaining to the Regional Commission's GIS program may be directed to Patrick Mauney at (540) 829-7450 or plmauney@rrregion.org.

Culpeper to Charlottesville Foothills Express Service Proving Highly Popular

The Foothills Express, a recent new Culpeper to Charlottesville transit option, made possible by RRRC and operated by JAUNT, has completed another successful year of service, and is proving increasingly popular around the community as word of its offering continues to spread. In 2012, the Foothills Express completed 1,876 one way trips in 144 days of service. Over half of those trips were to UVA Health System facilities for medical appointments. However, riders also are utilizing the convenient new shuttle for more than just medical appointments. Numerous area groups such as the Madison Senior Center, Red Hat 'Pepers', Culpeper Health and Rehab, and Silver Citizens, among others, are taking trips to Charlottesville for lunch and shopping. Other residents in need are taking advantage of the affordable new service to visit family and friends, and a few are even relying on the shuttle for employment and education-related purposes.

Of equal significance, the Foothills Express is also bringing riders from Charlottesville to Madison and Culpeper for appointments, shopping, and in order to access the various human services and non-profit organizations at the middle and northern ends of the route. The JABA Senior Center in Greene County, for example, arranged for a trip on the Foothills Express for individuals to visit and shop at the Goodwill store in Culpeper and have lunch at a nearby restaurant. And Madison Free Clinic patients have used the Foothills Express to connect to Virginia Regional Transit's Culpeper Trolley to get to Wal-mart so they could have their eyeglass prescriptions filled.

For a growing number of riders, utilizing the Foothills Express in conjunction with local Virginia Regional Transit public transportation routes and Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services Volunteer Care-a-Van Service, among other compatible offerings, makes it all the more possible to get around, and has enabled area residents wider access to sought-after community destinations. Moreover, customer satisfaction surveys have consistently revealed high levels of satisfaction among riders with the new service in all categories of assessment including: punctuality, courteousness, safety, cleanliness, affordability, ease of service and overall satisfaction.

Of those that were surveyed:

     •  35% were age 60 or over
     •  30% were a Veteran or military family
     •  40% had Medicaid
     •  55% were disabled
     •  75% made less than $10K annually
     •  100% made less than $30K annually

So whether going to a medical appointment, staying connected with friends and family, or commuting to work, the Foothills Express is providing area residents in need with increased mobility options and access across the Rappahannock-Rapidan Region and beyond.

Helpful Websites and RRRC: Make Your Commute Easier

The VDOT Park and Ride Lot Study has concluded and a new interactive website currently under development is scheduled to go live in February 2013. Upon completion, the new website will provide information about every commuter lot in Virginia, such as location, number of spaces, overnight parking restrictions, and more.

We'll be sure to let you know when it's up and running.

In addition, below are several other VDOT links that can help you manage your winter driving, especially in the event of inclement weather!

For Snow Removal Information: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/snow.asp
To See the Status of Plowing in Your Neighborhood: http:///www.novasnowplowing.virginia.gov
For Real Time Traffic Updates and Road Conditions: http://www.511virginia.org
To download the Real-Time Smartphone App: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/511.asp#app
Or Follow on Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/511northernva

As always, RRRC Commuter Services is here to serve you, be it with locating a car or vanpool, obtaining information about the region's commuter bus line operated by Academy, securing timetables or cost information for Virginia Railway Express (VRE), or any other information of interest to local commuters.

Please contact us at commute@rrregion.org, (540) 829-7451, or visit our website at: http://www.rrcommute.org. We are happy to help!

Photo Feature: Historic Buildings in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Region

The Exchange Hotel, Gordonsville

This is an ongoing feature focusing on a building of historic interest in the region. We will feature buildings from each of the five counties and eight towns and welcome your suggestions (and pictures) to planinfo@rrregion.org.

The Town of Gordonsville is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its establishment as a Town in 2013. There will be events throughout 2013, but the kick-off celebration will be held from 4pm to 6pm on February 2nd at the Gordonsville Fire Hall.

Thirty years ago, the Gordonsville Historic District was included in the National Register of Historic Places and includes areas along Main Street, with the traffic circle serving as the northern boundary and the Exchange Hotel (pictured at right) serving as the southern boundary. Below is an excerpt of the National Register for Historic Places nomination from 1983:

Equally illustrative of Gordonsville's role as a transportation center are its early hotels, which depended almost entirely upon trade engendered by the railroads. By the 1870s, Gordonsville boasted three hotels, all bordering the depot property. Two of these still stand. The earlier is the Exchange Hotel, a largely unaltered and recently restored three-story, brick-and-frame building. Erected in 1859 to supplant an earlier hotel, it features Greek Revival detailing and two-story front and rear verandas. A somewhat smaller hotel, Magnolia House (ca. 1873) faces the railroad platform on the northeast side of the former C&O passenger station. Like the Exchange Hotel, Magnolia House has a grade-level brick basement and a two-story front veranda with fancy brackets and sawn-baluster railing.

Regional Stat: Home-to-Work trips from the SuperNOVA Transit Study

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation recently released the Final Report and Executive Summary from its SuperNOVA Transit Study. The study was designed to evaluate current transit service and transportation demand management (TDM) programs; existing and future land use, population and employment conditions; travel patterns and trends; and projected travel demand as a basis for the development of a multi-horizon vision for transit and TDM in the study area.

Included in the final report are travel patterns for the West subarea, including Culpeper, Fauquier, Orange and Rappahannock counties. A summary of the peak daily home-to-work trip statistics from the plan can be found below and the numbers reflect the importance of Route 29 as a prominent route for home-to-work trips in the region. More information on the SuperNOVA Transit Study, including the Executive Brief and the Final Report can be found at http://www.supernovatransitvision.com.

Jurisdiction
Daily Home-to-Work Trips (peak direction)
Culpeper County 12,860
Northern Fauquier County*
5,241
Southern Fauquier County*
19,732
Orange County 6,707
Rappahannock County 1,888

Source: SuperNOVA Transit Vision Study Final Report
* Northern Fauquier County includes areas located north of the Town of Warrenton; Southern Fauquier County includes the Town of Warrenton and areas south

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