The Thomas Jefferson Sustainability Council was created in 1994 by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. The diverse group of farmers, business people, foresters, environmentalists, developers and elected officials – 34 citizens representing the six localities of the district – was given the charge to “describe a future where our economic, human, social, and environmental health are assured.” The Council addressed the areas of: human population, basic human needs, economic development, transportation, land development, waste, values/ethics, community awareness, interdependence/balance, government, natural environment, and agriculture/forestry. Over a four-year period and with the assistance of hundreds of members of the public at forums and in working groups, a mission statement, a delineation of the Principles which govern a sustainable community, and the Goals, Objectives, and Indicators and Benchmarks of a sustainable region were developed.

Taken together, the Accords create an agenda on which the community can agree. Taken individually, each one provides an opportunity for individual and community action toward sustainability for the region. The Accords were presented to the public on June 16, 1998, where they were signed by many citizens and local elected officials. They have since been included as part of the comprehensive plans of the County of Albemarle and the City of Charlottesville.