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Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable Program History, Goals and Objectives

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This paper summarizes the history of the development and evolution of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtables from their inception in 2005 to the 7th event in 2010. This effort has led to the …

This paper summarizes the history of the development and evolution of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtables from their inception in 2005 to the 7th event in 2010. This effort has led to the development of a Mind-Atlantic Regional Planning Learning Network
Program History, Goals and Objectives

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  • 1. Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division – American Planning Association Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable Program History, Goals and Objectives February1, 2011 Tom Christoffel, AICP, Steering Committee Chair – 2010 HistoryOn October 21, 2005 - Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC) andMetropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) sponsored the first Mid-Atlanticregional planning roundtable at the Lord Fairfax Community College, Middletown, Virginia. Theconcept emerged in response to the presentation by planner Paul DesJardin of the MWCOG 2030growth projections to the Regional Commission on May 19, 2005. Commissioners recognized theimplication that the Northern Shenandoah Valley and other adjoining regions were seen toprovide an ever expanding workforce to the Metro Washington region, increasing the role of abedroom community. This led the Commission to adopt a resolution authorizing staff to set upsuch a meeting. The Community College President offered the use of their facilities andMWCOG agreed to cover meal costs.The author, NSVRC regional planner Tom Christoffel, AICP, organized the initial conferencewith a “transportation coordination” focus, since long distance commuting was a NSV concern.Perspectives were provided by representatives of regional councils and state agencies. NationalAssociation of Regional Councils (NARC) and National Association of DevelopmentOrganizations (NADO) staff attended and served as recorders. Non-metro regions and those witha small metro reported similar concerns about the housing cost and population growth impactsince 9/11. These regions were concerned about an expectation to continue to supply labor andaffordable housing for the large metros for the next 25 years, when they already had local laborshortages exacerbated by growing housing costs.A list of multi-regional topics was developed and a second roundtable proposed for January 20,2006 in Washington, D.C. The list of topics follows: • Multi-State Transportation Corridors - 9/340/I-81/270/I-95 • Hazard mitigation • Metro Evacuation • Homeland Security • Air Quality • Water - ground and surface (ICPRB) • Vision/Scenario/Alternatives (from a local region process related to those in other regions) • Infrastructure • Broadband • Regional Policy • No new bypasses in metro region puts more pressure on existing roads. • Freight & Multi-modal/multi-state freight/rail and ports • Labor chain - everyone imports labor from outside their region - no surplus of labor even at the fringes 1
  • 2. The second and third roundtables were held in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Marylandrespectively. NARC, NADO and AMPO (Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations)agreed to be the co-sponsors for food costs in order for there to be no registration fee. Thissimplified event management and improved attendance, since most participants had travel costs.Through the work of then Division Chair, Lee Schoenecker, AICP, the Regional andIntergovernmental Planning Division of the American Planning Association (APA) began to takepart.Long term sponsorship of a Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable would involve not onlyregional councils and their localities, but state and federal agency planners. NARC, NADO andAMPO, as organizations relating to regional councils and MPOs (Metropolitan PlanningOrganizations) were very important in giving the Roundtables momentum by funding Roundtable2 and assisting on Roundtable 3. They found clear benefit in the Roundtables, and have continuedto participate, however, it was not their primary mission to sponsor geographic-specificinterregional regional planning roundtables on a long term basis.Therefore, starting with the 2007 Roundtable and up through the present, Tom Christoffel andLee Schoenecker, members of the APA Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division,developed a strong working relationship for the Division to serve as the sponsor and the leadorganizer for the ensuing Roundtables. Further, they were fortunate in being able to secure stronghost agency relationships in subsequent Roundtables.For the fourth Roundtable in 2007, the location was Fredericksburg, Virginia, hosted by theGeorge Washington Regional Commission. Bob Wilson, AICP, Executive Director and KevinByrnes, AICP, regional planner, arranged for Mary Washington University to provide the site andcover meal costs.Governor Parris Glendenning, a national advocate for Smart Growth America, served as thekeynote speaker for the event. He explained that, to achieve smart growth outcomes, the regionallevel needed to be taken into account and used.Presentations from the University of Mary Washington Geography Department and GeorgeMason University, School of Public Policy, Center for Regional Analysis demonstrated the workof the academic community in regional analysis. The fact that there was no mechanism forcoordination or orchestration of University research in local regions or across the Mid-AtlanticStates for use by practitioners and public officials, stood out as a potential resource and benefit offuture roundtable collaborations.The Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division of APA and State Chapters now workwith Regional Councils for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable as a model for theU.S. A Mid-Atlantic states planning analysis was presented by the author which used the sub-state and multi-state regional council as the unit of analysis. The base map follows: 2
  • 3. Based on the nomination by Lee Schoenecker, the Regional and Intergovernmental PlanningDivision was awarded the APA Division Education Excellence Award for this event at the 2008APA annual conference.The 5th Roundtable in 2008 was in Philadelphia, hosted by the Delaware Valley RegionalPlanning Commission (DVRPC) with panel sessions entitled: Multi-Regional, Multi-State,Megaregion – Planning Solutions, not a Lottery; Linking Land Use and Transportation; Is theMid-Atlantic Water-Rich? Regional Watershed Planning and Regional Responses to Air Qualityand Climate Change. A special event was: “A Strategic Discussion: The New SurfaceTransportation Act: Authorization Issues, Needs and Goals moderated by Barry Seymour,DVRPC Executive Director, with Anne P. Canby, President, The Surface Transportation PolicyPartnership (STPP) and The Honorable Allen D. Biehler, P.E., Pennsylvania Secretary ofTransportation and then Incoming President, American Association of State Highway andTransportation Officials (AASHTO).The 6th Roundtable I 2009 was in Frederick, Maryland hosted by the Metropolitan WashingtonCouncil of Governments (MWCOG). Panels included: Metropolitan Council and StatePerspectives – Smart and Sustainable; Metropolitan Fringe – Rural and Small Metro Regions andCounties – Smart, Sustainable and Metro Impacts - Smart and Sustainable – Local and Regionalfrom Academic and Federal Perspectives; Smart and Sustainable – Regional, Inter-regional andIntergovernmental Planning Integration – How might we improve what is already being done?Significant in this event was participation by representatives of the Smart Growth Center,University of Maryland and The Smart Growth Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 3
  • 4. The presentation “Building Infrastructure for Mid-Atlantic Regional Analysis and Planning” byProfessor Gerrit Knaap, Executive Director of the Smart Growth Center, was a response to theneed and showed the potential for multi-regional analysis by the academic community to informthe public and private sector.The 7th Roundtable for 2010 is scheduled for Wilmington, Delaware, hosted by WILMAPCO(Wilmington Area Planning Council) on September 30 and October 1, 2010. Under the title:Sustainable Regions: States and Localities Working Regionally in the Mid-Atlantic, the keynotespeech is: Call to Action: Working Intergovernmentally in the Mid-Atlantic Region by PaulSchmid, Legislative Assistant to Delaware U.S. Senator, Thomas Carper. Panels include:Intermodal Regional Planning – The Roles of Rail, Aviation, Inter-city Bus in Sustainability forLocalities, States and Regions; Visioning Sustainability – Integrating new values in planning;HUD/DOT/EPA Regional Sustainability Program Discussion Moderated by Barry Seymour,Executive Director, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission; and State and RegionalPlanning – Developing Tools that Support the Practice. The Closing Session is a - Next stepsdiscussionThe scope of co-sponsorship of this event has expanded to include: the North American RegionalScience Council (NARSC), the Regional Science Association International (RSAI), the RegionalStudies Association (RSA) and consultant organizations serving the Wilmapco RegionalCommunity and Mid-Atlantic: WR&A (Whitman, Requardt & Associates, LLP), UrbanEngineers, PB (Parsons Brincknerhoff), Remline, RK&K and HFA (Hurley Franks Associates). Current OrganizationThe Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable is currently a project of the Regional andIntergovernmental Planning Division, American Planning Association. It is organized annually bya Steering Committee made up of Division members and the host regional council/MPO. Basefunding is provided from the Division, with State APA Chapters contributions. Delaware,Maryland, National Capital Area, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West VirginiaChapters have participated in funding which enables no registration fees for participants. AICPCertification credits have been available for the past three years. The host region has also been asource of funding and other organizations have provided in-kind or no cost resources.The Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division has provided based funding for threeyears for this event which is also intended to be a model for similar multi-state regions in the U.S.Such an offer was made in the 2009 APA presentation about the Roundtable at the Minneapolisconference by the author. Interest was expressed by a local official from Ohio. The relationship ofthis process to the mega-region scale is clear to many.Historic Roundtable support has come from AMPO, NADO and NARC. This is acknowledged asthese associations and their members participate in and help publicize the Roundtable event, butthey would more likely fund a new Roundtable in another region of the U.S.Options for relating to the academic resources for regional planning beyond the directparticipation of universities to date, include linkages with the North American Regional ScienceCouncil (NARSC), particularly the Southern Regional Science Association (SRSA), as well asthe Regional Studies Association (RSA) and the American Association of Geographers (AAG).The RSA Executive, Sally Hardy, is already active in building a relationship with APA and isworking with the Division. The author is a member of RSA and the Country Representative forthe U.S. Future Options 4
  • 5. The Mid-Atlantic is a multi-state region with many sub-state and multi-state regional councilsand MPOs. It also includes the District of Columbia, the seat of the National government. Thenature of this hub city complicates relationships at the same time that they become moreimportant, as post 9/11 security concerns demonstrate. Regional environmental concerns for airquality and Chesapeake Bay water quality, along with high speed rail and Interstate traffic, bothpassenger and freight, are integrating concerns. A large area of the Mid-Atlantic does not havecurrent rail passenger service or viable options to restore it to existing freight lines. Thereforecoach regional bus service is an option. Coordination of transit with aviation has been raised as anew issue in the current year’s program.Where the early challenge of planning was to get governments to plan, now most do. The focushas shifted to achieving a dynamic regional and intergovernmental integration of the many plans,planning processes and planning entities for a good result.Mr. Ron Thomas, AICP, said in a 2007 Conference in Calgary, Canada: “We know how to planfor cities and towns, revitalization and industrial development, suburbs and malls, but we haven’tfigured out how to do cross-boundary regional planning. That is the future; that is the frontier.”To date, the Roundtable process offers this perspective on the need: • Some region to region cooperative analysis is being done along transportation corridors, watersheds, airsheds, etc. by regional councils/COGs. • Federal government agencies had not been initiating such efforts, however they have responded to efforts like the I-95 Coalition. The new HUD Sustainable Communities grant program offers the opportunity for new endeavors that include multi-regional cooperation and implementation. An I-81 coalition along the lines of I-95 is currently being developed. State DOTs have expressed an interest in cooperation with this new group. • States may have some interest, but again – may not be initiators. • Impetus comes from stakeholders, the need to look beyond the planning region and begin communication between regions. • The Federal government has expanded its interest in regional collaboration, planning and economic development as a consequence of the new global economy and the financial crisis which began in 2008. All of this has contributed to the necessity of cooperation. It also highlights the benefits to those areas which began cooperating decades ago in regional council organizations. • APA is best suited for this effort, with members at all levels in many capacities. NARC, NADO and AMPO are partners. AAG, NARSC, RSA and SRSA represent academic research and practitioners, collectively a great resource to inform the planning processes, as well as planners and public officials at all levels. Next StepsConsistent with the methods of the planning profession, a plan should be developed based onstated goals and objectives. For the purposes of beginning such a plan, the following thoughts areoffered as a basis for development of goal and objective statements:◦ Councils of Government/Regional Councils/Metropolitan Planning Organizations in the Mid- Atlantic have decades of experience building foundational relationships for regional 5
  • 6. planning between and for their local governments. The learning, plans and successes of these organizations should be documented and shared between regions and states for local, regional, state and federal planners, elected and appointed officials, the business community, academic researchers, NGOs and citizens.◦ Region to region organizational cooperation along transportation corridors, watersheds, airsheds, economic and other multi-jurisdictional geographies is an emerging networking method to tackle larger issues in coordination with single purpose regional entities for some territories. Plan coordination and future plan development can be achieved through regional planning roundtables.◦ Metropolitan and non-metropolitan regions have different but related needs for community development, long term maintenance of infrastructure and sustainability, the economy and the environment. Federal and State policies in the current environment of limited fiscal resources provide an incentive to local governments to consider expansion of cooperative activities. Academic regional analysis and policy development will benefit from utilization of existing Council of Government/Regional Council/Metropolitan Planning Organization structures. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable is a forum for such efforts.◦ Roundtable events can: • Showcase regional planning and cooperation in the host region. • Include metro and non-metro perspectives in relation to state/Federal policy and resources. • Feature current/long term issues relevant to local/regional development challenges for the Mid-Atlantic States/regions • Involve academic and institutional regional research to utilize existing knowledge and develop new and expanded regional and multi-regional resources to support and inform planning and implementation at all levels • Be held annually, with an option for special topic meetings as appropriate • Involve APA State chapters on an ongoing basis • Encourage and support long term development and use of multi-jurisdictional, multi-state databases that can be used by public and private organizations for regional analysis, planning and development of future alternative development scenarios. • Evolve to development of interregional projects, such as dealing with: interregional freight, commuting, alternative development scenarios for regional council/MPO regions; etc. Further DevelopmentAs a consequence of working drafts of this paper, there has emerged interest in a more formalprocess and network which could promote research and the sharing of learning between thevarious levels of governmental planning in the Mid-Atlantic, encompassing local, regional, stateand Federal levels, as well as the private sector, both for-profit and non-profit organizations,including leadership at all levels, elected, appointed, corporate, staff and citizen. 6
  • 7. The 7th Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable ended with a session dedicated todevelopment of next steps, be it as basic as the establishment of a Steering Committee which,with representatives of the major stakeholders, could advance the ideas and build a networkwhich could report in 2011. Such a Committee was organized and the Mid-Atlantic RegionalPlanning Network is currently being designed. Roundtable History: Theme/Date/Hosts/Location Mid-Atlantic Regional Transportation Planning Coordination Roundtable October 21, 2005 – Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC) and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Lord Fairfax Community College, Middletown, Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable – II February 17, 2006 - National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) and AMPO (Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations) 400 N. Capitol St, NW, Hall of the States - Washington, D.C. The U.S. Mid-Atlantic Super-Region - Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable – III December 8, 2006 - Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) and AMPO, NADO and NARC - BMC offices – Baltimore, Maryland 4TH Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable Taking Smart Growth to the Regional Level - 3.0 - Region to Region Cooperation November 9, 2007 - George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC) University of Mary Washington, North Stafford Campus - Fredericksburg, Virginia 5th Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable Multi-Regional, Multi-State Solutions: Transportation, Land Use and Environmental November 7, 2008 - Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) DVRPC offices - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 6th Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable Smart and Sustainable – Local & Regional, State and Multi-State - How will planning contribute to achieving these goals of the citizenry?September 30 – October 1, 2009 - Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Community Arts Center - Frederick, Maryland 7th Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable Sustainable Regions: States and Localities Working Regionally in the Mid-Atlantic September 30 – October 1, 2010 – WILMAPCO - Wilmington Area Planning Council Chase Center on the Riverfront - Wilmington, Delaware Presentations online: http://www.wilmapco.org/mid-atlantic/ Prior year presentations online: http://semanticommunity.info/Mid-Atlantic_Regional_Planning_RoundtablesContact: Tom.Christoffel@gmail.com 7

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