2018 Awards Program

Every year, the American Planning Association, Virginia Chapter engages in its annual awards program. This effort is the Chapter’s opportunity to recognize the tireless work of individuals who bring great planning and places to the Commonwealth. As a professional association, recognizing members and their work is a core function of the Chapter. It is the responsibility of APA Virginia to identify, acknowledge and promote great planning. Under this program, the Chapter strives to accomplish many objectives, including:

  • Helping Planners Plan, by highlighting best practices and inspiring our members;
  • Helping Virginia Plan, by promoting sound planning and decision-making in the Commonwealth;
  • Making Planning and Planners Matter, by promoting the value and enhancing the credibility of planners among elected and appointed officials, the public and related professions;
  • Meeting Membership Needs, by endorsing our members and their work;
  • Getting Planners Involved, by engaging volunteers to steer the awards committee and evaluate the work of their peers; and
  • Making Great Places Happen, by helping members and localities replicate and build on the success of others.

Awards Categories

In 2017, the Chapter began a new approach to its annual awards program. There are additional award categories that recognize great planning efforts, professionals, planning advocates and some of Virginia’s best communities. 

Individual Awards

The Individual Awards categories honor individuals who are great practitioners and advocates of planning in Virginia.

The Nelsonite Award – Virginia’s Planning Advocate of the Year:

Named for Virginia’s State Rock, the advocate award represents the bedrock of good planning in the Commonwealth. The award recognizes an individual or organization that advocates for planning on a local, regional or statewide scale. 

The Dogwood Award – Virginia’s Citizen Planners of the Year:

This award honors an outstanding Planning Commission that serves as an example for all citizen planners, by being: dedicated, objective, open, moral, balanced, and knowledgeable of the framework of planning in Virginia.  

The Cardinal Awards – Legislator of the Year:

Named for the State bird, the Cardinal Awards recognize elected officials that can see the big picture and find solutions through the field of planning. Local and State legislators are eligible for these recognitions. 

Planning Efforts

The Planning Efforts category recognizes planning documents, a program or initiatives that make great places happen in the Commonwealth. 

Holzheimer Economic Development Award:

In honor of Terry Holzheimer, the Chapter will recognize great planning efforts for improving Virginia’s Economic Development. Eligible nominations include: planning studies, initiatives, programs, or site development. The successful nominee will show how these efforts resulted in economic development results to the locality, region, or state. 

Old Dominion Innovative Approaches Award:

Virginia has many unique challenges, where innovative planning solutions are critical for making great places happen. The Innovative Approaches Award recognizes pioneering planning efforts in the Commonwealth. Nominees may include innovative planning processes, plans, programs, initiatives or site developments that have or will result in real results.  

Commonwealth Plan of the Year Award:

The Commonwealth Plan of the Year Award honors the best planning document of the year. A successful nominee will show that the effort included outstanding planning processes, vision, implementation strategies and innovative approaches. The planning document can be local, regional or a statewide effort. 

Great Places

The great places category recognizes great places, developments, and communities in Virginia. 

The Jamestown Award – Locality of the Year:

In honor of the first local government in Virginia, the Chapter will recognize a locality that has undertaking a sound and innovative planning practices, not in a single plan but through various efforts. This award recognizes a town, city or county that is dedicated to the principles of planning. 

The Red Clay Award – Development of the Year:

Virginia’s red clay is the Commonwealth’s traditional building material, making it an appropriate name for Virginia’s Development of the Year Award. This recognition honors a development that exhibits the values of great planning, helping to create a great place in Virginia. Eligible nominees include infill developments, building rehabilitation projects, brownfield redevelopments, downtown redevelopment, and other similar projects. 

2018 Award Winners