N E W S R E L E A S E
Date: June 15, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tammy Rosario, Principal Planner
County receives national award
James City County has won two prestigious awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for its 2009 Comprehensive Plan - Historic Past, Sustainable Future. The first, the 2012 Achievement Award, recognizes an effective and innovative program; the second, the 2012 Best Rural Program Award (population 75,000 and under), singles out the County as one of 16 winners out of 592 national submissions. The awards will be presented at the NACo National Conference in Pittsburg, PA this July.
The County’s 2009 Comprehensive Plan is based on three facets of sustainability: environment, economic and social. The NACo awards program considers the progress and results in each area plus the overall development of the Plan including public participation, implementation and accountability. “Our Plan was achieved through a quality process that included citizen participation, elements from previous comprehensive plans, a sustainability theme, growth management strategies and the work of staff and consultants,” explained Board of Supervisors Chair, Mary Jones. “To receive these awards validates the successes we are already seeing in the community as a result of this Plan.”
The results support the Plan’s goals, strategies and actions in areas of environment, economic and social. “As a member of the appointed Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, those three facets were important to us,” said Tom Tingle, local businessman and Economic Development Authority (EDA) member. “We knew that the road to a quality community must pay attention to all three elements,” he added.
Since the Plan’s adoption, significant progress has been made that addresses the environment through building practices including geothermal HVAC systems installed at the Freedom Park Interpretive Center and Hornsby Middle and Blayton Elementary Schools; Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications received for four renovated or newly built County facilities and one County business; and the adoption of a Sustainable Building Policy used for County facilities.
In economics, the County expanded its Enterprise Zone which provides incentives to new and existing businesses; the Office of Economic Development collaborated with regional partners to recruit Frontier Airlines to provide low fare, non-stop flights to the western United States; and Owens-Illinois North America, with the help of an EDA business performance-based grant, invested $20 million in their Toano plant and thus expanded their business and created new jobs. And through an extensive ordinance update, the County adopted a new Economic Opportunity zoning district and made amendments to commercial districts that foster a more business-friendly environment.
Further development of work force housing and an increase in community development block grant funding round out the social results of the Plan. Grant money is now available to those in need of emergency home repairs plus additional funds assist County residents with indoor plumbing or help with failed septic or well systems; and the redevelopment of Ironbound Square includes improved utility infrastructure and roads plus the addition of 33 EarthCraft certified homes.
For more information on the County 2009 Comprehensive Plan and its implementation schedule, visit jamescitycountyva.gov/comprehensiveplan.