Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission

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The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) coordinates planning across a wide variety of jurisdictions and regulatory agencies. The TJPDC provides resources to the City of Charlottesville and surrounding counties. Services rendered include grant applications and management, assistance with strategic and comprehensive plans, and technical assistance with transportation, land use and economic development plans. The TJPDC totals 2,169 square miles and includes 227,107 people in five counties and one city.[1]

The organization was formed in 1972. [2]


The TJPDC was created in 1972 in order to "promote the orderly and efficient development of the physical, social, and economic elements of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District by planning and encouraging and assisting governmental subdivisions to plan for the future.[3]

Current Programs

Housing Programs

Ambox notice.png This article documents a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.

Rural housing issues

In the summer of 2019, the TJPDC is applying for a Housing Preservation Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the rural area. If successful, it will be the fifth year the TJPDC has administered the program, which subcontracts with a variety nonprofits throughout the area, including AHIP, Fluvanna/Louisa Housing Foundation, Skyline CAP, and the Nelson County Community Development Foundation. [4]

Planning Assistance

  • 2017-2019: Work for City of Charlottesville on small area plan for Cherry Avenue
  • 2018: Completed Ruckersville Area Plan
  • 2019: Working with Town of Scottsville on community engagement assistance for small area plan there
  • 2019: Staff working on scope of work for small area plan for Zion Crossroads in both Fluvanna and Louisa [5]

Transportation Programs

Projects requested by Albemarle County

Stream buffer study


In 2012, Albemarle County staff asked the TJPDC to evaluate whether a program to waive property taxes on stream buffers would encourage conservation and increase water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. In 1998, the General Assembly passed enabling legislation allowing localities to do so. The study concluded that a program would benefit landowners with high-value and smaller properties. Large parcels would likely not see a benefit because of the high costs with planting vegetation as well as the fact that many of the parcels are already in land use taxation.[6]

Projects requested by Nelson County

  • Nelson has received as much as $35,000 toward the revitalization of Lovingston. [5]

Livable Communities Planning Project

In October 2010, TJPDC received a three-year $999,000 grant to develop a regional sustainability implementation plan. The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.[7]

Billie Campbell, TJPDC's Chief Operating Officer, said it was a highly competitive grant application process with 225 submissions, 45 awards, and only 3 in Virginia (Roanoke, Radford, and Charlottesville).[8]

Campbell shared the following additional details about the grant:

Summary of Objectives and Expected Results

"The existing Regional Plan for Sustainable Development in the Charlottesville/Albemarle metro area is the Sustainability Accords. These policies were adopted in 1998 as a result of a four-year process with broad regional support and wide participation by members of the public..."
"Four problems have been identified that are preventing sustainability initiatives from moving into implementation in the region:
  • Problem: Sustainability planning has been proceeding, but under a series of separately focused initiatives...
  • Problem: Sustainability goals have been established in major plans (Comprehensive Plans for Charlottesville and Albemarle County, MPO Long Range Transportation Plan) in the region but strategies for implementation have not been developed and adopted...
  • Problem: Sustainability is not being fully implemented in either the built environment or in the habitats of citizens and businesses...
  • Problem: Lack of available metrics to identify the region's status in pursuing sustainability..."[9]

The Charlottesville Planning Commission and Albemarle County Planning Commission will discuss how implementation will affect their work at a joint session on March 22, 2011.

Tea Party opposition

The Jefferson Area Tea Party is skeptical of the Livable Communities Planning Project grant, and is concerned it is a sign that international organizations have usurped power that they say belongs to local officials.[10]

Comprehensive Plan Database

In July 2012, the TJPDC unveiled a searchable database that allows the public to view and compare documents from the Charlottesville and Albemarle County Comprehensive Plans. The database was developed through a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and contains over 12,000 documents.[11]

Controversy over management of funds

At the September 2012 meeting of the TJPDC, Williams told his board that two planners hired as part of the initiative would be let go several months earlier than expected. City and county staff have disputed his interpretation of why the grant money was running out.[12] Williams' contract was not renewed. [13]

Commissioners (2019)

Current Staff

Former Leaders

  • Wayne Harbaugh (retired 1986)
  • Harrison Rue served as executive director from 2002-2008. Harrison Rue stepped down June 30, 2008 to take a position with ICF International.
  • Stephen W. Williams served as executive director from 2009-2013. The TJPDC Board of Directors voted unanimously not to renew Williams' contract. His contract expired August 1, 2013.[17]

Former Staff


The TJPDC is housed in offices on Water Street in downtown Charlottesville. The organization leases the space and that lease expires in August 2020 with a potential extension until August 2021. As such, the TJPDC is considering new office space. [5]


  1. Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. February 2010 Long-Range Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plan (Working Draft). Rep. Web. 23 July 2010. <>.
  2. Web. [Print The Seventies: Central Virginia Ends Decade of Joy and Tragedy], Doug Kamholz, Daily Progress, Worrell Newspaper group, January 1, 1980, retrieved May 11, 2015.
  3. United Jefferson Area Mobility Plan 2035. Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, 27 May 2009. Web. 30 June 2009.<>
  4. Web. FY19-02: Intergovernmental Review: TJPDC Application for Housing Preservation Grant, Billie Campbell, Tho
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Web. June 2019 Executive Director's Report, Chip Boyles, Report, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, retrieved June 2, 2019.
  6. Web. Fiscal Analysis of Tax Exemptions for Stream Buffers: Albemarle County, TJPDC Staff, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, October 4, 2012, retrieved October 17, 2012.
  7. Web. [1], Daily Progress, retrieved 21 Oct. 2010.
  8. Planning and Coordination Council Meeting. City Space, Charlottesville. 21 Oct. 2010. Public Meeting.
  9. Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. Applicant Abstract: Charlottesville Region Sustainability Implementation Plan. Charlottesville, Oct. 2010. Print.
  10. Web. Tea Party hosting forum to review local sustainability initiatives, Brian Wheeler, Charlottesville Tomorrow, March 17, 2011, retrieved March 17, 2011.
  11. Web. Many plans, one database, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, July 30, 2012, retrieved July 31, 2012.
  12. Web. TJPDC livability planners to be let go early, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, September 8, 2012, retrieved September 10, 2012.
  13. Web. Williams out as regional planning director, Sean Tubbs, News Article, June 13, 2013, retrieved June 2, 2019.
  14. Web. TJPDC Commissioners, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, retrieved June 2, 2019.
  15. E-mail. Ryan Pace at, TJPDC. "Press Release: TJPDC Announces New Executive Director." Message to 24 March 2014.
  16. Web. Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission Draft Minutes, May 2, 2019, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, retrieved June 2, 2019.
  17. Web. Williams out as regional planning director, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, 13 June 2013, retrieved 23 July 2013.
  18. E-mail. TJPDC. "TJPDC News Brief." Message to Brian Wheeler, Charlottesville Tomorrow. 24 July 2013.

External links