The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) was one of 45 awardees across the country selected for HUD’s a Regional Planning Grant out of 225 submissions. As the lead applicant, TJPDC represented the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), major partners including the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, and the University of Virginia as a consulting partner, and other partners: the Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA), Rivanna River Basin Commission (RRBC), and the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP).

The project set out to develop a Livability Implementation Plan for the Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO Area. The process to develop this plan, referred to as the Livable Communities Planning Project (Livability Project), builds upon the region’s 1998 Sustainability Accords and other area planning documents to integrate cross-cutting strategies for land use, transportation, housing, economic vitality, air and water quality, and energy use. The Livability Project was launched in April 2011 in conjunction with the kick off to the Charlottesville & Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan and Long Range Transportation Plan updates. A project summary is available here.

Project Deliverables

Performance Measurement System

The Performance Measurement System is a tool to evaluate existing conditions, monitor trends, and track progress towards achieving regional sustainability goals. This system is a deliverable for the Sustainable Communities Planning Grant and focuses on describing the baseline conditions of the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Indicators in the report were selected because they measure key community characteristics and are good indicators of the Region’s livability.

Common Future Land Use and Transportation Map

The Common Land Use Map displays future land use for the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County with an overlay of the area’s approved long range transportation projects. The map is intended to help facilitate coordinated planning in the City & County and to aid citizens in understanding the impact of land use & transportation decisions.

Comprehensive Plans and the MPO Long Range Transportation Plan

The purpose of this deliverable was to support the required updates of the Comprehensive Plans of the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

Local Plans Database content:

The Local Plans Database was created to provide a tool to efficiently search a compilation of over 12,000 goals, objectives, strategies and action items based on key issues and topics identified in 82 local planning documents. The database allows users to quickly search these plans based on key topics or “tags” in order to access goals related to specific areas of interest. The information is contained within a Google Fusion database that enables users to easily filter the contents using a single tag or combination of tags.

Expanded Public Input:

An expanded public input process was provided for both the City and County Comprehensive Plan updates through the following activities:

Community Outreach Series

In the fall and winter of 2011/12 a Community Outreach series was conducted. These workshops touched on a wide variety of issues, including environment, land use, transportation, housing, economic drivers, community facilities and services, and historic resources. Attendees were asked to provide feedback on existing goals and actions being taken to implement the goals.


Public input was also sought to support the Comprehensive Plan updates through a number of questionnaires. These questionnaires were distributed online or at events and broadened the number of people that provided input on the issues. Questionnaires sought input on the Performance Measurement System, Housing and Economic Drivers, Transportation, Historic and Scenic Resources and on Community Priorities. Received input was analyzed by project staff and reported to the public, Planning Commissioners and locality staff for consideration in the Comprehensive Plans.

One Community Conversations

The One Community Conversations were a series of workshops held in October 2012. These workshops shared findings from the Community Priorities Questionnaire and solicited feedback on shared planning goals for Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Four workshops were held at different locations, but all included the same content and format. The workshops utilized a focus group approach structured around facilitated small groups whose comments were written down by recorders.

Joint Planning Commission Process

Over the course of a year and a half, the Charlottesville and Albemarle Planning Commissions met together nine times in joint session. These sessions allowed Planning Commissioners to discuss issues of overlapping concern, share existing approaches and identify key issues that needed to be addressed by both localities. Through the course of this process, the two Planning Commissions identified eight areas of joint interest for discussion and recommendations; Economic Development, Entrance Corridors, Environment, Housing, Land Use, Transportation, Parks and Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The Planning Commissions ultimately agreed on an overall direction in these areas that are important for both the localities.

Code and Ordnance Review Toolkit

The Code and Ordinance Review is a reference document for the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. It identifies gaps between existing land use regulations and the recently updated comprehensive plans for each locality. The toolkit sections serve as a catalogue of code and ordinances that can address those gaps and provide new options for local policymakers. A list of examples from land use regulations from other Virginia localities also is included. These examples serve as a list of best practices, allowing local officials to choose options that could address their specific challenges.

Actions for Community Health and Livability

The Actions for Community Health and Livability document catalogs actions that individuals and organizations can take to support community health and livability. This report identifies some initiatives that are already underway as well as planned projects that foster individual and group action. The report is intended to give a summary of how these initiatives are promoting livability and helping to meet the goals of the communities.